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)
Check it out! *Sun* outside! Hotness! Unairconditioned subway cars! Yes, it's officially summer in New York.

And the other thing that's finally official... I am a first degree priestess and witch! The ceremony was amazing. Of course I can't go into detail about it, but it was truly magical and wonderful being initiated by such an amazing group of high priestesses. I am so thankful to everyone who was there, especially the poor men who we locked outside to cook for us for 5 hours in the rain. All the food was totally amazing. Barbecued pork ribs, baked potatoes, grilled veggies, marinated tomatoes and mozzeralla, and oh, the strawberry shortcakes with chocolate cream (insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here.)

My chosen name, Muire na Grian was a bit of a disaster, as its grammar, pronounciation and spelling are questionable, and if spelled or pronounced the wrong way could mean "bitter disgust and abhorrence" or "Mary the unpretty." It gets crazy because "na" in Gaelic can mean "not" or "of the." But my intended meaning is "Mary of the Sun." It could also be "Mary of the Grain" which is also pretty witchy and cool. So maybe it's good that my name has so many possible meanings. I have to accept that as part of the reason I decided to take it, I suppose.

It did pour the whole weekend, but it didn't really matter because Lisa has the ultimate witchy house. It is so wonderful to be able to eat eggs from her own chickens and have a vase of great smelling roses and peonies fresh from the garden.

In other news... did anyone see Sex and the City? I love Ron Livingston. I just don't want Carrie to end up with him!


nycmermaid: (Default)

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