Posts filed under ‘Books’
New books that have come out lately, as well as news about upcoming ones that you can help contribute to financially and creatively!
Komos: Celebrating Festivals in Contemporary Hellenic Polytheism by Dver. Buy it from Createspace and she will make more.
From the Roaring Deep: a Devotional for Poseidon and the Spirits of the Sea from Biblioteca Alexandrina
T.P. Ward is also fund-raising for illustrations for a book of prayers he has written for Poseidon
Asphodel Press also has call for submissions for a devotional anthology to Njord
“Are you fond of Njord, the peacemaking Norse God of Ships? Well, you’re certainly not alone, and I need your help to put together a devotional anthology for Him! I’m looking for writings of any sort, be they rituals, retellings of an encounter, poetry, or so on, preferably under 8000 words per submission, as well as any art that is in or would translate well to grayscale. You are welcome to submit pieces of yours that have already been published or posted online as long as they are still legally your property.
Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name you want the piece published under by October 31st. After the book is published, I will contact you for your mailing info and send you a complimentary copy of the devotional in thanks. All profits made from the book sales will go to The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association ( gfwa.org ) in His honor.
I’m excited to see what you all have to offer! Hail Njord!”
Visions of Vanaheim by Nornoriel Lokason
Available on: Amazon, Createspace, Etsy
V of V was previously published in 2009 under the name Svartesol, in its new edition it has been greatly expanded with information gained from the author (and others’) personal spiritual experiences astrally travelling to Vanaheim. However it is made pretty clear throughout the book what information is from historical sources and what is spiritual experience.
While the term Asatru, meaning true to the Aesir is sometime used generically to mean a Norse polytheist (esp. reconstructionist) religion, a growing number of people have come to see Heathenry as including three pantheons- the Aesir, the Vanir and the Jotuns. While most Heathens focus on the Aesir (assuming that this includes at least some of the Vanir- Frey, Freya & Njord), others have come to focus on the Vanir, calling themselves Vanatru, and the Jotuns or Rokkur, Rokkatru. Lokason believes that the Jotuns are the oldest pantheon, the Vanir branched off of them and the Aesir came in later on. He goes through a timeline of archaeological evidence in Northern Europe and interprets it through this theory.
There are chapters on both the deities traditionally seen as Vanic- Njord, Nerthus, Frey and Freya, as well as deities named in the lore that the author and other Vanatru believe to be Vanic, such as Idunn and Eir, and beings that Lokason has learned about or encountered through his spiritual journey.
The Eshnahai (which is what the Vanir call themselves) are a race of elves (the distinction between elves and gods being minimal) and Lokason shares with us details of the 24 Eshnahai tribes, named after various animals that they can shape-shift into, aspects of their daily life and spirituality. The holidays of the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year have their equivalent in Vanaheim, and descriptions of how they are celebrated there as well as how they might be here in Midgard by a solitary or a group are given.
I will admit that I am a rather unlikely reader for this book- I tend to be skeptical when I hear of information gained from shamanic journeying, channeled from spirits and the like. However, this is how religions are formed- from visions, from extra-ordinary claims of miracles. To truly explore religion means that at some point, you will have to open yourself up to possibilities of the uncanny. So while I’m still not sure if I am necessarily a True Believer in all of Nornoriel’s Lokason’s experiences, I am keeping an open mind and enjoying the ride.
I think this book would be enjoyed by non-Pagans who enjoy mythology and fantasy fiction, by Pagans who otherwise might not be interested in Heathenry, but are open to a more visionary perspective on it. Heathens who want to explore further their relationships with the Vanir, elves, connection with nature and practice of magic and seidhr would also find a lot of value in the book. I also think Celtic Pagans and Druids would find a lot of that resonates within these pages.
Above all, you can see the love and devotion with which it was written. There are a couple of errors in the text, unsurprising for a self-published work, but not enough to take away from the reading experience.
This is the first book in a planned series of four- the next one entitled Voices of Vanaheim is set for release in November 2014. It will be a collection of stories told from different perspectives about the history of Vanaheim and the Eshnahai.
