This will be rather stream-of-consciousness. Well, my blogging has been getting that way lately. No, I don’t plan on fixing that. I have to seize my thoughts as they come, otherwise I’ll never get around to really expressing them or writing them down.
More thoughts from my last post, re shamanism. I really am beginning to hairy eyeball people who are calling themselves such. Add extra points for online classes, presentations at conventions, and other such things. Spirituality has really become commercialized within various pagan social circles–what would take an entire lifetime to learn through tradition, family lineage and etc, and with a great many hardships (such as difficult initiations and including racial/ethnic prejudice), is now being sanitized, summed up, and sold to the audiences. Really, it’s one of the reasons why attending pagan conventions is something I have absolutely no interest in, but really that is one big example of a series of turnoffs I have for such venues (I’m sorry, but public spiritual exhibitionism simply isn’t my thing). That is probably another rant for another time, though.
To be blunt: if you call yourself a shaman, you are appropriating. Full stop, end of story. You are no more a shaman than I am a Jewish rabbi, and about as qualified. Check out Origin of the Word ‘Shaman’ for more information. Yes, I used to use ‘shaman’ as a sort of catch-all term, though gradually I’ve developed my misgivings about doing so, and now I don’t plan on using such at all. Please note that from now on, if I use the word ‘shaman’ or ‘shamanism’ on this blog, it will be a specific reference (again, see the links I’ve provided).
Right, now that that’s out of the way.
I’ve finally shaken the dust off of my old site Cynanthropy and made an update. For those of you just tuning in, I have very strong association (spiritual, psychological, or mythical) to canids (wolves, dogs, jackals, coyotes, and etc.). So, I ended up creating an entire site devoted to the topic. I’ll be writing posts on the use of animal parts more specific to cynanthropy and my own personal experiences, as well as essays, rants, links, and whatever else I can come up with. Granted, my blogging will still be highly sporadic, but I promised myself I would try to step up my writing more.
That said, my online presence is still very touch-and-go. If you post a comment here and it does not show up immediately, don’t assume that I have censored you or deleted your comment. Nine times out of ten I’m just not online to approve it, or haven’t gotten around to checking my mail, or otherwise preoccupied with things that don’t involve the internet. This happens frequently, in fact.
Well, on that note, I’m off. I have things I need to do, now that I’ve shaken these thoughts out of my head for the moment.
First off for the morning, The Red Lotus Library is now live, with its first book, The Syncretisms of Antinous. Go click the link and grab it! I’m going to do so as soon as I am able. I must admit I don’t know enough about this deity as I should, so I am greatly looking forward to cracking it open once I have it in my hands.
There are also some great discussions in the comments regarding Lupus’ follow-up post on Spirit Day. Well worth taking a look, as well as some of the links provided by Phil Hine, such as this one, this one, as well as this, which offers an alternative view. Then there is also mention of “ostentatious caring”–something that really does happen quite often within the Pagan “community”, as was pointed out. I think I may have to pick up this book for further reading.
It is also today that I am introducing my “Sacred Scavenging” category. As some of you readers may know–but many may not–I collect and work with a wide variety of animal remains, old relics and other assorted objects. I also plan to be taking up taxidermy, especially now that I’ve acquired my own separate workroom/ritual space for such things. I will also be taking classes for my hunting license this fall, if all goes well. I understand that such things aren’t for everyone–but I expect that people reading this journal will conduct themselves in a mature manner with regards to expressing their opinions and thoughts. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but inflammatory comments about my practice will not be approved, and you will not be offered the satisfaction of a response.
In any case, I look forward to introducing such things to this blog. I plan on stepping up posting here. I am vastly behind on the writing I told myself I was going to do, and this must change.
We are pleased to announce that the Cynocephali devotional, to be published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina, is now open for submissions. This anthology will focus on the cynocephalic deities of the Greco-Roman and Egyptian pantheons, such as Anubis (Yinepu), Wepwawet, and Hermanubis. Please spread the call for submissions far and wide.
