Monday, 24 March 2008

Acquiring Knowledge

Often people choosing a pagan path want the information here and now.

For some, knowledge can be acquired via osmosis. Sometimes, just being in a situation with a particular person or group brings enlightenment without any conscious effort of thought or understanding. This occurs but rarely though. Often is it preceded by years of research, experiment and discussion with fellow followers of a particular tradition.

Information cannot be instantly downloaded into the brain, like Neo in The Matrix, and thus a certain amount of dedication and study has to be undertaken, concurrent with undertaking practical work and gaining experience, whether this be ritual or magical.

For my own part, progess has been rather slow on account of my liking short-cuts and an inherent laziness which I find hard to shift. I have never wanted anything handed to me on a plate though. I have always known that to progress on my chosen spiritual path, I have to put in some work.

Up til now, I have spent time on various fora in discussion with folk on similar, and disimilar paths to my own discussing our experiences and the books/texts we have read. Over the years, I have encountered several website and members of said websites and many have fallen away. What is left is a few sites, most having members from various traditions, including the one I am currently studying. I have benefited from the experience of those on other paths and I have a great respect for certain individuals. So, it is unnerving to find myself in the position whereby I feel I may no longer give my time to those fora, or individuals if I am to learn more about the tradition with which I identify.

Its a hard decision because it will mean losing touch with people who have helped me along the way. Its as though I feel I owe them something, but the truth is I don't. So, why am I agonising over this decision? I have the chance to learn and grow, which will require an inordinate amount of work, and dedication on my part. If I am to do this, then some things and people will get left behind. A sacrifice if you will.

In the space of two months I have learned, understood and gained more experience than in all my previous years of religious instruction. What I have ingested has been far more relevant to my life and my chosen path than ever before and, though it is time consuming, I am happy putting in the effort. In the process, I have spent less time in other pagan pursuits - in preparation of letting them go. This almost makes sense. After all, isn't Spring the time for clearing out the old to make way for the new?

I am just loathe to let good things go, but in the pursuit of knowledge, something must fall by the wayside. Everything has price, including the acquisition of knowledge.

I just wish the ogham was easier to comprehend.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Vernal Equinox

Its the vernal equinox this weekend, but I will not be doing anything special. Aside from the fact I don't have a day off until March 29th, the equinoxes have never appealed to me as something to be honoured. Yes, I do a personal ritual for the solstices, in addition to the four fire festivals, the rituals I undertake at these times being more aligned with ancestral worship than seasonal change or deity lore.

I never did understand why the equinoxes were honoured by some neo-pagans. I don't notice a change in natural energies at this time and, after the howlers last week, it seems to me there has been a bit of dampening to the usual spring madness. I know its not just me feeling this way, because a friend of mine also mentioned the storms swallowing the energy, rather than adding to it.

This year the equinox is the same weekend as easter and the extra time off seems to have given some people the impetus to actually take time out to celebrate. I am not sure if people are going to miss having not having an extra festival (i.e. Easter) after their Ostara celebrations. I will watch and see.

Perhaps someone will be kind enough to leave a comment on this blog as to why the vernal equinox is so important to neo-pagans. I've never really bothered to do any research on it as it just didn't align with my gnosis.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Cliff Dreamers Update

You may remember I did a review of Cliff Dreamers, in which I bemoaned the lack of good editing? If not, you can read it here. Well, it just so happens that Jacqui Wood has found a professional editor who is going over who two books, ready for republishing. In the meantime, the podcasts and the originals, which were available through LuLu, have been withdrawn until such time as the new versions of Cliff Dreamers and Journey Through the Inland Sea are available.

I think this is great news, because I believe that once the editing is complete a publisher will probably acquire the books. With such interest in history in the mass media at the moment - look at recent film releases (10,000 BC) and history programmes on television - there should be a market for these books in the general populace. I hope so, because I believe Jacqui deserves to be better known as an author.

Jacqui has also featured in the news recently as an article was written in
The Times -
Mysterious pits shed light on forgotten witches of the West" - about discoveries at the Saveock Water archaeological dig. If anyone wants to read more, please visit Jacqui's website, Saveock Water Archaeology. Jacqui also says "people with no experience can come to my field school for a dig holiday and get a chance to see the pits first hand. I get a lot of people from Australia, America and Canada already." So, why not go along and see for yourself?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Celtic Myth Podshow

Celtic Myth Pod Show

I was searching randomly through google groups tonight, having checked my messages from the Northern Earth group and feeling like a bit of wander. It was on a druid list that I found an advertisement for the Celtic Myth Podshow - "bringing tales of the tales and stories of the ancient celts to your fireside".

In their introductory podshow, the hosts explain they are reading various tales and stories from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Britanny, and they are quick to make apologies for any mispronunciations of names, characters and places, admitting they are not native speakers of any of the languages. They do ask that anyone who has suggestions about pronunciation may leave messages on their forums, or by sending a .mp3 sound file.

The shows are hosted by Gary and Ruth, and I have to admit I find their voices quite soothing and this lends atmosphere when they are telling the tales. I have yet to read most of the stories they relate for myself; but I am enjoying what has been produced by this couple from Southern England so far.

Each episode is just over 20 minutes long, and the tales are told so that they can be enjoyed fireside, with music and sound effects to add to the atmosphere and notes are published for each episode, allowing the listener to keep track of goings on. The site is marked "child friendly" so they could be listened to by the whole family. Personally, I think they would be ideal to upload onto an iPod to by a camp fire.

I have to say, I was disappointed to find only two full episodes, though I the site is very new and I imagine it takes quite a bit of work to make each episode. I am looking forward to more appearing soon.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Odd and the Frost Giants

Author: Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 9780747595380

I found this book at Tescos being sold for £1. I was intrigued, given I liked the storyline of "Stardust", the movie, and I knew Mr Gaiman had a hand in that. As it turns out, this book had been printed for World Book Day 2008. What a shame, I didn't have my token with me.

I got home and, whilst waiting for a particular television programme to appear, I read it. It only took 45 minutes, but it was a pleasurable 45 minutes. The book is aimed at children, I'm sure, but I still enjoyed it.

The story centres around Odd, a viking boy living with his Scottish mother and Fat Elfred, his rather short-tempered stepfather. Odd is a fitting name for this boy, as most think him strange and his story, as told in the book is wyrd, too.

Do read this to your children as a bedtime story; it will give them insight into how a boy can defeat those bigger and stronger than himself. Its also a nice little introduction to the gods of the Norse myths.