The Pagan Carnival

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Pagan Carnival, a bi-weekly summary of the best writing in the modern Pagan, Heathen and occult blogosphere. Help spread the word and strengthen our online community by posting a link back to this entry. Don’t forget to submit your nominations for the next edition! Now on to the carnival!

Particular problems pertaining Pagan publishing! Many Pagan bloggers weighed in on this one. Sparked by Phyllis Curott’s essay “A Canary in the Culture War Coal Mines” in which she partially blames Christian pressure on the shrinking of Pagan book sections.

I weighed in with the thought that maybe the Pagan book market needs a new focus.

“Has our focus on presenting lesson plans and ritual structures of differing levels really what our evolving community should expect from it’s authors? The current trends in Pagan publishing seem to be exhausting themselves and readers both young and old seem ready for a new focus in what books we want to see.”

Seshen is sure there is a plot!

“Yes, I’ve always considered that the Christian Dominionists are at fault for the glut of Wicca-lite craptatular books that are the standard fare of our fast-food pagan community. It’s certainly not the free market that rewards books with some meat to them on a majority-popular subject that has anything to do with it.”

Brenda at the Red Raven’s Roost wants integrity:

“So, what do I want out of pagan publishers? Let’s start at the beginning, with editorial integrity. If the author can’t document it, publishers shouldn’t let them claim it’s something it’s not.”

While Chas Clifton reminds us of the cyclical nature of publishing and the virtue of patience.

“As far as Wicca and other forms of Paganism are concerned, it’s good to make haste slowly.”

Turning to matters theological, Heathen blogger Asahel talks about the notion of being “called” by the gods and questions how Pagan an idea that is.

So why would people want to believe that they were chosen by the gods, since there’s no historical evidence for such a belief? Well, the not-nice answer is of course arrogance. It’s nice to be wanted, after all, and the idea of being personally sought out by a deity or set of deities is an attractive one. A slightly nicer idea is that people are unconsciously re-enacting a Christian belief in their new religion. It is common among Christians to “hear the call of Jesus,” or to be personally called by God or one of his angels for a specific task (reference the popular accounts of Joan of Arc). It’s easy, of course, to follow a line of creative speculation and arrive at the idea that the gods MUST have called. Unfortunately mind games do not religious truth make.

Along with Asahel’s blog I have come across some other new(ish) additions to the Heathen/Asatru corner of the Pagan blogosphere. Steven Tucker (AKA Dvalin Darkdale), and Silver Hammer’s Heathen Musings. Both blogs have some great content and I wish both a long run! Expect both to make it on my blogroll soon.

Coming out of the “closet” if you are gay can be hard, as can coming out of the “broom closet” and letting people know you aren’t the Christian they thought you were. Now imagine doing both! Sarah from RainboWind shares her experiences.

Mother: “So… this means you must be one of these Pagans.”

Me: “Well, yes.”

Mother: “Why didn?t you mention this to us before?”

Me: “Mention it? Didn?t you notice all the books with pentagrams I left lying around the house?”

Mother: “No.”

Meanwhile Daven has himself a bit of a rant about Pagan credentials.

“What is it with people and their ‘pagan credentials’? Huh? Those that have them don’t want to show them, and those that don’t can’t be prevented from dragging theirs out. Seen this a couple times now. Person in metaphysical store comes up and starts chatting about how long they have been practicing and are unwilling to give any verifiable evidence of their experience. “I’ve been in this for 40 years, a fifth generation Wiccan, it’s hereditary (which means genetically inherited rather than ‘heritage’ which is a family tradition) and I’m getting my High Priestess Degree.” WTF??? A ‘degree’ in High Priestess? From what college? Berkley, Hogwarts, which? I didn’t know they offered a BS or BA in ‘High Priestess’. Who teaches it? I’d love to take it.”

The Infamous Brad loves Neil Gaimain’s new film MirrorMask.

The line, by the way, in the reviews that made me half curious to see it was that this was a movie composed almost entirely of fairy-tale motifs, but with a plot that is unlike any known fairy tale. And you know what? It’s true. A kingdom of light and a kingdom of dark, a quest, sphinxes and riddles, a princess locked away in a tower, a juggler and fool for a hero, a magical key that nobody can find the lock that matches, oh yeah, we’ve seen many of these pieces before. And out of all these deeply resonant images and situations, Gaiman has made something new, original, striking, powerfully psychedelic, and deeply moving.

Maggie Macary talks about the gods, the myth of Icarus and how these patterns still play out in our day to day lives.

I believe that the gods live and act through us. Not as we imagine deities, powerful forces that we literalize on our altars, but rather as patterns that exist outside of time and space that continue to act on us imaginally. We act out and live unconsciously through these patterns that are as old as human existence and yet we continue to deny their influence on us…If we refuse to see the myth in life, then how can we ever move beyond a wounded puer spirit ? one that jumps around and turns around himself and yet never gets his own discontinuity and self-centeredness? Yes, myths are all around us. We just need to be able to see how they drive us, how they drive our community, how they drive the world.

Pagan artist Joanna Powell Colbert has just returned from Glastonbury, and shares some impressions of her journey.

I have bathed in Her healing pool
. . . drunk of Her sparkling waters
. . . tied a ribbon to a thorn
. . . heard the owl hoot at dawn
. . . eaten three berries in a faery grove
. . . seen the mists part
. . . gathered white stones in a secret sea cave. . . danced in Her sacred garden
. . . climb?d Her holy hill.

Heathen farmer Dave Haxton explains why he is worried about avain flu even if it never transmits to humans in America.

“We’ll all breath and collective sigh of relief and go on about our day, no doubt. At least until breakfast. Or until we go to the market. Because it’s still a disaster: the poultry industry in affected countries will be devastated. This virus has a nearly 100% mortality rate in birds, and governments will begin flock culls almost immediately to prevent it’s spread. Do you have any idea how much poultry you eat? And I’m not just talking about your Chicken Cordon Bleu, Peking Duck or McChicken sandwich here: don’t forget the eggs! Here’s a hint: think about all the pastries, breads, puddings and other baked good requiring ‘liquid chicken’. From the standpoint of a poultry producer, I’m feeling pretty helpless right now …”

Finally, Lilith Saintcrow brings us the showdown between an evangelist and a fetish priestess.

“…the encounter ends with the priest on his knees, shivering and shaking. Wow.”

Thanks for reading, if you have submissions for the next Pagan Carnival or are interested in editing an edition drop me a line. Remember to post a link to The Pagan Carnival in your blog and spread the word!

Carnivals Past can be found here.