Examples of acceptable submissions include:
Translations and interpretations of ancient texts
Prose and Poetry
Anubis and Wepwawet – The same deity, or divine twins?
The associations of extant canid species (e.g. wolves, jackals, coyotes, foxes, and dogs) with these deities
Comparisons and contrasts to cynocephalic and way-opening canid-deities in other traditions and mythologies, such as Celtic or Norse, or even Meso-American (e.g. Xolotl)
The cynocephalic deities in their various forms and roles, such as:
Canids (wolves, jackals, dogs, foxes, even coyotes!)
Readers are strongly encouraged to explore many aspects of these deities, as well as some of the more obscure and lesser-known or less-popularized myths and symbolism associated with these deities.
Any submitted artwork must be original, greyscaled and 300dpi at full print size. Color submissions for the front cover are encouraged. In the event of multiple cover submissions, the editors reserve the right to make the final selection.
Editors also reserve the right to make any minor changes in the case of spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting and related. The editors reserve the right to reject any submission that they feel does not meet the above criteria. Editors may request that submissions be tweaked or modified as necessary.
As with all devotional anthologies at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, payment or contributor copies cannot be provided, since proceeds will be directed to charitable organizations and to help promote the Bibliotheca Alexandrina line. Any potential contributors are encouraged to read the BA policies: http://www.neosalexandria.org/publishing.htm In submitting to this anthology, the editors will assume that you have read and consented to these policies.
Please send submissions to cynocephalidevotional (at) gmail (dot) com. Submissions will be accepted starting July 25th, 2010, in consideration of that date being the reckoned rising of Sirius and the major feast-day of many cynocephalic deities, including the Graeco-Egyptian syncretic Hermanubis and his early Christian counterpart, St. Christopher. The deadline for submissions will be on May 22, 2011, the date Ovid’s Fasti gives for the rising of Sirius, interpreted as the celestial form of the Hound of Erigone in a myth of Dionysos. The editors will acknowledge all submissions, but this does not guarantee your submission will make it into the final edit of the anthology.
All submissions will remain the property of the individual author, and all rights pertaining thereunto will remain with the author. A permission to publish form will be sent out to authors upon acceptance of their final drafts for publication. It is expected that no plagiarism of any sort will be involved in any piece accepted for permission, and that all customs of academic responsibility and honesty will be observed in citing sources (whether formally in footnotes/references or informally within the text of a piece), where applicable/necessary.
The editors of this devotional are Shin “Solo” Cynikos and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus. Solo is a Greco-Egyptian polytheist, cynanthrope, female-to-male transguy, magician and sacred scavenger. When not at his government job or traveling out of country, Solo enjoys blogging about polytheism, animism, transgender rights and scavenging. You can find his writings at https://dimensionbomb.wordpress.com, and his crafty bits at http://hermeticdog.etsy.com. P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is an academic by day, and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou and contributing member of Neos Alexandria. Lupus’ poetry and essays have been published in various Bibliotheca Alexandrina devotional anthologies, with a whole book of poetry called The Phillupic Hymns (2008) among these, and also poems in the Scarlet Imprint anthology Datura: An Anthology of Esoteric Poesis (2010).
To be honest, I had meant to make this post a couple weeks ago.
A blog like this is long in coming, and I find it a privilege to be able to contribute. I’m writing from the perspective of military brat and volunteer, and my first post (following my father’s return from his second tour in Afghanistan) can be found here.
To avoid going into a detailed description of what the Naukrateia is, read this post.
This year I entered an essay for this year’s artisic agon for Neos Alexandria…and I apparently took second place! Yowza. Anyway, below I’ll post my essay for everyone to read. It sums up what the concepts “homesickness” and “homecoming” are to me. Both of which are always a very real part of my life at all times, as I tend to live in an in-between zone, until such a time as a legal marriage or domestic partnership can occur.
I have more to say on the topic of the Naukrateia and the concepts of “homesickness” and “homecoming”, especially as it applies to recent events in my totemic work, but right now here’s my essay.
