The persecution of children and others labeled as "witches" continues. At Yule, as we turn towards the light, it would be wonderful for Pagans all over the world to work magic to protect these children.
Media-Newswire.com) - One of the stories published as part of a unique collaboration between scientists and authors has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Sara Maitland’s the Moss Witch, written with the help of evolutionary ecologist Dr Jennifer Rowntree from The University of Manchester, describes a haunting encounter between a botanist and a witch in a patch of ancient Scottish woodland.
The witch displays the characteristics of a bryophyte - a non flowering plant such as a moss.
It will be read by Hannah Gordon on BBC Radio Four today ( Wednesday ) at 3.30pm - and the overall winner will be announced on R4’s culture show Front Row next Monday.
The Moss Witch was written for the anthology ‘When it Changed’, published by Comma Press and the brain child of University of Manchester lecturer and science fiction novelist Geoff Ryman.
Ryman paired off literary colleagues with scientists - mostly from The University of Manchester - to produce the book.
The BBC competition, in its fourth year, celebrates the best of the contemporary British short story.
Sara Maitland, who has been writing fiction and non fiction since the 1970s, lives and works from her home in South West Scotland.
She said: “The story, at a basic level, reflects the tension between the need to protect the environment and the sacrifices we are asked to ensure that happens.
“One illustration of this is the plan to site a wind farm on the moor where I live in South West Scotland.
“The wind farm will be the end of the moor as I know it.
“I chose moss because I find it very beautiful and very strange and there’s lots of it where I live.
“I released how profoundly meditative moss can be when I researched my recent book, ‘A book of Silence' ( Granta, 2008 ).
“I also love ancient woodland - a subject I’m looking at in my new book.”
She added: “Before I spoke to Jenny at Manchester University I didn’t really have a story - so I’d like to pay tribute to her. She understood what I was trying to do and helped enormously.
“I’m delighted to be selected for this shortlist – it’s a vindication of ‘When it Changed’ - which is the most exciting thing I’ve been involved in for 10 years.”
Dr Rowntree, who is based at The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences said: “I spoke regularly with Sara about bryophytes and particularly mosses and suggested ways she could find out more about them.
“I think she reflected entirely what we talked about, and has created an interesting and haunting tale.
It is odd how any time an animal is mutilated, some moron announces that it must be the Pagans.
IT IS the bizarre act that has left horse lovers and police across Hampshire mystified.
What appears to be a ritualistic chopping of horses tails has sparked both concern and confusion among the county’s equine community.
Police have put horse owners on alert and appealed for any information that can explain why the tails of two animals were cut off while they grazed in a field. . . . One theory being looked into by officers is that it is part of a strange ritual by pagans in the lead up to the Winter Solstice later this month.
Yes, because isn't that how we all prepare for Solstice? Meditate, look forward to the return of the light, prepare mulled wine and baked goods, cut off horses tails?
At least the report includes a Pagan point of view:
Meanwhile, Catherine Hosen, spokeswoman for the Pagan Federation of Wessex, said: “It’s certainly not any ritual that I’m aware of. Any day in the year you could say it’s close to some pagan ritual because the calendar is pretty full of them.
“Pagans have a strong respect for anything to do with nature. They would ask permission before removing a branch from a tree, let alone do anything to a horse.”
Since the only other theory is apparently rocking-horse restorers -- a group almost as outlandish and dangerous as modern Pagans -- I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an arrest. Meanwhile, I will light some incense to Epona and ask her to protect the horses.
More here, although you do get some annoying audio when you click on the link.
Full Moon ritual at my house tonight, and I've known about it for months. Somehow, I have managed to not have 4 matching directional candles. And I'm not going back out in the rain.
It's entirely possible that we will, solemnly and with the deep reverence that befits priestesses and dedicants of Gaia, Hecate, Columbia, and Hygeia, invoke the Guardians of the Watchtowers of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Ether and then light birthday candles.
It seems awfully early to me, but all day long the squirrels in my yard have been performing the Great Rite, just on top of my fence. Black squirrels with grey squirrels, grey squirrels with grey squirrels, black squirrels with black squirrels, even one pair of red squirrels that I've never seen before. Good thing for them Mr. and Mrs. Loving won their case against the Old Dominion. ;)
Did I watch? Well, yeah, but so did the other squirrels, so I figured it was ok.
Maybe it's the full Moon in Gemini.
I put out extra sunflower seeds, just in case good sex gives them the munchies, too. Hope it's a warm late January.
I could have a bit of respect for xians who wanted to disassociate their holiday from commercialism, but 'Merkin xians, are just that stupid that they think the answer to their miserable lives is to make store clerks, who will, trust me, I've been one, wish you a merry fucking xyouzourshs day if that's what they're told to say and won't, for one minute, really want you to have a merry xyouzourshs day, mouth the words "Merry Christmas."
When I was wondering if I could go to law school at night and work during the day, I looked to M. When I got breast cancer and wondered if I would survive, I looked to M. Long before G/Son showed up, M. let me know how wonderful it could be to be a Nonna.
