New Online Class: Emerging Interpretations of Inanna’s Descent

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I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a longer online course through Mago Academy that will meet seven times over the course of three months. The subject will be Inanna’s descent to the underworld and her subsequent return. I have long believed that this myth deserves more scrutiny than it typically receives. While it is enjoyable at the first read, it is still a complex myth that takes some time to appreciate. More information and registration can be found here.

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White Rabbits I Have Known

One of the things that fascinates me about hare magic is that it continues to evolve. In my book Invoking Animal Magic I put forth the theory that the hare is a vessel for whatever values are strong within a culture, whichever culture that is, and that the hare becomes denigrated when cultural values are undergoing a dramatic shift. In that sense the hare is a symbol of what the culture sees as its strength.

For the ancient Celts, that strength was prowess in warfare, particularly hand-to-hand combat. Here are two European Brown Hares duking it out.

These guys and ladies live in rough world. They fight in the spring, usually during March and April, during mating season. Males will fight other males, females not ready to mate will fend off males, females ready to mate will test males. Brown Hares are not the only species that fight, by the way, but they get the most camera footage.

Americans tend to conflate hares and rabbits, which sometimes irritates natives of the British Isles, but from a Eurocentric point of view a lot of our rabbits act like hares while our hares act like rabbits. We need to get technical for a moment here, however, in order to talk about a very famous hare battle, Monty Python’s Rabbit of Caerbannog. As rabbits had not made their way to Britain in King Arthur’s time, this leporid could only have been a hare. More importantly, King Arthur and his men would have been extremely suspicious of a hare guarding a cave. Here’s the skit:

Today rabbits are often synonymous with magic. While the rabbit hat trick is a standard illusion of magician-entertainers, the phrase “pulling a rabbit out of hat” is used to refer to any surprising and impressive feat that seems miraculous. Then there is the White Rabbit who starts Alice on her adventures when she chases him into his burrow, making “down the rabbit hole” a reference to a fantastic ineluctable journey.

White Rabbit illustration by John Tenniel from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

White Rabbit illustration by John Tenniel from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

On March 9, 2015 I will be hosting a webinar entitled “March is a March Hare,” where we will explore the magical significance of the rabbit/hare. While not neglecting traditional Pagan symbolism, this webinar will have more focus on modern interpretations than my other webinars, as I am interested in the evolving mysteries of the hare.

March is a March Hare
Monday, March 9, 2015, 7:00 pm EDT
Cost: $25
Webinar will be recorded
Register here

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Online Presents

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A very lucky Friday the 13th to everyone!

This post is about some of the changes I have been making (and will be making) with my web pages.

I now have a blog specifically set up for webinars:

hearthmoonwebinars.com

I will continue to post here about upcoming webinars and classes (look for something in the next week or so), but basic information can easily be found on this page. Go ahead, click, and find out what the next webinar will be about. (Hint, it has to do with an animal.)

I have repurposed my name dot com as a hub page to all my web pages.

hearthmoonrising.com

This should make it easy to find everything, as my online presence becomes more and more complex.

More changes are in the works. I will at some point be updating this blog to be more compatible with phones and other small devices. I’m hoping access to posts here will not be impeded during or after the changeover, but I can’t guarantee that. If you have a favorite post, you might want to cache it. Stay with me, I’ve paid my hosting fees through the year, so I’m still around.

I will be updating invokinganimalmagic.com at some point to make it compatible with newer electronic devices and to add more material.

I can also be located at Moon Books. If you’re on Tumblr, I’ve started a blog there. hearthmoonrising.tumblr.com. I’m on Twitter, though I don’t tweet much. I use it to publish updates about classes and blog posts for people who like to get information that way. There are links at hearthmoonrising.com to all my social media accounts.

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The Real, True, Totally Authentic &c

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From Invoking Animal Magic:

In the Pagan view the wolf is simply another creature with whom we share the world – not a separate world, but the same world. She has at times been a poor neighbor, but then again, so have we. She shares our devotion to family and our ability to survive in challenging environments. She is a part of our history and, for better or worse, we are a part of hers. The wolf mother says to us, stop trying to make me what you fear me to be, what you want me to be or what you need me to be. Become like me, temporarily, and let me show you who I am.

Register here.

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Review: Naming the Goddess

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Okay, I’ve been promising to say something about Naming the Goddess for some time, so here it is. I lent the book to someone who refused to give it back, but thankfully I bought several copies. Naming the Goddess, edited by Trevor Greenfield, is an anthology by Moon Books on the subject of Goddess worship. It has a section on more general issues related to the Goddess of about eighty pages and a longer section of about 250 pages on various individual goddesses. I have been reading the book as I imagine most people will, by flipping back and forth between different sections in no particular order. Since the sections on individual goddesses are short, this is a book that you can carry around with you and read during brief moments of down time. In terms of sales, this is already one of the best-selling anthologies that Moon Books has put out, so by that measure it is an unqualified success.