When I first laid eyes on him in L.A., I knew he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen or would ever see, and I would spend the rest of my life with him. It didn’t matter to me that we were both of the same gender, or that he was a German national and I was a citizen of the United States. We would make this work, or die trying.
I learned something about homesickness from my grandfather. He spoke often of Germany, the country of his grandparents, a place he only visited once as a soldier during the war, but dreamed about often. He told the family about Wolfhagen, a tiny village nestled in the rolling meadows of Hessia, the place of our ancestors. Much in the way of ancestral storytelling, his dreams became my dreams. When he passed away, those dreams were all I was left with, along with the image of his beautiful smile, and the rampant black wolf of Wolfhagen.
Two tearful goodbyes too many since we met in L.A. My country of birth tells me that our relationship isn’t real, that there is no legal recourse for people like us, and that my partner is not welcome here. But as I stand on the airport concourse, I try to push all of this in the back of my mind. Tonight I’m flying to Germany, and soon I will see what will become my new home, and the partner I haven’t seen in almost six months. I fall into a daze as the plane takes off and heads east over the Atlantic. I have a strange dream. I am sitting in a shining golden barge, cruising down a long and vast river in the sky. I look ahead of me and see a man crouched in the bow of the boat. He has the head of a falcon and two blazing suns for eyes. He bobs his head at me in the quizzical fashion of curious birds. I look next to me and I see my grandfather. His smile is just as beautiful as I remember it.
Germany is a place that reeks of familiarity for reasons I can’t readily explain. The most familiar thing however are the arms of my lover, the only place I would ever truly feel at home. The month begins to pass all too quickly. I learn the local dialects of animals and people. I tour old towns, gaze at at the vaulted ceilings of grand old cathedrals. I contemplate the works of Goethe while dwelling along the same street he walked. I follow in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm, old wolf tracks and grand forests steeped in witchcraft lore. My partner and I make love all night long and into the day. We hold each other every day and night as if we may never get the chance again. For people like us, the possibility always lingers.
It is mere days before I am to leave the country. Right now I try to do my best to banish that thought from my mind as the train to Wolfhagen rolls along. We have to catch a connecting train in Kassel, an epicenter of crop circles and Rosicrucian lore. I doze off against my partner’s shoulder, and I dream of a vast oak forest. A flash of sable through emerald leaves as the wolf dashes away from me. He looks back once, flashes his teeth at me, like white lightning against angry storm clouds. I woke up at our destination and once again was reminded of Wolfhagen’s coat of arms–a rampant black wolf posed among oak trees, as if running. I could feel my grandfather’s presence strongly throughout the trip. The visit to Wolfhagen was deeply emotional, and strangely haunting. Even painful. But necessary. I left something of myself there, and I’m glad I did it.
It’s time to go back to my home country. I can’t really call it “home” anymore. If that mushy old adage is true, if home really is where you’re heart is, then it only lends more validity to that feeling of my heart being torn out as I left his arms at the security gate. The concept of “home” is more than just “where you hang your hat”, a place of shelter. Home can be many things to many people. A place where you are accepted for who and what you are. The place of your ancestors, or your gods. The passionate embrace of your lover.
A man from the Ramesside period once wrote on homesickness:
I am awake, but my heart sleeps.
My heart is not in my body.
All my limbs are seized by evil:
my eye is weary from seeing,
my ear hears not.
My voice is husky,
all my words are garbled.
Be gracious to me! Grant that I may revive.
My heart is not in my body. It lies somewhere over the sea, waiting. Wepwawet, my Father, grant me the Way, that I may come home once again.
This essay is dedicated to all binational GLBT couples who fight every day for the right to live together. Never lose hope.
The Search For God In Ancient Egypt, by Jan Assmann
* Heimweh means “Homesickness” or literally “home ache” in German.
E-mail for inquiries and submissions: aediculaantinoi (at) hotmail (dot) com; please put “Queer Magic Anthology” in your subject line.
Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A.) is seeking submissions for an anthology on queer magic and/or ritual.
