…And Laughs

parade 05

The world explodes into unraveling meaning, and it is we who re-weave those unknotted threads into new tapestries.

Mysteries Tarry

I don’t know how to describe these days of approaching Imbolc.  I have only images I cannot yet string together into narrative, a fierce but obscure montage, an inscrutable but breathtaking tableaux.

‘Walking a myth,’ it’s been called.  Or living a mystery.  Like when I started my series for The Wheel of The Year, everything became more vivid, patterned.  I was a character in a novel that They were writing, but anyone who’s written fiction knows something indescribable happens as the words pour onto paper: the characters seem to write themselves, and you are only their servant.

Brân’s been everywhere since I’ve been back, but by everywhere I don’t quite know what I mean.  Sometimes he is striding like a giant through my story; sometimes, I am walking in his.  Stories weaving together, like love, and I’m far from knowing precisely how to tell his tales.  The Fisher King and Percival, the still-living Head, Bard’s Cloaks which are ravens which shred the flesh from bone to build towers.  A Dark Bear exhuming a skull, a small chapel at the foot of a druid mountain, a King who rides across seas with the Queen of the North, away from a drowned city. Stories, haunting like love.

As in the Hafiz poem Cara Freyasdaughter just posted:

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair…

Ienchanting-the-shadowlands-book-cover‘ve been also thinking about what Lorna Smithers has written about being an Awenydd for Gwyn Ap Nudd.  It seems not dissimilar, and perhaps very much like what other writers have found themselves doing for other gods.  I think particularly on Sannion and DIonysos, or Morpheus Ravenna and The Morrigan with this–how much do we all know about what these gods are up to on account of them?  Much, much more than if we relied only on the lore.

[Speaking of Lorna Smithers, the collection of writing she’s done for Gwyn ap Nudd is complete and now on sale, for very, very little money. I’ve said this elsewhere–her words are luscious and haunting–I think you’ll find you’ll agree]

Consuming Impatience

With Brân, each mystery becomes another mystery.  Something happens, reminding me of another thing, and between those two things is a third and suddenly I’m chasing down lore from something I thought utterly unrelated until a fourth thing is unearthed.  That last thing becomes another trail through an Alder swamp until, thirty things later, the first three things begin to make sense.

I’m too accustomed to urgency, too insistent that I must answer a question the moment it is uttered. I’ve had to remind myself such tendencies are not demanded by the Gods or even by many others, but ingrained and inculcated through schooling and work.  A customer shows up at a counter with a question and you must answer; a ticket is printed into the kitchen and you must already have the saute pan hot for what is required.  Urgency and immediacy is a demand of modern commerce–we even begin to demand this of others, tapping our feet impatiently when our coffee isn’t ready or bitching on Facebook when we were put on hold by a phone representative.

Time’s money, yeah?  But it’s only money because it’s the only thing most of us have to sell, the only thing the rich will ever find valuable about us.  Even the higher-paid amongst us are only possess more-valuable time, regardless of how much they like to assure themselves it’s their ‘skills’ or ‘intelligence’ that’s being marketed.  Because all we have is time, we fiend over our own like addicts picking through carpet or scraping a pipe.

This tendency gets in the way of hearing the gods.  They don’t speak quickly. They grow within us at the rate of trees or forests, they wash over us like glaciers.  I’m trying to rebuild the cultus of a giant-king, not ring up an impatient customer.

She of The Reforging, She of The Hearth

Another related matter–I had an experience in Dublin I haven’t felt comfortable talking about because I haven’t fully been able to figure out what it meant.  It involved Brighid, or, better said, a lack-of-Brighid.  Of all the gods I know and worship, it was she I most expected to find very close and present in Ireland.

But…no.  The Brighid I know is not, from what I’ve been able to understand, any of the Irish Brighids.  She was present in Wales to some extent, quite present in Seattle still (before and after), and most present thus far in Bretagne.  She’s still, as far as I know, Brighid (or perhaps Brigide, or Brigantia, or Ffraid), but definitely did not seem natively Irish.

