Monthly Archives: September 2010

A Classic Case of Cultural Misappropriation Misrepresented as Scholarship

I am taking a mythology class. First mistake: it’s an English/Literature class, not an Anthropology class. I should have known better.

The textbook, about which you will be hearing a great deal, is Myth and Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology, by Scott Leonard and Michael McLure. There’s a lot of broad, systematic problems with the book from feminist, pagan, and various other angles (scholastic and otherwise), but here’s a nice and easy one.

The French novelist Marguerite Yourcenar wrote a short story entitled “Kali Beheaded”. It’s not a bad story (not great either … though I can’t say for sure since I can’t read the original French), but it’s just a story. Jyoti Panjawani has written an essay on the three Hindu stories that appear to have inspired “Kali Beheaded”.

Myth and Knowing misrepresents Yourcenar’s fiction as an actual Hindu myth of the divine femininea “modern adaptation of traditional materials (Leonard 157)”, as though all she’d done was adjust the formatting from lyric to prose and tweak the language for modern comprehention. No. That’s not what she did. It’s an utter fabrication, published elsewhere (rightly) not as anthropology but as her own goddamn original fiction.

This is officially the first in what will become a long series of posts about the epic fail that is this textbook.

Leave a comment

Filed under scholarship

Mabon Pumpkin Mead

Mabon Pumpkin Mead

Put together from several pumpkin mead recipes on the internet:

http://brewery.org/cm3/recs/10_36.html

http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/mead-recipes.htm

Materials

1 empty 2 gal primary fermentation vessel (food bucket)

1 empty 4L jug

1 air lock

2 lbs raw honey honey

1 lb brown sugar

12 oz diced, baked pumkin

1 cinnamon stick

1 pkt Montrachet wine yeast

1/2 tsp yeast nutrient

1/2 tsp pectic enzyme

1/8 tsp tannen powder

1 Campden tablet

juice of two oranges + twist of peel

water

Process

bake pumpkin after glazing with butter, brown sugar

mix honey and water at 1:2 ratio in sauce pan, heating until foam forms on surface, skim foam

add allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, brown sugar to honey mixture, allow to cool

add pumkin, tannen, pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient, honey mixture, and Campden tablet to primary fermentation vessel

24 hours later, add yeast to the juice of two oranges. give 1-2 hours to become frothy

add yeasty orange juice, twist of orange peel to must

rack in 1 month, again 6 weeks later, again 6 weeks later

bottle at 6 months if clear, consume at Mabon year after year

Leave a comment

Filed under hedonism, witchcraft

Tarot in the Next Space

It’s been quite a few months since I made it out to the First Friday extravaganza in the crossroads. I think it was in April or May when Aradia and I discovered the Next Space. I happened to comment to Aradia that it would be fun to do Tarot readings as performance art – to be producers of the First Friday experience, rather than consumers; the venue owner, Tyler, said “Do it here!”

Aradia actually started doing it before I did. The Friday night event turned out to be harder for me to schedule around than I originally thought. There was more than enough interest for two readers, so when we finally made it back to the First Friday scene, I came along to try my hand.

I’ve been reading tarot for almost fifteen years and I’ve done a few rounds of the coffee-house scene, but I’ve never done public readings of that nature before. It was among the most liberating and enlightening experiences of my magical career. There was a lot of psychic “static”, yes, and shouting over the band in the other room was a chore, but the readings and meanings have never come more clearly.

I used my old friend, the Robin Wood deck, and for the first time in my practice I actually had parts of the cards “popping up at me” – the visionary moments that some people describe having when they lay cards. Every time I thought I was going too far, reading too much into something … that was when I was closest on target, though I think people appreciated me backing off to let them process some of the more negative things that came up. And I was pretty blessed as far as negativity goes: I got to tell almost everyone that it’s going to be “happily ever after”, at least once they get the bullshit out of the way.

There were a lot of court cards; Pages (Pentacles and Swords, in particular) were very common, especially with the younger college girls, and I saw quite a few Knights of Rods (two I’m pretty sure were illicit lovers, one was someone’s soldier son). I used the Twin Pillars spread, which I found to be very useful for people’s general interests. I wish I were more adept at the Twelve Houses spread that Aradia favors – there were a couple people in particular that I think would have benefited from that – but I think it was advantageous for us to use different spreads as well as different decks. In particular, I would like to combine the two: replacing the Pillars with the Twelve Houses, but continuing to use the central cross.

As arranged on my last major vision quest, all my prophesies were offered in the name of Apollo, and the Sun came up in more than three-quarters of the readings.

The experience was draining, but it was also exhilarating. I was high on the power all night, and when I woke up this morning I was still drained, but none of my circuits were blown. I can’t wait to do it again next month.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Midsummer Mead

I racked my first batch of midsummer mead at the same time I did the Beltane. The black cherry flavor was somewhat spontaneous, and the recipe would work as well with any summer fruit substituted. The flavor was potent, but definitely needed more time to meld and harmonize. Aradia – whose palate is much more refined than my own – described it as having two entirely separate flavors, which didn’t quite get along yet. By the time it’s bottled and drank, though, I think it will be beautiful.

Midsummer Mead – Black Cherry Melomel

Materials
1 empty 4L jug
1 air lock
2.5 lbs raw honey honey
32 oz. bottled black cherry juice
1 pkt dry wine yeast
yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
acid blend
tannen
water
Process
sanitize jug & airlock as described in manuals
fill jug with water, honey, nutrients. shake well
add yeast, shake again
insert air lock
incorporate bottle-shaking into midsummer ritual
rack after 2 weeks
rack again after 1 month, topping off as necessary
rack again after 6 weeks, topping off as necessary
takes about three months to clear from first fermentation
bottle at 6 months
drink at midsummer, year after year.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hedonism, witchcraft

Beltane Mead

I just racked and sampled my Beltane mead the other day, so I thought I’d share the recipe. This was my first attempt at incorporating meadmaking into a sabbat ceremony, and I think it’s gone pretty well. Our Beltane celebration took place out at Camp Gaea, which made the operation just a little tricky: packing and prepping everything I could possibly need. Since it was, of course, a bonfire ritual I did all the prep work in the morning – measuring and mixing everything into the honey and water in the jug I used as a primary fermentation vessel- and, because it was a bit chilly this year, kept it near the fire. We did our ritual, and shortly before the culmination (my first cone of power ever), passed the jug around and had everybody dance with it as we danced around the fire, raising power.

I could still feel that power as I racked and sampled (making the appropriate offering to Dionysus, of course) the product, to make sure it was progressing as planned. (Ho, boy could I feel that power. Zing!) Also, very tasty.

Beltane Mead
A recipe refined from experiments with Jug Mead, designed to be made during the sabbat ritual and drunk when the wheel of the year has completed another rotation.

Materials
1 empty 4L jug
1 air lock
3 lbs raw honey honey
1 pkt Lavlin brand EC-1118 wine yeast
yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
acid blend
tannen
water

Process
sanitize jug & airlock as described in manuals
fill jug with water, honey, nutrients. shake well
add yeast, shake again
insert air lock
incorporate bottle-shaking into beltane ritual dance
rack after 2 weeks
rack again after 1 month, topping off as necessary
rack again after 6 weeks, topping off as necessary
takes about three months to clear from first fermentation
bottle at 6 months
drink at beltane, year after year.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hedonism, witchcraft