For the purposes of this publication, “queer” is primarily defined as anything of a non-majority sexual orientation (e.g. gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc.), or atypical gender identity (e.g. transsexual, transgendered, intersexed, genderqueer, metagender, etc.). Other things may be part of the widest understanding of “queerness,” including relationship styles (e.g. polyamory, etc.) or sexual practices (e.g. BDSM, fetishes, kink, etc.), and indeed magic, occultism, and paganism themselves (since they are “non-normative,” which is an agreed-upon definition of “queer” within many academic circles), but the focus of this volume will be on queerness particularly as it applies to gender and sexual orientation.
This is not an anthology that is intended to be about “personal stories of the intersection of magical/occult/pagan/spiritual identity and queerness,” but instead about queer perspectives on magical, occult, and esoteric topics especially, but also possibly the impact of queerness on pagan or spiritual topics (e.g. theology). Further, where and when these topics of paganism and/or spiritual identity and affiliation might be addressed, this is not an anthology about “coming out spirituality” (e.g. the idea that it is okay to be LGBTQ and pagan/Thelemic/Santero/Hellenic/whatever/&c.; “coming out” as ritual/initiation, etc.), nor should essays primarily be about how queerness of whatever sort gives one a better perspective or understanding on energy polarity or gender wholeness within any of these magical/occult/pagan paradigms (e.g. the idea that gay men are more naturally gifted, magical, or shamanically-inclined because they are more in touch with their femininity, etc.). The latter has been done to death already; the former is an important first step in these matters, but as with all Megalithica publications, the intention with this anthology is to go beyond introductory matters whenever possible.
Personal stories that are primarily about alienation from mainstream magical/occult/pagan circles because of one’s queerness are not the focus of this volume; if discussion of such is relevant to the wider aims of one’s essay, that’s fine, but having those wider aims is a necessity. If you want to do a piece on “queer love spells,” it would be better to address theoretical issues of how they’re different or in what ways their methodology is unique and presents challenges or enrichments, rather than giving templates or sample ritual/magical texts. Essays on how to adapt “non-queer” spells/rituals/practices to a queer context, or lists of correspondences and deities for particular queer issues, are not very desirable…unless they’re extremely innovative and unique!
Some particular issues of interest might include:
How does one’s queerness suggest different viewpoints on particular aspects, methodologies, or theories of magical practice?
Just as one’s queerness may give one more useful insights on some magical or spiritual matters, are there likewise blind spots that one’s queerness may cause, and how can one address those usefully from a queer perspective?
Are there historical precedents or particularly interesting figures in relation to queerness within one’s magical or spiritual tradition?
Are there any useful practices or texts from the past (e.g. the Greek Magical Papyri; mythological tales featuring queer figures; established traditions with queer themes; historical figures who were known to be what we understand as queer; etc.) which can be used today, usefully adapted, or mined for insights for use in the very different contexts of the modern world?
What are some magical methods or procedures that one might use to creatively deal with what are viewed as queer-specific issues, like homophobia/transphobia/etc., safer sex practices and education, forming and interacting with the LGBTQ communities, legal and political activism, LGBTQ rights and equality struggles, etc.?
Are there “pop cultural” and “multi-media” magical techniques (see Taylor Ellwood’s various publications for further ideas/information!) or practices that can be employed in interesting ways for queer folks? Ideas may include: use of personals websites/Craigslist for spell casting or divination; drag performances as aspecting/invocation; uses of cruising and the entire bar/club scene for ritual work (which can be rather edgy, and not always in a good way, but nonetheless it’s a possibility); using queer-themed literature and films as bibliomancy or interactive ritual texts/sacred drama (on the latter, think The Rocky Horror Picture Show as ritual/liturgy, but with other possibilities for the film that is the subject of the interaction); use of historical figures (e.g. Harvey Milk, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein), living personalities (e.g. RuPaul, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John), or characters (e.g. Valerie from V for Vendetta, Sterling [Patrick Stewart] from Jeffrey, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist from Brokeback Mountain, etc.) as archetypes or spirit/deity-forms/egregores/etc. for queer magical/spiritual work; and so forth.
