felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Pardoner)
So as of yesterday I have an altar from IKEA. Not that IKEA advertises it as such - rather, I've redeemed that most fallen of furniture-pieces, the TV table, and repurposed it toward a nobler end than the one it was destined for.

However, I'm quite sure that given the explosive growth of Neo-Paganism in Sweden as elsewhere, IKEA home altars are in the offing.

There is, of course, nothing new about Pagan holy sites that require assembly. Earlier this year, archaeologists uncovered a 6th-century Greek temple with assembly instructions in Italy.

And on Labour Day I was researching ancient Norse temples -- what else does one do on Labour Day, really? -- and was directed toward an article on heathen hofs and stave churches. For anyone who's never seen a picture of a stave church, they really are quite beautiful. Current thinking is that as soon as the Christians had burnt down the Pagan temples, they stole the architectural style. The Vikings had no DRM, so the copyright on their sacred architecture was easily bypassed. Stave temples became stave churches.

Anyway, I bring this up because the steps in building such a temple read suspiciously like the instructions to the Hemnes grey-brown sprucewood altar. Which explains why the Swedish are so good at this - they've been doing since Viking ages. Real Harald Bluetooth technology.

And you can just bet that the Vikings were furious after they waited ages by the warehouse to collect their DIY temples, only to be told that same-day delivery by longship was 85 ounces of hacksilver. Then they would undoubtedly over to collect their kids, who would have been screaming playfully in a small room filled of the skulls of IKEA's enemies.

And one day I'm sure, archaeologists will dig below the postholes and hearth sites and Frankish glass and gold figurines they always find in those buried Norse temple sites, and find the Allen keys. Because you know, once you lose the Allen keys, it will take you a thousand years to find them again.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd stop in to wish a happy Lughnassadh/Lammas to those who celebrate it - and a happy August to those who don't.

[livejournal.com profile] em_fish and I had a lovely afternoon chez [livejournal.com profile] jenjoou today. Other than that, it's been a quiet day of writing (twice my daily quota), and cleaning the apartment (mostly) top to bottom.

I'm not looking forward to another week of lots of overtime this week, though :/
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
First off, congratulations to Australia, which has its first female Prime Minister today - Julia Gillard. She was chosen by her party like our first Kim Campbell. Unlike Campbell, though, she has a chance of winning her upcoming election. If she does, Australia will have passed up Canada.

Also, The Wild Hunt had its article by a member of the Neo-Pagan Antinous community. It was an excellent article - all about the arrogance and ignorance of many academics when it comes to modern Paganism - but I was really hoping to learn more about his group beyond the little blurb linked on the blog.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Happy (belated) Litha/Solstice to those who celebrate it!

Things are much better this week than last. Another day I might post more about it. But I've got lots of overtime this week, so time is short and I'm not up to my quota of writing.

I did want to say that I have very good friends, though.

Also, how many of you have heard of the Cult of Antinous? Knowing my friends' list, probably quite a few.

For anyone who hasn't, though, Antinous was the beautiful boyfriend of the Emperor Hadrian, one of the best-respected of the Roman emperors. He died in AD 130 - drowned in the Nile, and whether accident or murder is still debated. Hadrian was distraught. He built a city in Egypt (Antinopolis) on the spot where Antinous died. He had statues and monuments to Antinous built. He put his face on coins.

Most of all, he declared him a god. People could and did worship Antinous.

Well, some gay Neo-Pagans have resurrected the worship of Antinous. One of them will be making a guest-post on The Wild Hunt Blog tomorrow.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I wasn't expecting sublime artistry from the Clash of the Titans.

(Anyone who knew me when I was ages five to eight knows why I saw the remake.)

I wasn't expecting accuracy to Greek mythology - the original Clash of the Titans put the Greek myths in a cinematic blender, set it to purée, and threw in a half dozen Shakespeare plays, and Godzilla and King Kong for good measure.

(Though even the 1981 version didn't make the amateurish mistake of turning Hades into Satan.)

But I also wasn't expecting a two-hour lecture on atheism that could've been ghostwritten by Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. They should've just called it Zeus is Not Great and be done with it. The original was cheesy and campy, but it was just fun. The remake mistakes itself for serious, and tries to deliver a serious - and obnoxious - message.

("Don't believe in gods, kids - even if you're talking to them! And if they're your parents! And if they can kill you! And if they want to help you!" Gah. At least Harry Hamlin wasn't too stupid to look a gift sword in the hilt.)

Oh, well. It's good to see that Liam Neeson has been officially confirmed as Lawrence Olivier. And he has plate mail. That's how you know he's a god - that stuff won't be invented for another 2000 years. And I'm glad they kept Zeus's action figures of the gods. His collection has grown over the years, but then again we have eBay now.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Some Dalits in the village of Bankagaon are building a temple to the English language, deified as a goddess.