I’ve been following the reviews on this book, and they have been positive. One reviewer said she thought the whole book should have been devoted to more general essays like those in the first section of the anthology. The essays in the first section are very good. Selene Fox’s short history on the goddess of liberty, Libertas, is fascinating. Robin Herne’s provocative piece asks us to consider how certain aspects of myth may be continuing to validate rape culture. My own essay is a response to the anti-Goddess backlash currently trending in the more trendy Pagan circles. Many women have come forward to thank me for writing this piece, although I have a feeling others will scratch their heads and wonder what I’m talking about. If you read my essay and have no idea where it came from, good for you. Hopefully you never will.

A criticism I have also heard is that there are already many books of this type on the market, meaning that there are a lot of encyclopedic compilations on various goddesses available. However, I think this second part of the book does fill a slightly different niche. The “goddesses of the world” texts are generally better researched, putting worship in historical and cultural context and alerting the reader to the process of syncretism, yet they lack the immediacy of an exposition penned by devotees with a true relationship with each goddess. A lot of anthologies discuss personal relationships to the Goddess, but they are more narrow in focus. There are so many entries to this section – over seventy – that while it is not comprehensive, it covers some serious ground. Also, there is a longer description of more obscure deities, such as Aine or Eris, than are generally found in encyclopedic texts. I don’t think this book duplicates anything that’s out there.

I too would like to see Moon Books come out with an anthology with longer essays such as those found in the first section of this one. These articles suggest that there is time and talent for another groundbreaking book such as Carl Olson’s 1989 anthology The Book of the Goddess Past and Present. But we’ll have to wait on that one. In the meantime, I recommend you peruse Naming the Goddess as a potential resource to add to your collection.

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New Webinar About the Wolf

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I am pleased to be bringing you another animal-focused webinar, this one about the wolf and her shapeshifting cult – in other words, werewolves! I will have many pictures I was not able to include in my book Invoking Animal Magic and I will talk about the wolf-coyote hybrids now colonizing the Northeastern United States and Canada. I think this will be of interest both to people who are familiar with these hybrids and those who are not. The werewolf herself is a type of hybrid, being a human in wolf form. I will not be ignoring the sensationalized aspects of werewolves, but this webinar will look at the phenomenon more from a historical and occult-scientific point of view. From the book:

The werewolf is a complex creature that is part science, part magic, part tradition, part superstition. She embodies a concept that has become confused over the centuries as Christianity and science have attempted to understand the phenomenon in their own terms. Fears and misconceptions about shapeshifting have been projected mainly onto wolves, which makes the werewolf a good study on the crazier side of shape shifting.

The Real, True, Totally Authentic and Genuine History of the Werewolf
Monday, February 9, 2015
7:00 – 8:00 pm Eastern Time US
Cost: $25
Attend live or stream later

Pre-registration Required

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Artemis and the Golden Deer

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Is the “stag” that accompanies Artemis really a reindeer doe? A new article I have at Moon Books Blog explores this tantalizing question.

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Animal Art in Chauvet Cave

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I have a post up at Return to Mago this week about animal art at Chauvet Cave.

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Deer in Early European Cave Art – A photo essay

Doe on ceiling at Altamira Cave, Spain. 16,000 bce.

Doe on ceiling at Altamira Cave, Spain. 16,000 bce.


Megaloceros. Lacaux Cave, France. 17,000 bce.

Megaloceros. Lacaux Cave, France. 17,000 bce.


Lascaux Cave (replica)

Lascaux Cave (replica)


Altxerri Cave, Spain. 36,000 bce. Head of reindeer with fox head inside. Photo Gipuzkoa Kultura.

Altxerri Cave, Spain. 36,000 bce. Head of reindeer with fox inside. Photo Gipuzkoa Kultura.

Lascaux. Photo Professor Saxx.

Lascaux. Photo Professor Saxx.


Lascaux. Photo Pline.

Lascaux. Photo Pline.


Drawing by Jose-Manuel Benito Alvarez. La Pasiega Cave, Spain. 12,000 bce.

Drawing by Jose-Manuel Benito Alvarez. La Pasiega Cave, Spain. 12,000 bce.


The webinar Mystick Path of the Deer is on track for Monday, January 12th.
Register here.

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Mystick Path of the Deer – corrected link

The link to the webinar Mystick Path of the Deer has been corrected. Here it is again:

http://hearthmoonrising.com/webinar/

This webinar promises to answer many of your questions, including why I’m misspelling the word “mystick.”

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