What are the challenges that can be encountered with the interactions of LGBTQ people and non-queer folks in magical/spiritual communities, and (most importantly) how can they be overcome creatively? What are the challenges that can be encountered with having interaction with a non-magical/non-spiritual person in one’s personal life as a lover/partner/relationship, and (most importantly) how can they be overcome creatively? (By “overcome creatively,” what is meant is anything non-manipulative, non-triumphalistic, and non-resentful that can be done to address and/or alleviate the issues in a situation—which is to say, specific actions, not adoption of attitudes or viewpoints that run the gamut of “try to be open-minded, understanding, and compassionate; deal with people on an individual and context-specific basis,” etc., as the main resolution offered. These should be things that are tried and tested, not theoretical matters. In this type of essay, of course personal experience and sharing of stories are necessary, but if the one you’re considering does not meet all of the above criteria, it will most likely not be considered for inclusion in this anthology.)
…And anything else you might think of which is innovative, interesting, different, new, unique, fascinating, scintillating, wonderful, and fabulous that involves queerness of whatever type, and its relation to and intersection with the practice and theory of magic, occultism, and paganism/spirituality!
Requirements for submission:
Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
Bibliography for works cited
Format should be “Vancouver Style” footnotes—look it up if you are not familiar with it!
Do write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely speaks in the first person about your own experience, that is also permissible, but please use a more formal writing style for as much as possible in one’s piece that is not quoted speech. Unless you do so sparingly, or define your terms (either in the main text or footnotes), DO NOT use lolcat-speak, text message speak, or anything else that could be considered para-English.
Rough drafts are due August 15, 2009. These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editor. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Do drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.
Compensation will be ($25) (paid via twice-yearly royalties from book sales) plus a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.
The anthology will be edited by Phillip A. Bernhardt-House. Phillip is the author of several articles (academic and non-academic) on religion, spirituality, mythology, theology, Celtic Studies, paganism, queerness, werewolves, and a variety of other topics, as well as a published poet, and is a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (queer Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheism dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian). Phillip’s e-mail address for this anthology is aediculaantinoi (at) hotmail (dot) com.
Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine in 2003, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at http://www.immanion-press.com.
I think that the one major problem I have when it comes to my networking with others, and my writing is my lack of consistency. One moment I’ll be in active communication with a person on a daily basis, and the next moment I’ll drop off for a month or so with little to no notice. Usually I have a good excuse–things tend to get real busy offline, though to be honest I have tendencies towards being a loner and taking extended breaks away from people simply to defrag and recalibrate myself (social scenes, regardless of where they are, tend to wear me out rather quickly. Similar situation when it comes to my more formal writing (blogging doesn’t really count in my book). One moment I’ll be completely consistent in my writing and the next it’ll dry up completely, either through writer’s block, stress or distraction. This makes writing projects and meeting deadlines a bit complicated. To be honest, I’m not sure who would want to network with me given this lack of consistency, something I find a bit depressing and frustrating at points.
I’ll be the first one to admit–I don’t think I handle stress very well sometimes, though on the other hand I’ve been told that I do handle or take on a fair amount of it to begin with. I’m never really sure which one to trust though. I also tend to get distracted–not that I lose interest in a thing, but sometimes I do spread myself alittle too widely. I wonder if that’s the reason why I could never be any sort of fandom-related person, I just have too many interests to focus solely on one. And when writing about something that is, at least for me, a way of life, some things I just don’t think about writing, because to me it seems so common sense and, well, commonplace. D’oh. Not that it wouldn’t be for other writers either, but there are so many things that I do, sitting down to focus on just what to write about becomes a chore.
I’m bringing this up here mainly in an attempt to flesh out my thoughts and devise better methods to remedy this while still maintaining my sanity and sense of personal boundaries (which, to me, are more than just physical). I really want to become more active in the occult information exchange as it where, I just need to come up with a plan of action to keep myself focused.