Welcome to Folklore & Fiction, the Internet home of scholar and author Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran | C.S. MacCath. I'm a PhD student of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the author of two collections of short fiction and poetry. Folklore & Fiction replaces the old C.S. MacCath website but contains all of the original content thanks to the phenomenal web development skills of my beloved husband and business partner, Sean, who built and themed what you see here.
Some things to know:
First and foremost, the Folklore & Fiction newsletter will launch tomorrow with "An Introduction to Folklore Genres." The focus of this newsletter is folkloric scholarship for writers, and it will be published on the first Folklore Thursday (#FolkloreThursday) of the month except in June and December, when I'll send subscribers an update on my publishing activities. These updates will go out on the summer and winter solstices.
Editor Rhonda Parrish has announced the title of the next instalment of the ALPHABET ANTHOLOGIES series, which will be F IS FOR FAIRY. I've known about this for some months and have already started work on my own contribution, which will be set in the north of Iceland in the year 1625. Here's the link to Rhonda's announcement.
This semester I opted to complete a pedagogical project for my Music 7007: Race Gender and Class course in lieu of writing a traditional term paper. This project required me to prepare a graduate-level lecture and teach it to a group of classical musicians. I'll teach that class on Tuesday, and it will be my first time teaching Master's-level students, which is exciting for me. My topic will be the Norwegian metal scene in the 199os, how it shaped European metal thereafter, and the ways Northern European symbols like Thor's Hammer and the Elder Futhark have been used in metal music.
I will bloom in the autumn,
When the sun is fat and golden,
And the night is not quite cool.
My petals will uncurl
On a too-warm evening
Still clinging to daylight.
My perfume will be heady;
Crushed juniper needles,
Home-bottled rose hip syrup,
Wind over canyon stone,
And that blossom, full and redolent,
May yet become fruit.
Watch for a late harvest, easy to gather
From a hardy, thornless vine
On the last cold days before the frost.
- C.S. MacCath
This semester, I'll be writing a paper on performance theory, activism, and scholarship using the work of a few well-known activist scholars but primarily that of Dwight Conquergood. My research question, while not fully formed yet, will have something to do with positioning the self in scholarship when the topic is familiar, or even dear to the researcher. I'm presently in this position and will continue to be so throughout the remainder of my PhD research and writing, since I'll be studying the beliefs and performances of animal rights activists in Canada.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the idea of subject positioning, Bronwyn Davies and Rom Harre define it as:
I undertook a bit of primary research last semester on the topic of unverified personal gnosis among Heathen women. The results of that research became the underpinning of a PhD term paper I've uploaded to my Academia.edu account. Here's the abstract:
Contemporary Northern European-inspired Neo-Paganism (also called Heathenry) is a vernacular religion practiced by individuals and small groups which thrives, in part, on gnostic experiences mediated by the individuals who have them. This gnosticism, sometimes labeled "unverified personal gnosis," is a nuanced supernatural transmission of knowledge rooted in a substratum of supernatural beliefs and practices which are part of Heathen religion for many adherents.
During Yuletide, I made a set of runes using birch wood I brought back from Iceland in April of last year. Because I'm a folklorist, I thought it might be interesting to document the process in pictures and share them with you. The tools and the burning/soldering kit (not shown) were gifts from my husband (I've needed proper electric tools for a while now), the cutting board oil is made of coconut oil and essential oils that smell faintly of lemongrass, and the velvet comes from my grandmother's quilting stash, which I inherited in the late nineties before she passed away.
I usually allow a set of runes to germinate for at least four seasons; two to cure the wood, one to make the runes, and one to let them rest before blessing them. I prefer to make runes at Yuletide, and I'll bless this set on May 1st when I return from Newfoundland. Meanwhile, it sits on the altar in my studio at home in Nova Scotia, sleeping as the snow falls outside.
There’s a reason I use the word “fuck.” I was raised without the word and several others like it by conservative, religious parents and a grandmother who said “h-e-double-hockey-sticks” when she meant “hell.” But as an adult who valued the full richness of not just my own mother tongue but that of all languages, I came to resent limitations placed on my use of certain words for the sake of other people’s (real or feigned) linguistic fragility (I don’t worship your god, and mine don’t care which words I use).
To some extent, that fire has mellowed, though I do still actively defend my right and that of others to use the entirety of whatever language we’re speaking. I also believe minority language preservation and propagation is crucial to understanding the full range of human expression, past and present. That’s at least part of the reason for my interest in Gàidhlig and Gaeilge.