Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Pagan Values Survey

Mika is a PhD student from Finland, researching aspects of Paganism who needs pagans from the UK, Ireland or Finland to fill out his survey.

"About my current research.

I have been handing out paper surveys in London, Avebury, Dublin, and in a number of locations in Finland. That didn't seem to work well (pen and paper survey, wasn't that popular in the 80's?), so I have now started a web survey. I have been sending the link to the pagans I know and they have forwarded it to their friends. A bit of snowballing. .. I'm trying to get as many participants as possible by the end of April.

According to a Darby Uni. study there are about 43.000 Pagans in the UK. If I get 1% of that I'd be thrilled.

So, if you, or anybody else would like to help me with this, here is the link: Pagan Survey.

Feel free to forward it. The only requirements for participants are that they live in either UK, Ireland, or Finland, consider themselves to be Pagans, and are at least 18 years old."

Cliff Dreamers

Cliffdreamers


Author: Jacqui Wood

This is a self-published book, available from Lulu by Jacqui Wood. I believe this is Jacqui's first fiction offering, having already written "Prehistoric Cooking". Jacqui Wood is an archaeologist, so it is not surprising to find the book set in a historical Europe.

I do have a few quibbles with the self-publishing aspect of this book, which I will get out of the way first. It is quite obvious that there was a lack of general editing as spelling errors can be found on nearly every other page; grammar is appalling and the tense can change several times within the same paragraph; and the narration also jumps from first to third and, most alarmingly in one paragraph to second, where the reader is addressed by the main character. I would dearly love to see a publishing hosue pick up this book just to sort out these technical quibbles. So, that's the critical part of this review over.

I had a wonderful time with this book. Not only was I drawn in by the turbulent life of its main character, Mia, but I learned quite a bit about Europe 6,000 years ago as the author effortlessly wove her knowledge of the period into the book. The story centres around an eleven year old girl, Mia, who lives on an island between Scanland (Norway) and Britland (Britain) which is fast disappearing into the sea.

Cliff Dreamers starts with Mia being chosen by the island's Shaman to be his priestess, an honour for most girls on Dogga Island, but not for Mia, who views this role as nothing more than slavery. Mia sits on her sand cliffs and wistfully watches the traders come in the their log boats and wishes she could travel far and wide with them. This soon becomes a reality when a fellow islander, Borg, discovers the Shaman's plans for Mia, who is not yet "of age".

Cliff Dreamers takes us along with Mia on her first ventures away from Dogger Island, and the various tribes she encounters with Kemit (the captain of the log boat in which she escapes), his crew and Borg. As the book progresses, we go back and forth from Mia's life on Dogger Island to her life at sea, trying to escape those who pursue her for her unusual magical powers.

The author is gifted when it comes to describing the various tribal settlements of neolithic times and I couldn't help but be drawn into Mia's world. I will be purchasing the sequel, Journey Through the Inland Sea, as soon as my finances allow. I will also be hoping that a publisher will pick up these books. I suspect the books will have a broad appeal because of the folding of history, archaeology, fantasy, magic and a thriller into one book makes them unique reading.

Rating: 4/5 (downgraded because of editing problems)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Compositions of Stone



CD by Mike Simmons
Available from
Megalithic Portal, where you can sample two of the tracks.

Track titles:

1. Carnac - The Alignments
2. The Ring of Brodgar
3. Rollright Stones
4. Merry Maidens
5. Long Meg and her Daughters
6. Castlerigg
7. Avebury
8. Stonehenge

****************************************************

I bought this CD after someone listed it as an "unusual Jule gift idea". I have had a difficult time of late finding new ambient music for background to my meditations. So, when this was listed (twice), I went and listened to the samples and then purchased it.

I only wish I could listen to it the whole way through. It is a wonderful CD, but everytime I listen to it I drift off to sleep. Now, this is a good and a bad thing. As someone who occasionally has difficulty going to sleep, I am grateful to have found a cure, but I am also sad that I cannot actually get the whole way through this CD, as the music is rather enchanting.

I can recommend this CD, even though I have not heard all of it. It is pleasant, unobtrusive and a little different from most CDs in its category. Listen to the samples, buy it and see if you don't feel the same way.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

The Nature of Gods

This was posted to polytheist list by Toby Lamb. In my opinion, it is brilliant and deserves a wider audience, so I am posting it here.
My newly devised Arse Doctrine of polytheism:Most gods are a pain in the arse. Some of them are quite nice as well as being a pain in the arse. If they appear to be just nice, look out for the massive pain in the arse that's on the way when you least expect it. The ones that are just a pain in the arse are best avoided, though they will probably get to you sooner or later."
Different gods like to cause different pain in different people's arses. Talk to the ones that cause the least pain in yours. The ones that cause the most pain in your particular arse won't let you not talk to them, so just get on with it and quit moaning.

So it is written.

Friday, 4 January 2008

The Art and Practice of Creative Visualization


The Art and Practice of Creative Visualization

Author: Ophiel
ISBN-10: 1578630010
ISBN-13: 978-1578630011

This book is a great introduction to the techniques of creative visualization. It is set out in a workbook format, though the majority of the practical exercises are given in the last chapters. The author does repeat himself, though he does give a valid reason for so doing.

I would recommend starting the exercises in the earlier chapter as soon as you read it. If you have an aversion to ceremonial magic, you may find the exercises a little annoying, but, for the purposes of progressing, work through the practice visualizations as given. This is only a starting point and the author gives symbols which are quite easy to start with, regardless of their purpose.

I can highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to undertake basic work in the occult arts. The author helps to de-mystify what is an awkward, esoteric subject to teach.