There's something about public dancing that goes straight to my core and warms my cockles. Barbara Ehrenreich is right; it happens far too seldom in this society. M.'s YouTube reminds me a lot of this:
Ladies! Listen up! Detecting breast cancer early is the key to surviving it! Breast Self Exams (BSEs) can help you to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages. So, on the first of every month, give yourself a breast self-exam. It's easy to do. Here's how. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular time in your cycle, calendar it now. But, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And, once a year, get yourself a mammogram. Mammograms cost between $150 and $300. If you have to take a temp job one weekend a year, if you have to sell something on e-Bay, if you have to go cash in all the change in various jars all over the house, if you have to work the holiday season wrapping gifts at Macy's, for the love of the Goddess, please go get a mammogram once a year.
Or: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pays all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
I know that a recent study indicated that early detection via breast self exams might not be "cost effective." I'm not a scientist, but when I read those studies, they appear to be saying that sometimes women find a lump during the BSE that turns out not to be cancer. Those women have caused some expense and have gone through some discomfort in order to find out that the lump wasn't cancer. I don't know about you, but when that happens to me, as it has a few times since my first mammogram found a small, curable, cancerous lump, I go out and buy a new scarf, take myself out for a decadent lunch, call everyone I know, and call it a good day.
Send me an email after you get your mammogram and I will do an annual free tarot reading for you. Just, please, examine your own breasts once a month and get your sweet, round ass to a mammogram once a year. If you have a deck, pick three cards and e-mail me at email@example.com. I'll email you back your reading. If you don't have a deck, go to Lunea's tarot listed on the right-hand side in my blog links. Pick three cards from her free, on-line tarot and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll email you back your reading.
But Seattles—like those blinding moments in a love affair when the whole world stops, like those perfect poems that write themselves, like the song so catchy and beautiful it becomes a world wide hit, like the glowing day in the forest when you find the giant chantrelle, like any amazing, ecstatic, lucky peak experience, happen rarely. They’re the Black Swans, the unusual occurrence, the outlier. The daily grind of political activism is showing up, over and over again, with the same hundred people you’ve seen before. Getting yourself up off the couch where you’d much rather be, to march around feeling slightly foolish and chanting the same things you’ve been chanting since 1966. “Peace Now!” “Stop the Bombing!” “End the Occupation!” The effects, if any, of your actions are so far away and far removed that any sense of accomplishment or achievement is rare and abstract, and the chances of getting whacked, clubbed, trodden upon, hoarse from screaming, tear gassed, pepper sprayed, stun gunned, tasered, arrested, interrogated, deported, or facing other unpleasantness rise daily. The personal motto that carries me through these things is Garrison Keilor’s observation, that “things that are horrible for most people are good for writers.” And the sure knowledge that every freedom we cherish, every great change, every liberation of a slave or shift in conciousness or small increase in justice was won in just this way—in the streets by people who mostly felt at the time that they were losing.
We’ve got to do it. All those email petitions on the internet, all those phone calls are fine—but there’s no substitute for human beings putting our bodies in the way the operations of injustice and pounding on the gates of the exploiters and raising our living voices in outrage at stupidity and greed.
I'm an old woman and there are only a few things that I know for sure: Grounding is important. Kindness is seldom wasted. Photosynthesis is the highest good. Keep your house clean, your papers in order, some money set aside. Don't tell the Man much about yourself. Sisters make it all much better. As above, so below; as inside, so without. The moment when monkey mind most wants to take over, when fears are most intense, when you have the most reasons to turn back -- that's the moment when magic can happen. Hecate will be there for me, at the end. And, Starhawk is right. There is no substitute for human beings putting our bodies in the way of the operations of injustice. I have been glad every time that I did that, and I regret every time that I lost an opportunity to do so. I'm old, but I know this for sure.
but I swear that I was under the impression that this was the point of the whole damn thing.
The bishop also cites the carol Oh Come All Ye Faithful as an example of how songs of the season perpetuate inaccuracies of what really happened concerning the story of Christ's birth. Bishop Baines says in the book it was not the "faithful" who went to see Jesus and his parents but rather shepherds, who were of the "great unwashed" and the wise men or Magi (astrologers) who were "not good Jews, but were pagans, men who were outside the covenant people of God."
Wasn't it? The notion that Jesus was born to bring "Good News" to the great unwashed and to those not recognized as "good Jews"? I suppose that a youth spent reading Quotations from Chairman Jesus may have done me in. (Holy shit. I may have paid $4.99 for that book in the early seventies.) Sigh.
I mean, you'd be surprised where a group of witches can sit quietly, sip martinis and merlot, call the Elements, cast a circle, invoke Columbia, sing a song of power, release a cone of energy, and go unnoticed until it's time for the waiter to bring the dessert cart.
And don't get me started on silently grounding and centering and sending out intent.
Who shall declare the joy of the running! Who shall tell of the pleasures of flight! Springing and spurning the tufts of wild heather, Sweeping, wide-winged, through the blue dome of light. Everything mortal has moments immortal, Swift and God-gifted, immeasurably bright. So with the stretch of the white road before me, Shining snowcrystals rainbowed by the sun, Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows, Strong with the strength of my horse as we run. Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight! Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."