The purpose of translating English to godhood is to encourage the study of English, which is seen as the best means to escape the poverty and desperation that the old (officially dead) caste system condemned them too.

Clearly, she'll have to be one of the Sacred Whore goddesses of the Aphrodite vein. She's had vocabulary with half the languages on earth - to say nothing of the promiscuous origins of her grammar.

So, yeah. The work week is over. So much to do, so little energy to do it with.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I have a pile of books on my desk I've been meaning to review. The oldest of these is The Wind in the Willows, a book many read in childhood but which I only came to as an adult.

I knew it mostly as the book Margaret Atwood mocked. She even wrote a much-anthologized poem about it, called "The Animals in That Country." I didn't even think to read it until I read that Kenneth Grahame was what we now call Neo-Pagan, although the term didn't exist then. He'd written an essay he didn't dare publish, favouring the worship of Mother Nature. His wife was even more fanatical. She didn't want to get married in a church, though Grahame insisted for respectability's sake.

Which brings to The Wind in the Willows. See, there's a deeply Pagan chapter that's almost always removed from modern editions. When I heard that, I started looking for an old edition that still had this chapter, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn." Then one landed in my hands entirely by accident.

Review continues )

Other than that, things are quiet. I'm working on a third novel right now - I'll need space to re-do the second I nearly finished after I submitted my first. Still waiting to hear back on the first, but it's only been two months, and they said it could take up to six.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd pop in to wish a Happy Mabon to those who celebrate it, and a happy spring equinox to those who don't :)

I actually had today off as a religious holiday. No static on that. As bad as my workplace has been lately, there are still some things that make it head and shoulders over any other job I've had.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd stop in to wish a happy Lughnassadh to those who celebrate it.

I'm nearly finished my own current edit on version six of the novel. It's a good day for it, seeing as my main character's name is Lleu, a variation on the Lugh that this day is named for. The Lleu of the Mabinogion was probably originally Lugh the Sun God, before he was shrunk down to be palatable to a then-Christian audience :)
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Happy Midsummer/Litha to those who celebrate it!

I've lived like a hermit for much of the last week, which I think I needed. I'm about one-third through the a revision of what looks to be a complete second novel, but other than that and work, I've had a lazy week.

I am quite proud of this, though. That resolution was my idea. [livejournal.com profile] montrealais encouraged me to draft a resolution, which he helped edit and presented. He also brought it to MP Peter Stoffer's attention.

Parliament's out so I'll have to wait until after summer to see where it goes from here. It's highly unlikely that it'll pass -- private members' bills rarely do, and even in a minority government, the Opposition parties can't force the government to act on a bill that involves spending money.

Still, it's a thrill that something I wrote is going to be debated in government. And maybe it'll start the ball rolling on a debate that'll end in a real action. It'll probably have to wait until we have a prime minister who's not evil, though.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I just read American Gods, being the last geek in the world not to have read it.

At first I was disappointed with it. The plot seemed unfocused and rambling. About halfway through, it turns out that a lot of the aimlessness was misdirection, and he brings it to a brilliant reveal-type conclusion -- very Rowling-like, when Rowling is at her best.

So it was a brilliant plot. And a fun read. Most of the characters were interesting and fun. Too bad that in order to make his thematic arguments, he pretty much has to build a whole universe out of straw.

Review continues, with spoilers -- a long review because it hit a few nerves )

Wow. My reviews are getting longer and longer. Could it be I actually miss English lit? These things are turning into term papers. Of course, I couldn't say most of that stuff in a term paper.

I still recommend the book. It's entertaining. It just gets messier and messier the more you think about what it's trying to say. Another bad habit I carry over from English lit, although maybe a good one for my own writing.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I thought I'd pop in to wish a Happy Beltane to those who celebrate it.

Appropriately, I'm nearly finished Drawing Down the Moon, which has been for decades the one book a person should read if they want to have a general overview of Neo-Paganism. The first edition was published in the 1970s, the edition I read is from 1986, and I'm actually amazed at how well it's stood the test of time.

Review continus )

For people who aren't interested in the history, Neo-Paganism as a cultural phenomenon, demographics, and thealogy, here are two fun facts I gleaned from this book:

  1. Tim/Otter/Oberon/Whatever-he-is-this-week Zell -- a leader in that most hippie of Neo-Pagan groups, the Church of All Worlds -- holds the patent on unicorn creation in the US. It's patent number 4,429,685. It's described in detail here. To anyone who says unicorns start with horses, not goats, Zell points out that in the earliest legends, unicorns were goat-like.

  2. Slepnir was the "newsletter of the Asatru Folk Assembly's Aerospace Technology Guild" and it explored "space sciences, rocketry, and aviation from the perspective of Germanic spirituality." I looked them up. Somehow they managed to publish at least twelve issues.
So there you have it. No word yet on whether the Asatruar have surface-to-air anti-unicorn missiles, but I'm certain it's only a matter of time.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd stop in to wish a happy Ostara to all who celebrate it, and a happy first day of Spring to those who don't.

