Tag Archives: paganism

Archon 41: Come Say Hello!

The flying castle will be dropping me off in your realm this fall to attend Archon 41! Women and nonbinary authors, please be sure to submit your original (no reprint) stories for Artemis Rising before you head out, as our submission window will close on Sept 30.

Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017
archonstl.org
Gateway Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel
Collinsville, IL

This convention promises the usual from me — religion, fighting, and the inescapable lure of human darkness — capped off on Sunday with a reading chock-full of all three. Come say hello!

Friday

The Cinematic Wonder Woman’s Badass Predecessors
20:00 – 20:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

A discussion celebrating Ripley, Xena, Buffy, and more.  Why do we love women who kick butt?
What a question.
With Claire Ashgrove, Tom Stockman, and Ethan Nahté

Saturday

Alternate Religions
11:00 – 11:50, Salon 4 (Gateway Center)
An open and respectful look at real-life alternate or non-mainstream religions.
I’ll be moderating, with Christine Amsden, Ms Joy Ward, and Walt Boyes

Writing Modern-Day Monsters
12:00 – 12:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Discuss what a “modern-day monster” is (or can be), and how to write an effective one.
With Mr Michales Joy, and Guy Anthony De Marco

Recurring Themes in Speculative Science Fiction
16:00 – 16:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Speculative fiction has become more and more popular in recent years.  Come participate in a discussion on themes in spec lit and what’s on the horizon.
I’m moderating (the fantasist snuck in! Shh!), with Celine Chatillon, Dr Pamela Gay, and Tom Carpenter

Comparative Mythology
19:00 – 19:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

How do myths from different cultures compare?  What are some recurring themes?  What myths seem to be culturally unique?
I’m moderating, with Michael Benjamin, Lloyd Kropp, Walt Boyes, and Kasey Mackenzie

 

Sunday

Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors
10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Escape Artists represent — woop woop!  Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.
With the ever-brilliant Benjamin C. Kinney of Escape Pod

Making Friends in Fandom
13:00 – 13:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

It’s hard to make new friends, but it’s easier when you have common interests. Get tips on how to make friends as adults.
With Mrs. Susan Baugh, Cindi Gille-Rowley, Tom Meserole, Steve Lopata

Author Readings with David Benem and Setsu Uzume
14:00 – 14:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)
Tag-teaming with David Benem

 

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Revealing Character Through Ritual and Routine

maxineMaxine Hong Kingston is a journalist, activist, and author of several memoirs. While her credentials ground her in reality, magic and mysticism permeate her work.

At a talk in Seattle many years ago, she mentioned something about ritual lending meaning to everyday life. Ritual can infuse a new beginning with hope and optimism, or bring closure to long-standing pain. Ritual brackets and celebrates events, and can still fold up and fit in your pocket.

As an example, eating an orange is the quickest and easiest for me to enter a state of complete mindfulness. The pockmarked skin, the sound of tearing it open, the fragrant orange-smell, plus the way it feels soft, or cold — and of course, the sweet or sour taste. There’s something about eating an orange that makes it really easy for me to be 100% aware, focused, and present.

It’s not because it’s my favorite fruit, though.

I grew up pagan, and on the solstices and equinoxes we would eat oranges or orange slices as a little shout-out to the sun and its role as a fixed point, astrophysically and metaphorically, in the chaos of our lives. It’s possible that this tiny bit of sun-worship informs my relationship with oranges, although I don’t set out to worship during lunch, per se.

What we do as ritual, how we do it, says a lot about where we’re coming from. It describes our mental state in a roundabout way. It describes what we value, why we seek peace, and how we go about it. It can be as small as the way someone pulls their hair back, or as large as the rallying of a city.

What rituals show up in your story?  What rituals show up in your life?

Addictions are poor substitutes for the rituals you need but have not yet found.”
Michael Meade

Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Great Brown Bear is walking with us, Salmon is swimming upstream with us, as we stroll a city street.”
― Gary Snyder

Poem for Winter Solstice

Candles in the window
And a chill beyond the wall
My kin are far, the minutes slow
And silent in my hall

I stay awake for Longest Night
The world a wash of grey
Remembering my fam’ly’s light
That each year summoned day

Decades passed and every year
Our dear friends packed together
Laughing, singing, drawing near
Regardless of the weather

My family is scattered now
My voice is weak and drawn
No snow alights on any bough
But I still sing for dawn

sunrise

 Happy Winter to the Northern Hemisphere

Happy Summer to the Southern Hemisphere

Adventures With Humans – Deli Guy 05 – End of Days

Question 5:  What do you think of Syria?

The Deli was particularly busy on this day. I got to sleep late so I wound up going in at lunchtime. He seemed stressed. He wasn’t keeping up with the orders as well as he would’ve liked. I ordered a Bacon Egg & Cheese Croissant and a coffee.

He spilled my coffee while he was adding the sugar to it. He looked so frazzled. His shoulders sagged. He apologized. I said “No, no, it’s alright, I’m just glad you’re not burned.”

I didn’t really have anywhere to be for another hour or so, so I ate in. I waited until the rest of the lunch orders went through and took my time sipping my coffee. Once the place slowed down again and there were only two or three customers, we got to talking about The Daily Question. Somehow this particular question wound around to talking about The End. I said it depends how you view The End. He said that people have been predicting the end since the time of Christ. I laughed and said, oh yes, even long before that.

Then I said that in Tarot, the Death card represents drastic change; the end of one state and the beginning of a new one. He said, in a quiet, almost apologetic tone, that Tarot is occult, and he would never associate with such things.

After that response, I tried to appeal to him with examples from within his faith. The Gnostics emphasized Christ’s dual nature (divine and human), compared to the Chalcedonians (who thought he was all human), and the Monophysites (who thought he was solely divine). There’s a Gnostic text that suggests that Christ had to die as a mortal in order to be reborn to his divinity. Isn’t that the same idea?

He said no. The End is what it says in The Bible, which is a fundamental change in all reality.

Then the deli got busy again. I sat, and I sipped my coffee and waited. I realized I was watching him the way a cat watches a mouse. I thought that if the sun explodes, or the sea rises, and all of humanity or even the Earth is wiped out, it won’t change physics. I wanted to convince him of my view. I wanted him to know about death and rebirth and the constant cycle of change.

I realized that I was only staying there because I wanted to pick this fight. I felt sheepish, headed out, and we both waved goodbye with smiles on our faces.

 

plate

What will be left when the fighting’s done?