Wild Men

Yesterday was the end of class for this quarter. Finals have been taken, papers have been written, everything has been handed in. Today I drive to my Paramour’s island and we will go to the symphony for Beethoven’s 5th (extra credit for the music class). WMFH will be there as well, so it should be an interesting evening. I am going to take the weekend off to catch my breath, but I plan of returning to blogging next week. In the meantime, enjoy this link:

Europe’s Wild Men: They become bears, stags, and devils. They evoke death but bestow fertile life. They live in the modern era, but they summon old traditions.

Da Da Da

Last night, the community college I am attending presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance. I am completely in love with where I live, because #1. the local community college presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance for crying out loud. #2. It was sold out. and #3. When WMFH performed John Cage’s ‘ 4’33” ‘ the audience sat with rapt attention and gave him a standing ovation at the end. They also performed “The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher” by Tristan Tzara, which was surprisingly well executed by the student actors. By far, the highlights of the evening for me (aside from WMFH’s oddly engaging John Cage cover) were the choir performing “Miniwanka” by R. Murray Schafer and the 2 separate interpretations of Paolo Buzzi’s “3nomio Voci Gorgo Distuzione”, which had to be seen to be believed. WMFH also performed György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique” which involved 100 metronomes. It was impressive, but a little too short. Somebody at the college really knew their stuff, because I am relatively familiar with the Dadaists (less so with the Futurists) and there were obscure pieces that not only had I never heard of, I can’t even find on “teh interwebs” (I have to write a paper on this for class, much research is needed). All in all, it was a rousing success, and the audience was refreshingly receptive to it.

Miniwanka, performed by someone else. I really wish I could find a copy of the graphical sheet music they projected during the performance. It was beautiful.

György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique”

Happy Things

German/Music Appreciation teacher/WMFH not only read Hildegard von Bingen’s description of the female orgasm in MA class today (pertinently, I might add), he described the Pagan ambiguities in her music with great knowledge, passion, and fervor. Two words: MY HERO.

It’s so refreshing to have a teacher who gets it. Dude may not be a Pagan, but he sure as hell thinks like one.

Between that, and the lovely conversation I just had with my Paramour, it just makes me feel like crawling all over someone like a baby panda.

Pagan Blog Project Week 4- Books: Transmundane, Lascivious, and Macabre

BOOKS.

My world is filled with them. As an ADF dedicant, you read. A lot. Not only that, but due to my lack of formal higher education, I am having to read a great deal of crap to fill the gaps in my knowledge in order to fully understand the material I am working with. I used to be a much faster reader, but the MS has caused a deficit in my short term memory. Still, my entire life has been centered on my prodigious reading skills.

I learned how to read before kindergarten, and by the time I was in the 1st grade the teachers began to recognize that I was far beyond the abilities of my peers. I was in my own reading group throughout most of elementary school, even when they held me back in the 4th grade because of my complete lack of math skills (my school district had some purely evil policies about how your math and language skills had to be on par with each other, which meant you were held at whichever skill was the lowest. They destroyed so many lives this way.) I was reading at a college level before junior high and could read 1,000 words per minute with a 90% comprehension rate. Consequently, I ended up reading many books at an age where I wasn’t socially or emotionally able to understand them. I read “The Hobbit” when I was 7, “The Exorcist” at 9, and many of the classics such as Dickens, Shakespeare, and Dostoevsky before I was old enough to menstruate. Of course I remember very little of these books today. After all, who can comprehend Nihilism when you are still looking forward to Sesame Street each afternoon?

I have always had a large collection of books, and tragically I have no place to put them all. I still have books from my childhood, books that belonged to my mother, antique books, and self-published books from friends. I collect all the supernatural and ancient history themed Time-Life series* for fun, and I used to have a huge collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes that has been picked clean by scavengers and the sands of time. At least a good 85% of my books are non-fiction. I really don’t enjoy fiction, it has to be something pretty exceptional for me to want to read it. I have books on the social history of crying, books about prostitution in the Weimar Republic, books about the correlations of death and eroticism in art, books about people who claim to have been brainwashed by the CIA to be Boxcar Willie’s sex slave (this is a real book. I am not kidding). The majority of my books cover the following subjects: sex, religion, history, anthropology, death, and mayhem. I have spent decades scouring used bookstores, Powell’s, yard sales, and researching catalogs like Loompanics, Amok, and Feral House to flesh out my library of the transmundane, lascivious, and macabre. And I want more.

I calculated that for the ADF Dedicant/Clergy program plus the Bardic studies program I will probably have to read between 75-200 books, depending on how in depth I want to be. My memory deficit is making this difficult, and so reading has become more of a chore than it once was (I have a tendency to forget what I have read a few pages back and have to do a great deal of re-reading in order to retain the information). Still, I love the process and I love my books.