There’s getting to be so many of these CFS’s I made a page for reference for the books. Please comment if you know of any others!
“I am going to be engaging in something similar to those “30 Days of Devotion” things that are going around. I’ve fleshed out some of the questions I intend to use, and I’ve also taken inspiration from some of the memes of other bloggers. My plan, however, is not to start with a script of thirty days worth of questions. Instead, I’m looking to have about twenty question (or so) related to devotional work, philosophy, worship, and spirituality…and the rest will be questions I answer from any readers and/or peers who care to post them. If I get less than thirty, I’ll still have the chance to charge my batteries and restore my focus. If I end up with more than thirty, I’m just help to contribute to the dialogue surrounding devotional practices. Either way, it’s a net positive. I’m looking to help myself expand my spiritual horizons and, at the same time, get some respite from all of the horrific, soul-sucking news that’s going on in the realm of current events. I want to re-immerse myself in my spirituality, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my devotional work took a downward spiral while I was so focused on the headlines.
So in the comments below, post some of your favorite devotional/worship/spirituality based questions. Ones that you have struggled with, ones that you think are at the core of spirituality itself, or things that you just want to see be talked about more. If you think of some after I start, feel free to post them as well…in any of the posts with “The Days of Devotion” as a category, for ease of organization. If you are a blogger yourself, perhaps you can answer your own question as well. Better yet, I’ll be posting the initial schedule a day or two before I begin and it’ll be adjusted with any needed updates. So if you want to repeat this entire meme later or even participate in it along side of me, you’ll be able to do so. Devotional rumination for it’s own sake, on a community based level, can be a potent force…and if I (or we) can help recharge the batteries of others along the way, all the better.
This suggestion is not limited to Northern European/Heathen based Polytheism either; if the project sounds worthwhile to you, and you are a devotionally engaged, Polytheist of any sort, feel free to join in! There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to remind yourself that the world is still a potentially beautiful place in spite of all of the despicable nonsense that occurs around us. I’ve been focusing a lot on the former lately, and I feel that it is high time to take a moment for some of the later.
More details to come, so stay tuned!”
From Nornoriel: “My awesome colleague at Staff of Asclepius at Patheos, CJ Blackwood, has a WordPress blog entitled The Crimson Crescent and is seeking contributions within the community from feminist witches (can be Dianic, non-Dianic, also do not have to be women or assigned female at birth to contribute, blog is trans-friendly) on where feminism and witchcraft/paganism intersect. I support this project and I figure of the 1100 of you who follow this blog now, someone’s got to find this relevant to their interests and have something to contribute.”
Wytch of the North: Call for Submissions: Mask of the High One, a Devotional Anthology for Odin- Submissions will close on May 1st, 2015. As far as I am able, I want to make this book a true reflection of some of Odin’s countless masks (both historical and modern), His relationships with His devotees, and the myriad ways in which He inspires and changes people’s lives. To that end, I am interested in all of the following: personal anecdotes and gnosis/doxa, original retellings of myths, prayers, songs, scholarly articles, essays, hymns, poems, artwork (clear black and white images or black and white photographs, please!), spellwork, recipes (for food and drink offerings, incense, oils, baths, etc.), sacred fiction (no erotica, please; I don’t necessarily find this disrespectful as such, but it is one of the few boundaries I wish to maintain in this book), and rituals celebrating Odin and His Family. (Pieces touching on His relationships with Frigga, Balder, Loki, Gunnlod, Bragi, and Bestla are especially welcomed.)
We would like to hear from founders and leaders of as many different traditions and organizations, established and brand new, as possible.
Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2015.
By no means can we capture a portrait of every Pagan path. What we are trying to do is give aspiring and knowledgeable Pagans alike a springboard for proceeding with their studies, with information and stories from a wide selection of Pagan traditions.
We are looking specifically for articles and stories from tradition/organization leaders and founders as well as other leaders who have a wider view of the Pagan landscape.
