Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Single, pagan and resident in the UK?

If so, and you are a member of Facebook, a new group where you can mingle has just been started, a break-away from a rather successful, and fun international group for single pagans.   If it follows in its international parent's footsteps, UK Pagan Dating will be a sociable group rather than just a hook-up and/or dating site, i.e. there is not a lot of pressure to find "the one", but to mingle and get to know other singles, perhaps even meet up at various events.

The UK Pagan Dating group is not linked, or affiliated in any way to any dating sites, and there is no fee, or payment to be made.  Just turn up, have fun, and play nice.

So, if you are, or know someone who is single (or even in a relationship but perhaps poly-amorous), and a member of Facebook, and living in the United Kingdom, though I imagine anyone in the Republic of Ireland would also be very welcome, consider the UK Pagan Dating

The more the merrier!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Quote on Manannán mac Lir

Greatest of all the water spirits, the sea god, Manannan mac Lir, has occasionally appeared, usually on some errand of mercy on the coast of Co. Mayo and he, or his son (or double), Oirbsen, of Loch Oirbsen (Loch Corrib), on the coast of Galway Bay. He has sometimes come to warn of the approach of a storm.

No doubt the pagan ancestors of the shore dwellers, worshipped him of old; and his reverence lingered when his. godhead was forgotten. The people live by the gifts of the sea, its fish, timber and seaweed, so naturally the gracious side of the-god was most felt, but there are also suggestions that his fierce cruelty was once felt. Anything that falls into the sea should not be retrieved : a hat blows off and Aran boatmen have refused to go after it.

A curious ceremony where young men naked on horseback are driven into Galway Bay and for some time kept from coming to land is very suggestive of a symbolic sacrifice. I am told that this has been in use near Spiddal, to. the west of Galway, in very recent years. Some fifty years ago I heard from Lord Kilannin that his father and others had to go to the rescue of some shipwrecked men whom the peasantry would neither help nor permit to land.

His relatives were eagerly warned of the disasters to which they might be liable for saving anyone from the sea.  

~ Journal of Folklore (via echtrai).

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Quote on Irish Fairy Lore

"If an oat-cake be baked and left for the next day it should have a piece broken out of it, and should not remain whole, because if the fairies came in the night and saw a whole cake they would surely take it, but they would not touch a broken one, or take your leavings."

"This has now come to be applied to all cakes. Many of the old people used to leave potatoes ready cooked and pieces of bread for them of a night. In the morning these were given to the fowls and never eaten by the people of the house, because since it is, as it were, the spiritual part of the food that is taken, it would not be known whether the fairies had touched it."

"If milk be spilt no annoyance should be expressed, but you should say: "There’s a dry heart waiting for it," since the Good People may have been Awanting it, and caused it to be spilt."

"Should one come out of a house at night whilst eating, a portion should be thrown on the ground for the fairies"

Folklore Journal, notes on Irish fairy lore. (via charlottesarahrichards)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Feeling Foolish

For two weeks' now we have been talking about being "ready" in Gàidhlig class.  It wasn't until Thursday evening I realised it was also the word for sunwise, oft-used in pagan circles, deiseil.

I can only suppose that when people constantly mispronounce something, and you get used to hearing it mispronounced, that when you encounter it in its language of origin (albeit with a slightly different meaning), you may not recognise it right away.   The fact its often spelt differently in pagan circles didn't help either.  I just felt so foolish when I finally made the connection.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Pictish Stone Puzzle

Gamers and interested parties are being asked by Scotland’s national museum to utilise their technical skills to piece together over 3,000 fragments depicting the Cross on a Pictish slab.

The the first of its kind in the archaeological world, project sees participants using a 3D programme developed by a Scottish technology firm to try to solve the mystery of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone.  Experts believe people who play computer games are more adept at manipulating objects on screen.

The stone, which stood on a chapel site in Tain in Easter Ross was carved around 800AD, after the Picts converted to Christianity, in order to celebrate their new religion.  Over time the stone endured a number of accidents, until it was knocked over and broken, and the bottom portion was lost.   It is also believed to have been vandalised more than once during the time of the Reformation in the 16th century.

Excavations of the chapel site uncovered the upright base in the ground and more than 3,000 scattered fragments of the face of a cross. 

The hope is that gamers, and interested parties will be able to piece together the jigsaw to give experts a chance to interpret and decipher the stone’s elaborate symbols and carvings.

Maxwell said: “We need techy-savvy people who have the mindset and understanding of how to work with 3D objects which are a form of virtual reality in space. It’s that puzzle-solving mind we need.

