My favourite image at the moment
I was recently delighted receive a complimentary copy of Silver Wheel Journal 4 in the post. Silver Wheel Journal – a yearly “anthology of Craft, Druidry, Paganism and Magic”…(read more in Pentacle 39 – see below)…I am also delighted because three of my own pieces – “Alchemilla”, “Moon Shadows & Firelight” and “Walks with Mistletoe”- have been published here in issue 4, alongside Modern Witchcraft luminaries.
One piece of mine that wasn’t accepted for publication is this a house blessing/cursing channelled-poem I wrote about the specifically East-Anglian house-wights – the “Yarthkin”.
I am of Yarthkin, Hearth Sprite, House Wight. I live in your home, behind the fireplace, in the doorways, under the floorboards…more…
This book review has been edited in anticipation of an extended version appearing in Issue 39 (yule 2013) of Pentacle Magazine.
Vision of a Sacred Garden
Back in February 2011 at a Pagan conference in Chester I had the good fortune to take part in a guided pathworking lead by Glennie Kindred, the author of the pagan primer “The Earth’s Cycle of Celebration” and part of the Moonshares Collective who annually produce the Earth Pathway Diary – a pagan “network and resource for Earth lovers, environmentalists, artists, writers and activists”.
On that winter afternoon in the dimly-lit hall Glennie Kindred’s soft calming voice and her drumming drew us deep into ourselves, where she encouraged us to discover and visualise our deep wishes and hopes. Some way in, I found myself immersed in green light, flickering around me like sunlight through pale fresh leaves, I drifted amongst branches creaking in the breeze, I saw and ran in a meadow, danced by a fire, lay back in long grass, gazing at ripe red fruits growing overhead. When I surfaced, still gleaming from my reverie I was handed a bowl of green slips of paper cut into leaf-shapes. I chose a leaf that looked to me like an apple tree leaf and wrote that I had dreamed of a green and magical place, a Sacred Garden to steward.
At the time I lived in a ground floor flat in a 1960s council block. Although it was a comfortable and compact apartment, it was also very square, plain and functional, a blank white box. The strip of garden was a lawn visible from the bedroom window, municipalised by default into an unexciting communal greensward. A twisty shady garden hidden away amongst thickets, like I had envisioned, seemed like a world away…read more…
The Wall of Girls
This image has delighted and fascinated me for many years since I first bought it printed up as a greetings card. I have come to imagine the image is of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes – Pele. Pele is also a goddess of love, and as the somewhat Freudian cigar and phallic cactus suggest the physical nature of that love. Perhaps I am wrong, there is nothing on the card to say who is the figure in the illustration, but I like to think it’s of hot old Pele, basking under a pure blue sky, her feet in a bowl of water to cool her down. I love this picture – I’d like to be this version of Pele, with her boldly painted face and cute kiss curled hair giving her a heady, alluring appeal that I can’t take my eyes from…read more…
The Trials of Arthur – Revised Edition By Arthur Pendragon & CJ Stone
(Published by The Big Hand 2012 Kindle version ISBN 0956416365 )
When the mythical once & future King Arthur Pendragon retreated with 12 of his knights to a mountain cave, to lie asleep and awaiting the clarion call to arise and come forth to Britain’s aid, I very much doubt he suspected he’d be re-incarnated in the twentieth century as a “mad biker Druid Eco-warrior cider-belly King of all Britain, with knobs on it”.
This updated and revised biography of our modern-day King Arthur tells the story of the wild west-country biker, previously known as ‘Mad Dog’, ‘Geronimo’, ‘Ace’, or ‘Wolfdog’, who changed his name by deed poll to King Arthur Pendragon and stepped up to the defence of Albion…read more…
The Wall of Girls
2. Kathy Acker
Kathy Acker, who has often been described as post-punk post-feminist and post-industrial, in fact first appeared in print as part of the burgeoning New York literary underground of the mid 70s. She remained on the margins of the literary establishment, only being published in small presses until the mid 80s, thus earning herself the epithet of literary terrorist. 1984 saw her first British publication, her shit-kicking hell-hole of a novel –Blood and Guts in High School…read more…
The Book of Baphomet by Nikki Wyrd and Julian Vayne.
(Mandrake Press 2012 ISBN 9781906958466)
In many ways this book does exactly what it says on the label. If you want to know anything about Baphomet, then this is your book, as it covers the historical origins of the name, cowled and candled in ceremonial magic, from the persecution of the Templars, through Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley and Death Metal to current-day Chaos Magic…read more…
The Wall of Girls
1. Cat Anna
Also called Black Annis
Image by Jenny Clarke
taken from the cover of
Leicestershire Legends retold by Black Annis
Bob Trubshaw ISBN 978 1872 883 779)
Deep in the Dane Hills area of Leicester there is said to be a dark dank cave inhabited by a terrifying woman-creature known as Cat Anna. Her skin is blue, her hair is matted unkempt fur, her fingernails are blood-blacken claws, her tongue long long and sandpaper rough, she is naked apart from a girdle made of babies-skulls…read more...
Bella Basura’s “The Wall of Girls” is an evolving site-specific installation of prints, photographs & postcards that has been following me around and building up volume for many years. Acquiring new images and losing others each and every time I move house.
In the past three years “The Wall of Girls” has been dismantled and re-assembled five times. As if my concept of womanhood is in flux.
My most recent move happened the weekend before last, and the girls were down, transported and back on the wall overlooking my writing desk within two days. I need them there. They are my barometer of myself.
Have no doubt , they will be edited, moved around and settled in over the next few months, just as I will become solidified, consolidated and celebratory. Thankful for the stillness.
I offer this projected sequence of blogs to be a snapshot-memoria to “The Wall of Girls 2013 – Goddesses, Heroines and Role Models”.
Steve Moore’s Somnium is a rare and affecting novel where all is not as it seems…finally completed five years ago, drawn from decades of detailed personal dream diaries, the book was published by Mark Pilkington’s Strange Attractor Press …the plot-line is a compelling mobius strip, without formal chapters. As layers of story within story, dream within dream, book within book are built up and burnished, the hard outlines between author, writer and fictional character meld and coalesce…for me, Moore’s prose is exquisite and alluring, swelling with subtlety and suggestion, and it will bear repeated reading.
“May not the stars be plucked and set into a sparkling crown? The tails of comets wove into a scarf that trails all sequinated through the sky?” (from Somnium by Steve Moore)
I say, the curling smoke-ring arabesques of dream-webs may be retted, carded and spun into black thread words on the white virgin sheets of a book. Only to unfurl and unravel again, speechlessly settling inside the moonlight of my imagination. Steve Moore’s novel tells me this much, at least, is possible.
A full version of Jean Dark’s review of Somnium by Steve Moore is printed in the latest copy of Pentacle Magazine.
Other Book reviews by Jean Dark may be found here
13th August 2012