Above the Clouds

It’s been quiet around here (it seems with the gloom of the US political situation, prepping for a new job, and my mom being hospitalized my ability to write has been stopped up), but before the newness of the year is gone I want to spill out a few words here. The old year sputtered out with an occasional remaining fit of coughing and spewing. A new one has come in with the energy of a careening freight train, will the rails hold, or if not what might be down there at the end of the line? Some will say years are arbitrary but they are astronomical realities. Sure, it’s a cultural thing where they’re said to start and to end and begin again but we are symbolic animals and psyche is as real as soma.

 

For many in the northern hemisphere it’s winter, but here in the tropics day and night are the antinomies, but the nights have at least cooled off. At the end of the year I had the opportunity to journey up to a high summit (just under 14,000 feet) where winter is reigning. Plenty of snow on the amazing mountain of Maunakea. The effects of high altitude, of low oxygen can easily induce light trance-like states, and the otherworld can more easily communicate with this one at these heights, I have found. Whether via literal heights or those we can reach in our imagination, in “interesting times” it is important to get above the clouds from time to time, above the light pollution of the media (including social media). Of course, one can go underneath too, but that is a different journey.

 

I do have a few announcements to make:

 

I will be at PantheaCon in San Jose in February and presenting a class on filidecht practice on Feb. 17th, “Cauldron Work: The Cauldron of Poesy” (9PM). Here’s from the program:

 

The Three Cauldrons are discussed in the medieval Irish text: “The Cauldron of Poesy”, attributed to the mythical vision poet (fili) Amergin. We will talk about the nature of the whirlpool-like cauldrons and their turning in this wisdom tradition, the importance of our emotions in this tradition (which can turn the cauldrons), and techniques to scan for personal knowledge. To turn the cauldron of wisdom upright, even if momentarily, brings mystical insight. We will discuss the key technique of incubation as well; poetry, art, song, knowledge, wisdom are fruit of this work.

 

The devotional book The Dark Ones, published late last year by Neosalexandria has my poem for the Cailleach, along with a lot of familiar voices. Ordering info here:

https://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/current-titles/fiction-anthologies/the-dark-ones-tales-and-poems-of-the-shadow-gods/

 

The new issue of A Beautiful Resistance is available for pre-order and will be out next month. I have an essay there about the left-hand sacred, an important understanding of the sacred earlier developed by Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille and very relevant for 21st century pagans/polytheists. https://godsandradicals.org/2017/01/01/left-sacred-presale/

Here’s a lovely meme with a quote from the essay made by Rhyd Wildermuth:

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Finally, a quote from an inspiring essay by William Hawes:

“Each of us must find the strength to light their own flame, find their own inner strength and sacred fire, and use their passion and creativity to change the world. By using our collective brilliance, a new space could be opened up for a new kind of Earth. Reviving our communities one-by-one gives us our only chance to confront and defeat the many tentacle monster of international capitalism and US imperialism. There is an alternative: but you won’t find it by watching your TV, or playing on your smartphone.”

https://godsandradicals.org/2017/01/16/lighting-a-flame-in-dark-times/

Imbolc is coming! May Brigid’s flame inspire us.

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Gods & Radicals

As the US roils with turmoil, a rising tide of hate crimes and a promise from the Strongman the Electoral College put into office that the US will pull out of the Paris Accords, I take stock of my religious communities. This has been a divisive year in many ways, in so many layers. Many things have changed. One of the bright constellations in this depressing year has been the growth of Gods & Radicals, and its publications, including the magazine A Beautiful Resistance. A re-membering of the radical nature of being pagan in a capitalist-dominated world, something many had forgotten in the mainstreaming, especially in the US, of paganism/polytheism, is called forth. The roots of paganism have sent up new shoots. The ensuing year further revealed that publisher Rhyd Wildermuth’s exposes were real and of great import: that in our pagan/polytheist communities the alt-right had put their envenomed tentacles down. There was much hew and cry about how dare such accusations be made, but then we saw how many revealed themselves as White Supremacists, along with those who would give them passage and cheer, and who knew no integrity in their campaigns against those that they felt threatened by. A year ago, I thought the alt-right were but a tempest in a teapot. I was wrong: now a major voice of this new revised version of fascism has been given a top job in Drumpf’s White House, the head of the horrifying Breitbart alt-right ‘news’ website. A year or so ago I was told a Storm was coming; it has arrived, taken the capital and frightens the planet. An informative background on the alternative right: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/alternative-right

