Please see my other website, Cunning Craft, for more on my work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fire-stories for the 6th Annual Brigid's Poetry Festival


The Creatures of Fire Tell a Story
The creatures of fire tell a story.

First are the bees,
Bound in gold and wrapped with night.
"Listen," say they,
"We will tell of a woman,
Our very own woman who wraps us in words,
In flowers of sound soft as Her touch.
We supplicate, we give of our own,
Sweetest honey laid on Her tongue,
Carried in quivering jaws by our most 
Rarified Queens.
Trembling legs touch softest lips as
We pay homage to beauty,
We homely and meek,
To truth and Her words
Give homily."

Second is the fox,
Fur flaming and ruddy with light.
"Listen," says he,
"I will tell of a woman,
The forest's own woman girded with fire 
Who keeps us the blade and the well.
I supplicate, I lay at Her feet,
Give Her my eyes and long-furred ears,
Bodily, if I must! lay down before
Her Flaming Arrow.
I will meet Her glory with stoutest heart as
I pay homage to mercy,
I, wily and dash,
To shaft and to tip,
Give homily."

Third is the snake,
Sun warmed and labyrinth-curling.
"Listen," says she,
"I will tell of a woman,
The night's own woman who mounts on the fire,
Rides wailing through roads left unseen.
I supplicate, I slip 'round Her throat,
Slip out of skin in the frenzy of
Sliding on the sun-warmed skin of Her,
The Flaming Crown.
Kiss Her naep with my fairest belly as
I pay homage to remedy,
I, lowly and wild,
To heat and Her heart,
Give homily."

Last is the poet,
Flaming pen and shaking hand.
"Listen," says he,
"And I will tell of a woman."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

re: "13 Things I LOVE About Pagans!"


This post is in response to Star Foster's post "13 Things I LOVE About Pagans!" at Pantheon, the Pagan Blog at Patheos.

The post was a fun romp, but I admit to heartily disagreeing with the inferences made in her #2 favorite thing. She says:

"We have a long and illustrious history. The Great Pyramid, the Parthenon, Stonehenge, Teotihuacan and many other wonders were built by Pagans. Philosophy, astronomy, chemistry and mathematics all have Pagan foundations. Story goes, even NASA rockets have been shaped by Pagan culture!"

There is so much going on in that small paragraph that I have trouble with. Teotihuacan and Aztec religion, for instance, have virtually nothing to do with our community. In all the history of the modern pagan movement, indigenous traditions from this hemisphere have had an extremely low impact on who we are today. Our traditions were imported from Europe in the middle of the last century. Insinuating that these native traditions are a part of our history is extremely misleading.

I believe that the confusion and disconnection is in the usage of the word "pagan" in her context above. To say that all of those different historical cultures were "pagan" is, at best, a misnomer. At worst it is a rude and inconsiderate response to the self-identity of religions worldwide, past and present.

"Pagan" is a term originally coined by Christians, historically referring to rural Europeans but eventually being used to mean any non-Christian religious tradition. The history of the word is vitally important, hailing from the period when Christianity began to grow in Europe. At the time its Latin derivative was almost synonymous with "hick" or "hillbilly", indicating that the person being called pagan was from a rural area, and generally unlearned or unsophisticated. Keep in mind that Christianity was growing mainly in the cities, and so those outside of the cities were quite likely still practicing their indigenous traditions.

We as a Neopagan community have accepted the pagan label, but it's important to remember that this label is Christian-given. As a community that has embraced the word and made it our own identity, we need to recognize that both in ancient history and in modern times the term has not been accepted by most other non-Christian traditions. Scholars today are moving towards a pagan definition that does not automatically equate it with any and all polytheisms worldwide, and modern pagans should be encouraging this change.

We self identify as Pagan, and I encourage it. I can promise you, though, that Hinduism doesn't. Nor do Shinto, Voudou, or Native American traditions. Nor did, as far as history tells, the Egyptians, Aztecs, or even the Romans accept the word Pagan as their own label. Self-identification should be something that our community is supporting, not negating.

In short I can't consider "The Great Pyramid, the Parthenon, Stonehenge, Teotihuacan and many other wonders" to be a part of a single community's history. The history of Neopaganism as it is practiced in the West is distinctly European in origin, influenced of course by ceremonial magical practice which was in turn interpreted from sources such as Jewish Kabbalah and Ancient Egyptian religion.

We need to be mindful of the history of our own name, and be careful in recklessly applying that name to others who may not care for it. It is very true that we have a long and illustrious history, but it is not the same history as that of Egypt or Mexico. They intersect, perhaps, but they are not the same. There are many different polytheisms, and it is irresponsible to call them all pagan.

Always, please remember: Polytheistic ≠ Pagan.



  1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm
  2. http://www.religioustolerance.org/paganism.htm
  3. http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/pagan.html
  4. http://www.patheos.com/community/paganportal/2010/12/04/13-things-i-love-about-pagans/

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Walking

I took a walk tonight. I rather enjoyed myself, I have to say. It's been a long time since I've done anything like that, any of my late night walking. I used to feel the need so often and almost always took msyelf up on it. This neighborhood typically feels oppressive to me, though. Unwelcoming. It was nice to get out.

Autumn is truly approaching, after such a long wait. There's a tiny touch of chill to the air, leaves begin to carpet the ground. The scent of fall rides on the breeze. I do love the smell of rotting leaves - it reminds me of a mother's mourning dress. The heartbroken mother wears a veil of bare branches, a bodice of fog, and a long train of molding wet leaves.

The rabbits are out in spades tonight, as well. It's nice to see. I appreciate their directness, their focus on a goal. It helps to move my mind along.

The night is long, but not for me. Good night.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Worship

I am not too proud to worship at God's feet, yet nor am I so ignorant that I ignore the rest of Her.

My experience of God is informed by my experience of the world. All of the Gods show themselves in our world, They are present here. When I worship the world, I worship them. Our world is the most direct path to God.

Kiss the ground and kiss God's feet in awe, kiss the Mama's belly in love.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Apple-Pumpkin Upside Down Pudding Cake

This is a really fun recipe. The name is long, sure, but it's pretty damned straightforward. Makes a great desert and it's really easy to make.

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 C Sugar
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soada
1/4 t Salt
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/4 t Ginger

Wet Ingredients
1 t Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 Vegan Milk Substitute (Almond, Soy, or Hemp)
1/4 C Canola Oil
3/4 C Pumpkin Puree

Apple Filling
6 Apples, cored, sliced thinly
1/2 C Sugar
A couple splashes of lemon juice or ACV
Clove and Cinnamon to taste

Mix up the apple filling and spread it across the bottom of a lightly greased cake pan.

Mix your dry ingredients up well, and of course mix your wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold the wet into the dry just as you would with any basic cake batter. Pour this over the apple filling and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes at 350. After 20 minutes test with a toothpick or sharp knife to make sure how it's doing.

When the toothpick comes out clean just allow the cake to cool a wee bit and serve. High quality vanilla ice cream would be wonderful with it, I prefer coconut ice cream.

Let me know if you try it out!