Canadian Affirms Oath of Citizenship on Pagan ‘Holy Book’

[Reprinted from the Pagan Newswire Collective blog Pagan+Politics. Article by Cara Schulz.]

There is no act more political in nature than making an oath of citizenship to a nation. On Tuesday, Melissa Gold, a Pagan living in Canada did just that.   Like many new Canadian citizens, she did so with her hand resting on a book containing stories, poems, and hymns sacred to her religion.  What makes this event extraordinary, and possibly a first in North America, is that the book wasn’t a Bible, a Torah, or a Koran – it was a text containing Hesiod and Homer. Melissa agreed to speak with Pagan+politics about about her experience and what it meant to her.

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.The Pagan-friendly Gaea Retreat Center in Kansas, host of the annual Heartland Pagan Festival, is branching out and allowing a music festival to take place on its grounds for the first time.”…after enduring several board meetings, Yager and his staff finally convinced the proprietors to embrace the Gaea Retreat and Music Festival, which begins at noon today. “We’ve spawned into this weird festival where it’s a mesh of cultures. We have introduced education through imagery by focusing on things like the environment, free energy, energy conservation alternatives, performing arts,” he says.”Earth Rising, Inc., the legal entity that runs Camp Gaea, is trying to move past its infamous local past (which involved a legal battle over its permit), and reputation as a haven for Pagans and nudists. Though it remains to be seen if Camp Gaea can transform a music festival into a place to “find that realm of evenness and spiritual soundness.” While I fully attest to the spiritual power of live music, I’m not sure “evenness” and “spiritual soundness” is what you aim for.

Robert Fagles 1933 – 2008

Professor, poet, and academic Robert Fagles passed on Wednesday, March 29th, from prostate cancer. Fagles is best known for his masterful translations of Homer’s epics the Iliad and the Odyssey.Robert Fagles”He was a quiet man, diligent and decorous, yet one who was unexpectedly equal to the swagger and savagery of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ in a way no one had managed before him,” – Princeton humanities professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul MuldoonRobert Fagles’ contribution to translations of Greek and Roman classic literature and poetry can’t be understated. His translations of Homer sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and helped re-introduce the greatness of pre-Christian epic poetry to a new generation.”Homer gave me new modes of expression, but I wanted to capture as much of him as I could, making him available and, with luck, compelling to a modern audience. I set the same task for myself when I translated Aeschylus and Sophocles.”His most recent translation was Virgil’s Aeneid, released in 2006, a project he wasn’t sure he would be able to finish due to his cancer. When released, Fagles called it “unexpectedly timely and relevant”.”It says that if you depart from the civilized, then you become a murderer …

Was Homer a Woman?

Slate reviews a new book by Andrew Dalby that reexamines the origins of the great epics the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. The book, entitled “Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic”, makes the “bold” hypothesis that “Homer” may have been a woman.”But Dalby deploys a much stronger set of arguments for female authorship, based on comparative anthropological analysis of how women preserve songs, stories, and folk tales. Women are often the ones who retain linguistic and literary traditions for the longest time. Certainly, there is no evidence whatsoever of female epic poets in archaic Greece. When poets are described or alluded to in the Homeric poems themselves, they are always men.