Most of my CR readership is probably getting grumpy at these statements (to hear some, Brighid is first and foremost Irish and all others are derivative), but my experience is beginning to lead me to think that some of the theories of an older Brig- are true.  That is, perhaps there was a pan-Celtic Brighid expressed in a particular way through the Irish but not belonging to nor originating on that island.  Not many goddesses enfolded into one like the occasional Wiccan “The Goddess,” either.

I can be completely wrong.  I should hope such a possibility exists.  It’s also likely that The Dagda didn’t like me hanging around his home.

Either way, I intend to perform the Imbolc ritual that I’ve done for her the last few years, the Rite of the Reforged Candle.  It’s been a powerful event for me, and this year I’ll write it out afterwards.  I suspect others may benefit from it as well.

And on home and hearths….  The house I’ve been renting with others is being sold, and I shall have to move again, likely away from my forest.  This isn’t the worst thing–I share a home with a television, and it and I have been at relentless war with each other as to what sort of hearth this is.  It belongs to two roommates, hangs above the literal hearth, and has been a very hateful thing, an anti-god, an ambassador of Capitalist Hegemony and flashing lights, a perfidious enforcer of Disenchantment.

It’s better to move on, though 5 weeks is hardly grand notice.  My cunning-man roommate and I shall be looking for something we’ve more influence over, and while discussing what we might do, we joked about one of his candles.  He’s not quite precise on their effects, and they’re too often more powerful than intended.  When I suggested one as an option, he sagely replied,

“Hell no–we could end up whisked away to Narnia.  And…Aslan’s a dick.”

On Being Presentable

Anyway, speaking of all sorts of gods, registration for Many Gods West opens 1 February.  Early registration is 30 dollars.

We’ve also gotten lots of great proposals (some I’m awfully excited about–it’s gonna be awesome!), but we want more.  There’s even the possibility of needing to expand outside the hotel spaces.  So, do consider proposing–we’re hoping to have a very good mix of experienced and new presenters.

And, on the matter of presentations, you probably have already heard I’ll be at Pantheacon this year? Alley Valkyrie and I will be presenting Gods and Radicals on Satyrday, 14 February. I’ll also be part of the Patheos Pagan Bloggers panel on Friday at 1.30. And the rest of the weekend I’ll be running around swilling tea, causing havoc, and also occasionally helping vend for Practical Rabbit, Alley Valkyrie’s damn awesome line of the coolest things you’ve ever seen done with fabric.

If you’ll be there, I’ll have plenty of copies of Your Face Is A Forest for sale. Come find me.

And there’s also the matter of feeding corvids.  I’ll post more on this in a bit.

I’ve got some longer pieces of writing I’m working on, and have had a couple of reasons to write poetry again. If you missed it, I recently wrote this, which is maybe a bit titillating and was lots of fun to write. Also, part of one of the mysteries I seem to be walking through, dream-soaked days as the light returns.

 


Fire in Winter

You remind me
Of someone I’ve never met.

I know this ache,
what all is taken
from what I feared
would not last a winter

Here’s wood, stacked, next to
words, leaves of books
I’d been saving
for a longer winter, one

where ground and where stone
heave ice-drowned rivers
stagnant glassed ponds
breathing white sun.

You’ve reminded me
Of someone I’ve met

Yet not, yet felt
in aches in hollows
carved by unseen hands
in slumber of winter.

Here’s sap, leaking, from
cone, limb and cock
pitched resin, gathered
for last winter’s hearth.

You are familiar, kin
of Someone I’ve met

and remember, His
ache, hollowed echo
in ice-rimed caverns
where dreams sleep in winter.

You satyr, wooden
You dryad en-fleshed

I’m covered in pitch
Smelling of winter
and sulphur, this match

and what comes after.


A Forest of Bees and Ravens

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Sorry for the silence.

Some fun stuff, though.