Awesome! (Funny- notice how the male roles are much less defined by biology?) This is something we all need. Even cisgender hetero women who want kids feel constricted by these roles. Personally I’ve lately been identifying with the Fool archetype (which I see as distinct from Trickster) This time I need to actually keep track of the time- a year or so ago Tara asked me on my blog if I wanted to contribute to the disability anthology she wrote but I totally lost track of the info! But, well that’s part of being a Fool!
I’ve been trying to be good and not spend money, watching while my boyfriend buys lots of games. Frustrating! Meanwhile lots of cool polytheist/pagan goodies have been coming out! List for my own reference, links to announcements/info, trying to decide which ones to get hard copies, which to just get in e-book format.
More stuff will be added/removed as I discover new goodies and buy stuff.
- Visions of Vanaheim– $19.99 now (reg price $24.99) e-book is 15, so will get it in print.
- Asphodel Press Prayer books (which ones?) Most are $5 for e-book, $18 for print- hmmmm…
- Fire Jewel (Freyja)
- Honey Grain & Gold (Frey)
- Skalded Apples (Idunna & Bragi) Partly interested in the last just cuz there’s so little written about them.
- Air n-Aithesc (Our message) Peer reviewed Celtic recon journal- 2nd issue out now! 5 for e-book, 20 for print
- Dance of Oak & Wren: Rites of Draiocht by Robert Barton (formerly of ADF- has written great articles E-book is 8, print is 12 (at discount)
- Where the Hawthorn Grows– an American Druid’s reflections by Morgan Daimler
- Ellen Evert Hopman’s 3 novels set in pre-Christian Ireland I think they are out of print now but you can order them from her site.
- Circle of Stones by Erynn Rowan Laurie– has been available for quite some time- now you can get audio for the Gaelic portions!
- Divorcing a Real Witch– friend of mine, Diana Rajchel, need to buy from her! Hopefully I’ll never need it!
- When a Pagan Prays by Nimue Brown- great Druid writer!
- Dealing with Deities by Raven Kaldera- intro to polytheistic theology
- Heart of the Labyrinth by H. Jeremiah Lewis (Sannion) Bacchic Orphism, prolly not my thing, but anything Sannion writes is interesting. If nothing else, if I read it, I’ll finally understand what he’s talking about on his blog (I took a hiatus from reading for a while then I was like whaaat?)
- (Maybe) Whispers of Stone by Tess Dawson- originally published by O books, went out of print, her book on magic was picked up by Llewellyn- interested, but not $40 interested.
- Longing for Wisdom: the Message of the Maxims by Allyson Szabo
- Magickal Judaism by Jennifer Hunter out of print Jewitchery is such a fascinating blend
- (Maybe) Blacksmith Gods– since I’m interesting in so many smith related gods this might be interesting
Reference- Different Publishing websites
Biblioteca Alexandrina– publishing wing of Neos Alexandria, Greco-Roman-Egyptian recon org- lotsa interesting titles to choose from! They are starting to digitize them.
Nysa Press– Sannion’s other books
(Warning: discussion of child abuse/molestation)
Yesterday, after writing the “What is My Feminism” post I went back and added a section about being a geeky feminist/feminist geek. Later upon some perusing of the Net, I came across some news that made geek feminism all the more important. One of my most beloved authors (deceased for 15 years) Marion Zimmer Bradley, had been accused by her daughter, Moira Greyland of child abuse and molestation. I wish I were more shocked by this, but I had already heard rumblings about her husband, Walter Breen being a convicted child molester, and that she (and possibly others) were involved in covering this up before it came to light. I hadn’t read anything about these situations however, so today and last night I perused thru the deposition that M.Z.B. gave about her husband. As I read it, my youthful idealized picture of a pioneering feminist writer, who encouraged female authors to break into the male-dominated field of science fiction and fantasy in the 1960’s-80’s fell by the wayside. A callous, cynical picture of a woman with no regard or respect for the rights and dignity of children and young teenagers emerged. She knew about the abuse that was going on, and did nothing to stop it. She had this distorted sense of “open-minded, non-judgmental” attitude towards the sexual autonomy of young people (under 18) to “choose” relationships with older adults. Umm, no. She even helped her husband edit a book he wrote about pederasty to justify all this! So it’s quite believable to me that a woman who aided, abetted and defended her husband in all this would do it herself.
