Author Archives: Erin
All about Erin - who has written 741 posts on Erin's Journal.
An author, a Wiccan, a Druid, a Priestess, a member of the ULC, Owner of Erin's Journal, mystic, magickian, DragonKin, Guardian and Transsexual. All these and more describe Erin.
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By Galina Krasskova
New Page Books, 2005 $14.99 US
Review by Daven
My first reaction to this book was “why the hell did New Page send this to me?” Normally I have a very narrow selection of books I review, simply because that’s what I’m knowledgeable in. Wicca, Druidism, Ritual, Wicca 101 and basics, magick and so on. Northern traditions and Germanic Heathenry is not my forte. I’m so glad I decided to read this book anyhow and not put it on the shelf.
I was concerned since (in my mind) Northern Traditions are the same as the Asatru I have read about and interacted with on a limited scope, and I know next to nothing about Asatru ways. It turns out that I know more than I thought I did, and this book pointed tha out to me.
And THAT is the gem of this book. It is supposed to be a primer for those who don’t know anything about Northern Traditions, Asatru, Theodish Belief, Heathenry or any of the myriad practices that are lumped together under that umbrella. It is supposed to be a basic introduction to those practices and a way to educate the masses about their way of belief. And it turns out that I had a heck of a lot of knowledge already.
Okay, we have heard the pleas from others for Pagan Unity. We have heard the litany against that idea, mostly because it will take away our individuality. Nowhere can I find a list of why we should, other than the articles asking for that unity in tones like unto Oliver Twist asking for more food.
So, let me see if I can make a few points that are relevant but not the same old litany.
And understand something before replying and giving me an earful, I am against total Unity. I think that putting all Pagan and NeoPagan faiths into a blender and hitting “frappe” is the wrong thing to do. I think that if this were to happen that an essential part of Paganism would be lost, the ability to choose. Many of us came to NeoPaganism or Paganism or Reconstructionism or whatever because of the general sameness of the mainstream religions out there. The basic credos were the same; they only fiddled with the details (like whether or not a skirt should be worn by women or if pants were acceptable).
(Originally published in “The Druid’s Arch”, the Official Newsletter of the Ord Draíochta Na Uisnech in the Mean Samraidh/Lughnasdh 2003 issue, Volume 1, Issue 2.)
What do we usually think of when we hear the word “Bard”? We may normally think of Taliesin, Amergin or some other famous Bard who recited poetry and created scathing satire. A studious young man who was equally adept on a harp and in song, writing reams of verse at the drop of someone’s shoe. We might think of a person who could recite thousands of lines of history or the entire Mabinogion in one sitting.
The reason for these images is simple. Our popular culture has taught us that this is what a Bard was, a songster, a musician on lute or harp, a maker of poems and scholar of history. I think that it’s time for this stereotype to die.
By Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
New Page Books, 2007 $14.99
Review by Daven
This is not going to be a good review. I took all kinds of time with it, trying to pick out the least loaded words I could to encourage the author to continue her efforts, but this is not a good book.
The subject matter would have made an outstanding essay. Twenty or thirty pages on Gargoyles would have been wonderful. There are many people who would have been thrilled to see a work like that and it would have been of use.
But what this book actually contains is scattered information on gargoyles and grotesques (defined as any carved figure that does not have a drainpipe) in various paragraphs, sandwiched in between multi page digressions that would have Odysseus going “Where are we again?”
Amber K & Azrael Arynn K
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
ISBN 0-7387-0079-7 $14.95
Review by Daven
Like “Lammas”, this book is only about Candlemas, or Imbolic, or Oimelc, or any number of other names you could give to this holiday. The thing that all of these holidays have in common is that all of them fall near the beginning of February, all of them involve fire, and most of them involve a young Goddess or lady named Brigid.
This book looks at those different celebrations, finding the cultural roots inside each celebration, it looks in depth at the customs surrounding the traditional celebrations, from the tradition of Groundhog’s day to Brigid’s bed.
Most of the facts explored in this text are “duh” facts, like Spring Cleaning and Candlemas being about candles as well as Brigid. It makes sense that during this time of celebration of a goddess of Fire and Smithcraft that one would clean out the house, make her bed on the hearth, and reconsecrate all the tools, right? That’s something that hit me up against the head when I read it.