Your Review is a Forest

My favorite living poet reviewed my book!

Mind if I say that again?  My favorite living poet reviewed my book! (She actually beats out W.S. Merwin, by the way).

And she had nice things to say about it!  But mostly, damn.

My favorite living poet reviewed my book!

Your Face is a Discount

Sorry.  It’s 2am and I’m working a graveyard shift in a residential facility for formerly homeless folks and an alarm went off and someone threw a cup of water at me and I’m on hour 17 or so of overtime, so I’m a bit punchy.

But yeah.  The book.  I forgot to undo the discount on Lulu, and actually the book’s sold awfully well since then, so I’m leaving it indefinitely.

When it goes on sale elsewhere it will be the list price, but it will always be cheaper for ye’ on Lulu.

Apologies, by the way, for those who’ve been awaiting an eBook version.  I…hmm.  I suck at technology and cannot figure out how to preserve formatting in .epub.  A friend’s gonna help me, and I’ll update ye’ when that’s all figured out.

 

The Melissa, Rising

So, remember that thing I did in Newgrange?  That one thing, you know.  Involved a piece of cloth and the light of rebirth and stuff and then giving something to some guy outside?

So…this article’s kinda funny.  Apparently graffiti bees have been showing up everywhere in one of the neighborhoods in Dublin.

Not guilty, I swear.

Kindness to Ravens

That reminds me, though.

Know how I said I asked some giants for help with something and they said yes? I also asked some corvids for help and they sort of said yes.

But I could use some help, because I want to do something for them.

There’s…this day coming up.  It’s my birth-day, which is pretty cool.  I’ll be at Pantheacon giving a talk with Alley Valkyrie on Radicalism and Paganism that day in California, far away from the corvids I know personally.

Also, that day?  It’s the day of a beheaded saint.

Headless saints are an interesting lot.  There’s St. Denis, for instance, supposedly beheaded by Druids on a mount in Paris.  Denis is a derivative of Dionysos, and that mount is Montmartre (the mount of the martyrs).  The Christians tell of how Denis and his buddy Eletherius (that is, “liberator,” of the titles of Dionysos) were beheaded, and Denis walked down the hill hold his head and prophesying for six miles until he finally fell down.  And then grapevines came out of his neck.

There are other headless saints, too.  Like Valentine.

And there’s, well–this god I worship who likes Ravens and Crows and Jackdaws and all that.  And he cut off his head when he was dying so he could give oracles and then protect people afterwards.

So….yeah.

I was kinda thinking that it’d be brutally awesome if lots of people were to feed their local corvids on Valentine’s Day.

‘Intention,’ I’ve noted, is a little overrated in Paganism.  It gives us the illusion that our wills are somehow supreme and other things must obey us, including, say, crows and ravens.  Or gods.  Or children.  None of that really works as much as we like to think.

So–if you were thinking it might be cool to help some tea-swilling punk druid writer guy by feeding crows on Valentine’s Day, you don’t gotta go do it with ‘intention’ or spells or rituals or anything.  Mostly, just throw some unsalted peanuts within sight of some black-winged friends.  You can say ‘hello’ to them if you like.  They like that, I think.

You might not have noticed any corvids in your neighborhood.  They’re probably around (they’re around most places).  If you’re game, it’s a good idea to start looking around your neighborhood to find ‘em.  If you don’t normally do that sort of thing, you might be kinda awed to see how many birds there are around you, even in the winter.

And then buy a bag of unsalted peanuts.  They gotta be unsalted.  Also, awesome if they’re still in the shell (it makes it easier for them to hoard them safely in danger rather than eating ‘em all at once).  Why peanuts?  Well, they like them.  Also, it’s a legume native to the Americas.  And legumes are associated with the dead in all sorts of places.

If you’re not in the Americas, I’m not sure what to recommend, but there’s probably a suitable native-ish bean in your area they’d like?

So, yeah.  You in?

We got’s a month.

 


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