 

G&R offers a wide variety of writers and perspectives (although its detractors claim otherwise) from Alley Valkyrie to Christopher Scott Thompson, the Hunter S. Thompson-esque hell-raising of Dr. Bones to the beautiful poetry of Lorna Smithers, the eco-wisdom of Sean Donahue, the spirited politics of T. Thorn Coyle, Yvonne Aburrow, Wildermuth and so many more compassionate, intelligent voices. Such voices are needed more than ever in these times of descent into neo-fascism. Please contribute to their fundraiser! It runs till the end of the year.

https://godsandradicals.org/solidarity/

There are plenty of cool perks too!

New Air N-Aithesc

If you have any interest in Celtic ways, check out the Lughnasadh/Samhain issue of our Celtic Reconstructionist magazine, Air N-Aithesc. It includes a fascinating look at the Morrigan’s use of incitement in the Second Battle of Maige Tuired, “The Role Of The Morrigan In The Cath Maige Tuired”,  which includes translations of poetic passages left untranslated by Stokes and Grey. There’s a beautiful essay by Saigh Kym Lambert, “Warriors For The Horse Goddesses”, and my own “Catching Wisdom: Nuadhu, Nechtan, Nodens”, which explores connections with filidecht wisdom traditions.

There are poems (mine), an interview with the wonderful Irish artist Jane Brideson, book reviews and considerations on the Indo-Europeans by Maya St. Clair, and thoughts on practice by Ceffyl Aedui, as well. Get a copy and enjoy some good reading.

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Digital and print copies available.

http://ciannai2.wix.com/air-n-aithesc

William Burroughs, Prophet

“If you intend to destroy an individual or a culture, destroy their dreams. This is happening now on a global scale.” So prophetic writer and master magician William Burroughs wrote back in 1987, and how that war has been amplified in the years since. What does it mean when a body/culture/species starts destroying itself on a macro-level?

 

Can we (some) make our way through the Western Lands? To prep for the journey cultivate your Imagination.

 

Tonight I poured a libation of whiskey for Uncle Bill on his birthday.

 

And I found this interesting music of Tiago Sousa inspired by the novel The Western Lands. http://www.restingbell.net/releases/rb030-the-western-lands

 

 

 

By Christiaan Tonnis (flickr)
By Christiaan Tonnis (flickr)

 

 

Interesting fact: Burroughs is an Ekklesia Antinoou sanctus.

Air n-Aisthesc: A New Celtic Magazine

The first issue of Air n-Aithesc is out. What is that? you may ask. Well, it’s a new magazine focused on Celtic polytheism that is available in both digital and print formats.

I’ve got an article there on Brigid’s ‘retinue’ and am also on the review committee. There’s a lot of good stuff in the first issue, so go and check it out. Writers include Saigh Kym Lambert, Morgan Daimler, and Ceffyl Aedui, among others. We are also seeking articles for the Lughnasadh issue.

 

From the website:

Air n-Aithesc: Our Message is a peer-reviewed magazine that hopes to offer well researched material for Celtic Reconstructionists and others who value the role of academics as much as they value the role of the spiritual in their practice.

 

The magazine’s main aim is to offer as many resources as possible, from research articles to in depth explorations of how personal experiences fit in with the sources, book reviews, and much more.

Vol. 1, Issue 1

http://ciannai2.wix.com/air-n-aithesc