One thing I am glad to hear of is that for the most part, the science fiction/fantasy fandom community has been supportive of Ms. Greyland and believing her accusations. She was overshadowed by the fame of her mother, and didn’t want to take away the joy she brought to her fans! What a terrible burden to bear, alone for so many years.
To me this is a giant lesson in the dangers of fame and celebrity and the power that comes with them that can be so easily abused.
It’s also an illustration of the feminist idea that “the personal is political”. Marion wasn’t a political activist, but as I said she did a lot to advance women writers in a time and genres when they were often excluded. But in her personal life, she was complicit and active participant in abusive behavior against her own children, and other people’s children.
Might I add, that while not Pagan herself (she was at the very least a very Goddess-loving Christian) she was very influential on the growth of the Pagan and Goddess/feminist spirituality movement with her book The Mists of Avalon- a re-telling of Arthurian legend from the perspective of Morgaine, a priestess of the Goddess. I know many Pagans, myself including that credit that book with at least partially leading them to their path. There is also a lot of overlap between Neo-Paganism and science fiction/fantasy fandom, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area that Bradley and her associates were a part of. Even for Pagans who aren’t into these fandoms, we all need to take a cold, hard look at the attitudes that long protected these abusers within the science fiction convention culture. We’re outsiders, we’re different, we don’t want “the normal people” to judge us. So we’ll keep it a secret. We’re liberal about sex, and that means not judging *any* kind of sexual behavior. Gee, does any of that sound familiar to you?
Note: I do not think it is a productive course of action to shame everyone into getting rid of/never re-reading/reading in the first place M.Z.B.’s books. Do those things if you must, or examine her books again with her actions in mind if you will, but the most important thing is that we support the victims, listen to them, protect them, and put policies and cultural attitudes in place that prevent this from happening. Moira and her brother Mark are both not heirs to the estate, so they are not able to profit off of their mother’s work. However, Moira is a musician and Mark is an artist so we can go support their own work and empower their own voices.
Deirdre Saoirse Moen: It’s Worse Than I Knew (public share of Moira’s e-mails about her mother’s abuse)
Jim C. Hines (SF author) Rape, Abuse & MZB
Jason Pitzl-Waters- The Wild Hunt blog- MZB, Abuse & Cautionary Tales
Dianne Sylvan- Vampires Saved My Soul…after MZB tried to kill it (not about abuse but it shows more of MZB’s true character)
Diana Paxson (author who collaborated on Avalon books) comments on the situation. She does not deny that MZB was involved in abuse, but says she did not witness any of it.
Note: I have been posting my book reviews on my other blog, Roots Leaves & Threads but I thought I’d put Pagan-related ones here.
Sacred Cauldron is an excellent primer on Celtic Reconstructionist religion. (Regardless of whether the CR community thinks) Tadhg MacCrossan calls his tradition “Druidactos” focusing on Gaulish culture. There isn’t much information on Gaulish polytheism, however so most of the book is based on Irish and Welsh mythology, history and folklore.
I can tell it is very well researched, using many reputable sources I am familiar with such as “Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland & Wales” by the Rees brothers and “Gods of the Celts” by Miranda Green.
On the down side- There were some assertions in the “Gods and Their Tales” chapter that I found questionable- so be a little careful with that. I thought his ritual set up (nemeton or grove) was overly complex- I think it is based on Vedic (Indian) ritual. He includes several useful appendices terms for ritual gear and other words in various languages including Proto-Indo-European. In general he is very big on comparing IE mythologies, but I think he tends to emphasize similarities over differences a little too much. We certainly can get many good ideas from other IE (and some non-IE) cultures, but we need to stay true to the Celtic spirit. Overall though, this is a well put together and very useful book for Celtic Pagans. I wish it would go back in print!
Though I have to say the marketing on the back is annoying “Secrets of the Druids Revealed!” That’s typical Llewellyn, probably not the author’s choice.