March came in like a lion, then became a lamb, but that lamb now has distinctly leonine parts. I think I glimpsed a mane this morning, and I'm pretty sure those are claws.

If it further mutates to incorporate goat parts and dragon parts, someone's going to have to call up Bellerophon.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I finished Apuleius's The Golden Ass just now on my lunch break at work -- now increasingly translated as Metamorphosis perhaps to avoid the misconception that it's ancient Roman porn. Of course, with Metamorphosis for a title, it could easily be confused with Franz Kafka, or with Ovid (who actually was writing ancient Roman porn).

So it's an 1800-year-plus-old book about a man who decides it'd be a great idea to dabble in witchcraft and accidentally turns himself into a donkey. Like most pre-modern novels, it's more a serial set of adventures -- like a D&D game -- than a single novel. In the end of it, he's saved by the Goddess, in her guise as Isis.

Some thoughts:

Review continues )

I've now moved on to Margaret Atwood's Payback, her lectures about debt as a cultural and religious and moral phenomenon (as opposed to a purely economic one).
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd stop in to wish everyone a Happy Imbolc who celebrates it :)
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I finally finished The Dark is Rising series, one of those Harry Potter precursors that have been returning to the limelight in the reflected glory of its famous progeny.

(I read one book of it when I was a kid, and enjoyed that. My sister and [livejournal.com profile] infinitecomplex got me the whole series for my birthday.)

It's a good series overall, and generally got better. The first entry is a bit lacklustre, but her writing improves throughout.

Review continues )

Right now, I'm reading a book called Reinventing the Sacred, which is one biologist's attempt to refute reductionism and recuperate concepts like free will in scientific terms. It's rather disappointing so far, I'm afraid.

However, it is impossible to hate a book that includes the sentence, "I will try to show that a tiger is both epistemologically and ontologically emergent with respect to physics."
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Happy Festival-of-Helios-meets-Saturnalia-meets-Germanic-Solstice-meets-observed-birthday-of-first-century-rabbi-Yoshua-bar-Yoseph. Hope the household nisse brought everyone lots of gifts.

The flooding is over, the pipes are fixed, and after we lost power in half the house yesterday, we have electricity back. My father says the next evil to visit us will be famine, but we have a fridge and cupboards full of food right now, and I think he's just thinking of the Four Horseman. We all got a cold/flu thing, so there's Pestilence.

My sister just called, and she and [livejournal.com profile] infinitecomplex won't be able to make it over for Christmas Day itself, but they're hoping for Boxing Day. Vancouver sounds like Caina right now, so I'm rethinking my trip out that way.

Still, it's been a nice, relaxing day. I haven't slacked off on my editing, and I should half done my own edit by the time I go home.

There's been so much chaos this year, though, it hasn't felt much like a vacation, and I think I'll need some time off when I get home to recover from this holiday.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd wish everyone a Happy Yule!

I had a small rit for myself here before anyone was awake. It's difficult arranging something like that without tools. Even some decent candleholders would've helped.

BC is trapped under a rare blizzard -- we actually got several feet of snow here last night, and the temperature has been hovering at -10 all week. Of course, BC sold off all of its snow-removal equipment more than a decade ago, so all the snow on the sidewalks has compacted to ice sheets and people are being advised not to travel except in emergencies.

For that reason, I've been keeping mostly to my parents' Tudor-style home in Saanich. I do hope to see Sean today, but the roads between here and there might be impassible.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I just thought I'd pop in to wish everyone a Happy Samhain to those who celebrate it, and a Happy Halloween to those who don't.

My Samhain is going to be crazy. I'm glad I arranged to take the day off. Before anything else, I have to finish up my story for the CBC Literary awards, which has to be postmarked no later than today.

I bought some very nice paper, and a very nice envelope. Those things help, as I learnt from my days marking papers. But then naturally my roommate's print cartridge is out of toner.

After that, there's preparation from trick-or-treaters -- anyone dressed as Sarah Palin gets double candy -- then ordinary daily life tasks, a get-together tonight at an indeterminate time. And somewhere at night tonight, I need to have the rit I've been planning for ages. I'll probably only sleep for a couple of hours, and do the rit in the early morning.

So it's going to be a very stressful Samhain.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just thought I'd pop in to wish a Happy Mabon to those who celebrate it, and a Happy Fall Equinox to those who don't.

I've been scarce lately, and I hope no one feels neglected. After work this last week or so, I've mostly been working on the campaign, though not nearly as much as the heroic [livejournal.com profile] montrealais.

I've also somehow got to almost the one-fifth mark in phase four of my edit. I think there's going to be a phase five now, but that's okay because none of my editors will have time to read it before November anyway.


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