(Note from Daven: Poetry is a huge part of the life of a Druid or Bard. So it is appropriate that I do some poetry, even if it does stink, although, there are those who don’t think it does. Hurray for rose-colored glasses.)
Has anyone else ever
Has anyone else ever felt the Goddess?
Not just the Maiden, Mother and Crone,
But also the Warrior?
The woman who defends her cubs to the death?
Has anyone else felt the God?
His faces: Wanderer, Hunter, Guide and Guardian?
He who is all with the Lady
The man that balances the Goddess?
Has anyone else heard the stars sing?
Their songs of bright things in the sky?
Their tales of ancient times?
Their eternal mourning for those who died?
Has anyone else ever listened to the Earth?
To Her pain for what has been done?
To the life that beats inside her?
And heard the promise of a new life?
Have you ever listened to a baby’s heartbeat?
Thought about what they might become?
Wondered what kind of world they will inherit
And if they will grow in love and beauty?
What’s wrong with being new?
I see this mentioned many times on other blogs and articles, and I keep coming back to the central point of “what is wrong with being a new person in a religion?”
I know I’m pretty harsh with fluffies in this site. I don’t equate new people with fluffies however. Fluffies are those who are deliberately and willfully ignorant and revel in being that way. They go out of their way to promote and argue the ignorant and busted myths from decades ago (Wicca is ancient, 9 million, all gods are one god, etc) and they decry and flame those who have the temerity to say differently.
But being new is not the same thing. One can be fluffy and new, that’s easy. But one can also be new and be non-fluffy, in that one is willing to listen and learn. And that is listen and learn to multiple sources, not just one.
But I see people on some of the forums I’m on who go out of their way to present that they are not new. Why? I think Juliaki’s essy (referenced a few posts back) about this same problem hits a very key point, many new people are treated as fluffies.
When in the course of religious events, it becomes necessary for one Pagan to deconstruct the documents which have previously connected him with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal status to which Nature and the Nature’s Gods entitle him to, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind demand that he list the causes that impel the corrections.
Most hold these truths to be self evident, that no witch speaks for all, that all witches are endowed by their deity(s) with certain inalienable rights, and among these are Rational Thought, Opinion and the Pursuit of Truth. That to fairly administer these rights organizations are created amongst Pagans, deriving their just powers from the consent of those ascribing to their rules. That whenever any organization overreaches itself it is the right of the Witches to disband that organization as fast as possible, and to disavow all connection to the group that once supported them.
(Originally published in “The Druid’s Arch”, the Official Newsletter of the Ord Draíochta Na Uisnech in the Beltane 2003 issue, Volume 1, Issue 1.)
Well, here it is, Beltane again. Once more we stand on the threshold of the transition between Winter and Summer. “The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul” as one author put it, is now at an end, and we are moving back into the light. All around us, the Earth has been waking and changing. The plants have been pushing up through the soil, renewing their life, the birds have mated and even now, the chicks are starting to grow. The wild things are leaving the protection of their parents and starting to move around on their own, renewing the LIFE that is this planet.
How are we, as Druids, responding to this? We may feel it in our bones, we may feel the quickening pulse of the Land, we may feel compelled to sing at odd times. Many of us may be forced by something deep inside ourselves to clean the house and air it out, letting the newness that is Spring and Summer come in. Soon we will be hearing the lazy buzz of the bees and the Katydids and remembering the lethargy that comes when the heat climbs into the triple digits. We may remember to take shorter showers, conserve water and to try to make sure that others have the same resources that we have.
by Raven Grimassi
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
Review by Daven
Raven is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. His writing style is clear and fluid, never condescending to the reader, nor written on the level of the lowest common denominator.
This is the thinnest book in the Sabbat series from Llewellyn, and that had me concerned for a little while. Raven may have skimped on the information a bit, but the information that is there is well worth the price. There is information in here concerning the hobbyhorse, Mummery and flower meanings. In addition, there are myths from almost every European culture, a first for this series.
There is an entire chapter devoted to the plants of this holiday, from flowers and flower speech to the plants fairies find attractive. Herbs play a prominent role in this, as well as the trees and plants associated with the Goddess.
The de rigueur spells and recipes are here. This time all the recipes are in one place, unlike the Ostara book reviewed elsewhere. In the same section you will find some quick folk remedies for some common complaints such as infertility and heavy moon-flow, for example. I feel this is to the good since this season is all about fertility.