nycmermaid: (sphinx gate)
I am reading The Wind in the Willows after a book meme made me realize I've never actually read the book. I've seen countless animated versions, and know the story (at least I thought I did), I even thought it had been read to me as a kid, but I had no idea or recollection of this particular chapter. The animated kids' shows are all about the adventures of Mr. Toad, and his friends Mole, Water Rat and Badger, but that is only a part of the book. In the particular chapter I would like to discuss, titled "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," Mole and Rat go searching for their friend Otter's son who has gone missing. As I read, I was very surprised and marvelously pleased to find that the chapter is all about Mole and Rat's spiritual encounter with the Horned God (Pan).

Some of you may recognize the name of this chapter as it's also the title of an early Pink Floyd album. As I said, it's about Mole and Rat searching for a young otter named Portly. They're rowing along in their little boat when suddenly they hear music that moves them to tears, and they follow the music to an island, and they just *know* they're going to find Portly there. On the island they have a very mysterious, almost spooky revelation of Pan standing before them:

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror--indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy--but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near....

"Rat!" he found breath to whisper, shaking. "Are you afraid?"
"Afraid?" murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. "Afraid? Of
Him? Oh, never, never! And yet--and yet--Oh Mole, I am afraid!"
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

There's so much more that I don't have the time to write down here, just....dude. I can't believe I didn't know about this chapter before.

I suppose it might be hard for nonpagans to understand why this appeals to me so much. I guess it's exciting to me, finding pagan themes in literature that is not "supposed" to be pagan at all. I love knowing that that influence is there, and I hope it appeals to kids the way it appeals to me, and I hope it leaves them with some appreciation for the spirituality of nature.

I love it when children's stories are so completely unbridled in their paganness. The denizens of Fraggle Rock were completely pagan, from their compost-heap oracle to their ritual of singing to the moon's reflection in their pool. The Secret Garden also, it's all about real magic, harnessing energies and working with the spirits of nature. And this book, I know it's a kid's book about the lives of anthropomorphized animals. But it is so beautiful, and so calming, and so comforting, that I just want to crawl inside of it.

If anyone else knows of any other books like this, do share.
nycmermaid: (Default)
Because I want to show you all how I am possibly the worst-read English major ever. If anyone particularly recommends any of these that I don't have bolded or italicized, do tell. I don't even know what some of them are about.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-) Read more... )


nycmermaid: (Default)

November 2013

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