She said there had been one previous attempt to piece all the fragments together but that it soon became obvious that such a task needed manpower and specialist skills – now possible due to new computer technology.

You can read more of the article at The Scotsman, and take part in solving the puzzle.

If you want to participate in finding the solution, you can do so at the Pictish Puzzle website.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Why the long silences?

Sorry folks, but a lot of my time these days is taken up either studying Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic), catching up on long overdue reading on topics of interest to my faith, or dealing with normal life issues.

I may get back to writing a few reviews, or updating here from time to time during vacation times, but it will be quiet for a while longer, I'm sure.  I'm reluctant, however, to let the page go and prefer to wait to see how things develop.

Be well.

Friday, 27 September 2013

BookLikes, Goodreads, and Social Network Censorship

I have decided to remove the Goodreads widget from the right hand column of this blog, because I am going to delete my Goodreads account, and move all my books, reviews, and data to BookLikes, a rival book/networking site.

The move will mean a lot of extra work, adding covers, adding data on self-published books and books not found on conventional book seller sites, etc., but it will be worth it to be able to freely express my opinions of books to friends, and shelve/tag my books as I see fit without interference (read: censorship) from the website owners.  I have been a member of Goodreads for many years, with over 900 books listed, (virtually) met lots of fellow pagan readers, and was a librarian: editing covers; inserting book summaries; inviting fellow authors I admired to join groups and enter into discussions about their work; and adding books from obscure publishers, many of which were pagan and/or occult related, to the ever-expanding database.  I am not the only librarian to leave under protest and, this appears to have resulted in a slower response time to requests from members of Goodreads to make amendments to books, as many super-librarians - those who have made thousands of edits or more to the Goodreads database - depart.

Normally, I detach myself from spats between authors, readers, fans, and member but when Goodreads decided to edit its policy on reviews and how their membership named bookshelves without informing their membership of the same, and then began deleting personalised shelves without rhyme, reason or informing infringing members first (to provide them with time to amend or save the content), I felt it was time I moved on – being a believer in self-censorship, but little beyond that. 

I was taken aback when I learned one member’s shelf, innocuously titled "Tain", relating to Táin Bó Cúailnge was deleted without warning.  Perhaps Goodreads staff felt they were able to read the mind of the member, and came to the conclusion that the name "Tain" was a comment on the behaviour of the authors – as this is the only reason for deleting shelves according to the scant comments from Goodreads staff on the unannounced policy change?[1]  Where is the logic in deleting a shelf entitled “bad authors” but leaving another shelf, belonging to the very same member account, called “cool authors”?  

It all seems hypocritical: instigating a policy supposedly to end the targeting of authors, only to bully their own members by saying that staff know what a member is really thinking when naming a shelf “authors I want to avoid”, i.e. it’s a comment on the author’s behaviour.[2] 

Oddly, the policy change, censoring of book shelf titles, ensuing furore, and mass exodus of members occurred during Banned Book Week.

For now, it seems BookLikes are keen to hear the suggestions of their new members, and have promised to provide lots of new goodies including a private messaging system, and groups function for socialising, and will be developing apps for those of us who read on the go, but like to update our progress.

I’m pretty hopeful my celtic myth shelves will be at BookLikes for a long time to come.

[1] Like Goodreads staff, I am also a mind reader ... actually, I’m not but I’m speculating based on the many reports I’ve read from other members.
[2] It would never refer to the poor writing style, unsavoury content of the author’s books, etc.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Repost

I kind of felt the need to reblog one of my own posts from 2011:  "9th Century Irish Myth and the Internet".   It came to mind after witness several (non-)discussions on internet groups.


I read this and thought it needed reblogging, because it is an inspired connection between the Irish myth and the internet of today.

From Mo Thearmann:

This always comes to mind when I see people acting like idiots online. It's from Tecosca Cormaic (The Instructions of King Cormac).

"O Cormac, grandson of Conn", said Carbery, "What is the worst pleading and arguing?"

"Not hard to tell", said Cormac.
"Contending against knowledge,
contending without proofs
taking refuge in bad language
a stiff delivery,
a muttering speech
uncertain proofs,
despising books
turning against custom
shifting one's pleading
inciting the mob
blowing one's own trumpet
shouting at the top of one's voice.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Kilmartin Captured

Kilmartin Glen is an area situated at about 25 miles south of Oban in Argyll, surrounding the village of Kilmartin and contains one of Scotland’s most significant concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze remains.