Oh, and PS, fuck Kindle. I know people love those things, but when the apocalypse comes and you can’t recharge that soulless slice of fuck-all I will still have knowledge, beeyotches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Revisionism and Counter-Revisionism in Pagan History

Here is a great article about revisionism in Pagan history from The International Journal of Pagan Studies. I definitely subscribe to the belief that Paganism is something we have recreated, not something that has been secretly brewing behind the scenes for hundreds of years. I hold no illusions that what I do is part of an unbroken tradition. I like Hutton’s comparison of the authenticity of modern Paganism to Protestantism:

In this, it was certainly based on older images and ideas, gathered from the ancient, medieval and early modern worlds, but evolved in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to suit modern needs and ideals; which it did very well, thereby explaining most of its appeal and viability. As such, it was no less genuine than any other faith which had undergone a process of renewal and revival, such as Protestant Christianity’s rejection of more than a millennium of developing Catholic theology and ritual to return to what its exponents regarded as ancient truths.

If you are accustom to peer-review journal academic style writing, it isn’t to bad a read. If you aren’t or find reading that crap like pulling teeth (as I tend to*) it can be a bit convoluted, but the information is fantastic.

*The preferred academic style of writing is so focused on making the writer sound knowledgeable that it tends to obscure the information it contains IMHO. I always imagine David Attenborough** narrating, “Here we see the Academic in his natural setting, preening his feathers in an attempt to woo his fellow academics into providing him career advancement, talk show spots, and tenure. Watch as he dances frantically, the very survival and perpetuation of his species resting on his every move…”

** OMG I was so hot for David Attenborough when I was young.

Damn His Handsome Hide!

Curse your eyes, WMFH! Curse you for planting the seed of going to university after the school year is over. I had pretty much given up any hope of a higher education due to my being a complete prosimian when it comes to math, and now I am shopping the local U’s catalog and saying, “Ooooh! 19th century German literature!? German phonics?? Fluency Through Dramatization?!? I WANT TO GO TO THERE.” Wait, I can also take Western Mythology? Latin? Lignuistics? Russian? But.. but… but…

Damn it, damn it, damn it. I can’t afford this! But I would LOVE to actually achieve some level of fluency in German, not to mention supplement and enhance my ADF studies.

Because I want to avoid moments like this.

Happy Anniversary

Happy 200th anniversary to the Brothers Grimm, folklorists, linguists, historians, and scholars! Google has a very cute animation to commemorate the publication of one of the most influential books in Western civilization, so check it out. If you are anything like me, you were raised on a steady diet of little girls lost in the woods, swan maidens, and brave shepherds tromping their way through dark forests filled with talking bears and gingerbread houses. Do yourself a favor and spend some time today reading these incredible tales of yore.

12 Letters That Didn’t Make the Alphabet

You know the alphabet. It’s one of the first things you’re taught in school. But did you know that they’re not teaching you all of the alphabet? There are quite a few letters we tossed aside as our language grew, and you probably never even knew they existed…

Read the full text here

“Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?”

Yesterday was my German final, and rather than being relieved I just feel a little bummed. We reconvene after the first of the year (and I am also taking my German instructor’s music appreciation class, which I am SUPER STOKED about), but I am enjoying going to school, so the idea of being stuck at home for 3 weeks with nothing but a massive pile of 800 year old reading and mythology analysis to do makes me groan like a teenager being asked to clean her room. That, and the fact that I won’t get to give the ol’ swoony moon-eyes to my totally pounce-worthy German teacher that whole time. The guy is the World’s Most Fuckable Hobbit. Seriously, he makes me twitterpated hardcore. I want to put that man in my mouth like a toddler with a shiny object… er, um, sorry. I digress.

I have decided to try and keep my German skills from atrophying during the break by memorizing poetry. Poetry has always had a strange place in my world. As I have mentioned, my mother would read us poetry almost every evening, either before bed or after dinner. She would read us Tennyson, Longfellow, Keats, Yeats, Poe, Shelley, Byron, Rossetti, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. My sister and I would sit with rapt attention as she would give us dramatic and intense recitations of the English Romantics and High Victorian verse, many of which I can still recite today. This seeded my love and appreciation for language and formed my world view in innumerable ways, and it is one of the few truly fond memories I have of my mother from my childhood. Poetry helps associate strong emotion with the words you are learning, it gives you a sense of rhythm and timing, and is a great way to learn how a language is meant to be felt and experienced. I tend to be less entranced with modern poetry, for the most part I find a lot of it forced and cynical, lacking any real attempt to connect the reader with the passions and vulnerability of the writer.

I have 3 weeks. I intend on memorizing 3 poems. First up is “Erlkönig” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The other two I am considering are Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode an die Freude” (mostly because it is more or less the lyrics to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony- and who doesn’t want to be able to bust THAT out at parties. Well, I guess it depends on what kind parties you go to. I go to nerdy parties), and Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Mnemosyne“, because I like it. Both of those are rather long, so I may need to scale back my ambitions. We shall see as the break progresses…

5 Songs from the Eurovision for Endangered Languages, Liet International

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