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Never, never, never...

...give up.

The latest Clarksworld Magazine editorial is an encouraging one for self-published writers. In it, Neil Clarke details some of the frustration the magazine faced at its inception; authors who wouldn't submit to online magazines, reviewers who refused to consider the magazine's stories, etc. He likens this early reception to the frustration independent authors presently face as they strive for respect in the marketplace and writes:

Pagan and Pagan-'ism'

I've been thinking a great deal about what Paganism means to me and more directly about the relevance of the term 'Pagan' as a descriptor of my spiritual life. Paganism is a broad umbrella that shades a variety of budding faith paths, from Wicca to Aztec Reconstructionism (a blossom I find deeply troubling, given my recent research into Aztec religious practices).

Gosling House-guest

I picked up an orphaned gosling in Margaree Forks today on behalf of Hope for Wildlife, and s/he is staying the night with us!

Here are some interesting gosling facts:

- Goslings can't regulate their own body temperature, so they need help staying warm. Hot water bottles or heating pads (on a low setting) wrapped in a towel are great for this. Make sure the gosling has a place to go if the heat becomes too warm! I like keeping a towel and heating pad in half of the gosling's space and a towel without a heating pad in the other half.

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Patricia Crosby, Renee' Booker and Kurt Bembridge, winners of The Ruin of Beltany Ring Goodreads giveaway! Your books will go out in tomorrow morning's mail from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Many thanks to everyone who entered!

Book Day Recap

The Kindle promotion went really well! 161 people downloaded The Ruin of Beltany Ring on Beltane (Get it? Beltany Ring? Beltane?), and nearly a hundred have entered the Goodreads giveaway so far. Not bad for a wee chapbook out there in the world!

Kind Words from Geek Inked Magazine for "From Our Minds to Yours"

It's great when a story you've written years ago finds new friends. So is the case with "From Our Minds to Yours", which appeared in The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales.

Dichotomies

So, I was in Cape Breton yesterday doing pre-close house things and had two experiences I wanted to share.

The Post Office in Baddeck

I was in line behind this guy with a huge, oddly-shaped package he was insuring for thousands of dollars. He offered me the opportunity to cut in front of him if my business was brief, and when I politely declined, I asked him what was in the package.

He answered, "A wolverine and a grizzly bear."

Activism Updates: Blood Rites - The Case Against Animal Sacrifice

Modern Paganism has more than a few bloody roots. The early Celts practiced both animal sacrifice and human ritual killing1 and might well have engaged in ritual cannibalism under extreme circumstances, as historical and archaeological evidence attests.2 3 Elaborate human sacrifices were performed at the temple in Uppsala and elsewhere in Northern Europe as late as the 10th century AD, and there are well-documented accounts of animal sacrifice as well.4 5 The early Greeks may have engaged in human sacrifice or human ritual killing and certainly engaged in animal sacrifice.6 These are only a few among many examples, as students of pre-Christian religion well know, and they collectively represent a disquieting piece of theological history. However, while most Pagans will agree that cannibalism, human ritual killing and human sacrifice are better abandoned to history, the practice of animal sacrifice has been reconstructed by a few sects of the Pagan community.

  • 1. Kyle, Donald G. Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome. (London: Routledge, 1998) 36-37. Kyle offers a particularly insightful definition of the differences between human sacrifice and human ritual killing. In brief, human sacrifice was a regular custom thought to be demanded by the Gods, while human ritual killing was usually reactionary and performed to restore order in a chaotic situation.
  • 2. Mallory, J. P., and Douglas Q. Adams. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. (London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997) 278. This account specifically discusses the well-attested practice of mare sacrifice upon the inauguration of a king of Ulster, first recorded by Geraldus Cambrensis, in the context of other Indo-European horse sacrifices. The mare was seen as a representation of the goddess or of the land itself, which was viewed as a goddess by Irish Celts until well after the Middle Ages.
  • 3. "Druids Committed Human Sacrifice, Cannibalism?" National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. 20 Jul. 2009. This is a companion article to the National Geographic documentary Secrets of the Druids, which dramatizes the findings discussed in it.
  • 4. Saxo Grammaticus, Hilda Ellis Davidson, and Peter Fisher. The History of the Danes: Books I - IX. (Woodbridge [u.a.]: D. S. Brewer, 2002) 73. A brief mention of human sacrifice at Uppsala, noted here to corroborate Dowden's assertions in European Paganism.
  • 5. Dowden, Ken. European Paganism. (London: Routledge, 1999) 286-287. The author ranges widely in the preceding and following pages across cultures, discussing both human and animal sacrifice in early Pagan religion.
  • 6. Hughes, Dennis D. Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece. (London: Routledge, 1991) 71-138. Hughes actually argues that most, if not all of the historical accounts of human sacrifice he discusses are mythical, even those represented as factual by early authors. However, he grants that evidence to the contrary has merit, and the sheer number of documented instances of human sacrifice or human ritual killing indicate the early Greeks at least believed their ancestors took part in the practice. Therefore, this article leaves the question open but points the reader to this excellent, if apologetic resource on the topic.

The Fiddler’s Reel - Ruidhle an Fhidhleir Available Soon on DVD

Some of you might remember that I was a sound extra for a Gaelic short film in 2011. That film is The Fiddler’s Reel - Ruidhle an Fhidhleir, and it's finally coming to DVD! You can pre-order it now from Sìol Cultural Enterprises, and it's listed on the front page of Sìol's web site.

This Is Not the MFA You’re Looking For

A couple of weeks ago, I began to seriously consider an MFA at Goddard College. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the school, Goddard is a small college in Plainfield, Vermont with a reputation for being on the bleeding edge of liberal study. Just my style. =) The MFA offered there is a distance program with required on-site instruction one week each semester and welcomes writers from all corners of the industry; from poets and screenwriters to hardcore genre writers like myself.

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Random Quote

A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just a bigger father with a bigger fist. If an omniscient, all-powerful Dad ignores your prayers, it's taken personally. Hear only silence long enough, and you start wondering about his power. His fairness. His very existence. But if a world mother doesn't reply, Her excuse is simple. She never claimed conceited omnipotence. She has countless others clinging to her apron strings, including myriad species unable to speak for themselves. To Her elder offspring She says - go raid the fridge. Go play outside. Go get a job.