This is my proposal for the Panel on the Arts at the Conference for Contemporary Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University in January. My friend Alfred is doing the future of Pagan Music and Loren Raine is doing the Visual Arts and I’m supposed to be doing Pagan Literature, hopefully, I can do justice to the topic.
Pagan Literature – Where are we going and where are we now?
A review of the presently available pagan fiction by pagan authors, pagan- friendly authors (or at least the one that try not to offend us, and by non-pagan authors.
What is good pagan fiction? Is there more than Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter wannabes? Is there more than retelling of old legends? How are our deities and belief/knowledge systems reflected?
Pagan authors are filling bookshelves and Kindles with good fiction that reflects our community as accurately as it can and still retain readers. Do you know who they are? How can we support them best? How do we find them?
Non-pagan authors are also filling the shelves with dreck and really offensive or just plain stupid drivel. (If this weren’t a proposal I’d use a different word. The Twilight series is not pagan literature!)
Where is this all headed if anywhere at all?
A current list of reasonably readable fiction in the fields of mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy which seems to be where pagan authors end up. (Or at least as much as I can track down and hopefully read.
A lot of my stories were dreamed but this one wasn’t. It was born on the way home from our twice yearly Solstice Faires. Long Beach Womenspirit and TOILA (Temple of Isis Los Angeles) have been putting on Faires for over 25 years now. It’s goes to once a year on Summer Solstice this year, we are too old and there are fewer and fewer of us to do all the work but anyway we do Faire.
We always have plenty of good pagan entertainment and some years we have had at least 3 groups of belly dancers, as well as storytellers like me and musical acts like Ruth Barrett and Lisa Thiel or Miri Hunter. We used to end every Faire with a group bellydance led by Anniitra after her performance. The year I wrote this it turned into lessons and C and E were two kids there dancing with Anniitra and just glowing with life and joy.
Somehow this touched something in my heart and the story started to take shape. It solidified when I got home and was going through the 400 photos minimum I usually take to document Faire, one year it was closer to 800. And I managed to capture some of it and within an hour I was writing and the Dance was born. It’s still one of my favourites if just because it’s so anti Judeo-Christian interpretation of the event that actually does show in geologic sediment in the Mediterranean as having really happened and since cultures all over the world have Flood stories, why not another one. Anyway, that was how this particular story came to be.
For anyone who is not familiar with Circle News AKA Circle Network News to us old farts, I highly recommend it. It has lots of good stuff in it. The current issue is on Ritual and you can even download it to your Kindle for $5 an issue.
I met Selena and Dennis at my first Harvest Moon in 1984? Or 1985. A long time ago anyway and just fell in love with her working style at the 2nd Harvest Moon our coven did our first workshop and women’s ritual and was honoured to have her attend. And considering my coven is crazy and she went along with everything, she is awesome in my book.
As an aside, my coven over the years we did the public women’s ritual did things like one on Power tools and used things like electric corn poppers to call Air and a child’s lawn mower for Earth, another year we used Wonder bread. We had a hippie anti-war one for Operation Desert Storm, we had a Primordial Soup one and I was supposed to be the Goddess Julia Child creating the soup but somehow morphed into the Swedish Chef. Everyone had to throw ingredients into the soup and create the universe. Another year we were all the goddess and we (the coven) had made driver’s licenses for all the women with a piece of mylar for the portrait section to be a mirror and put the words to The Pretenders Hymn to Her on the back so they had a teeny tiny song sheet. So our rituals could get a bit wild and the women always went home with something. One year it was acorns, another Fimo glow in the dark moons and of course the Goddess licenses. People still tell me they have them on their altars and it’s been over 20 years since most of them.
So the fact that Selena enjoyed the crazy rituals was a big thing to a brand new coven with bright shiny new witches and not the old and gray ones we are now. It look me a long time to think about sending my stuff in. Who knows next might be SageWoman or some other pub.