Dream of Oengus

The Dream, or Aislinge, is an old tale of how the Irish god of love himself finally falls in love with a woman he initially only knows through a dream. It's a lovely, gentle tale which exists as a contrast to all those lusty and bloodthirsty tales of battle and raunchy shenanigans.

When my brain is working again (it's been killed off by all the end-of-term marking and second marking), I'll expand this introductory written spiel with some thoughts on possible meanings behind the story - such as why the swan maiden's surname means aril (the fruit of the yew tree). In the meantime, pasted below is one of my poems about this story which was first published in my book Bard Song.

The Dream of Óengus Óg

Love is not pink, but bright red, Aril bed, where lovers link With chains of gold feather-light, Mute white swan’s wings safe enfold.
Four are my bright winged kisses, That Man’s mate misses, in spite Of the kiss of her “Old Man” ~ How can he compare to This?
I am the heat of the hear…

The Good Old Days

A shortish waffle about the way some modern pagans tend to view a romanticised past and our relationship with history. The past may be another country, but it can also be a blueprint for the future we are trying to create.

When dog could talk

Heard the sad news today that a husky owned by friends of mine has passed away from health problems. Dogs are family and their loss is always keenly felt.
So here is a short story, in a format common to a number of first nations in North America though this is my version rather than one completely specific to a particular culture, to remind us of how important dogs are in human evolution and survival. A number of comparative psychologists and zoologists have suggested that, in the long-lasting relationship between canines and humans, it may well have been the dogs who made the first move and gradually tamed us.
If you love a dog or hold fond memories of one in your heart, remember to help out those shelters and charities struggling to look after the ones that humans have let down through their frequent shittiness- donate some food, some time, some money, or adopt a beast in need of a new pack.

A third way

Had a lovely trip to the Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat in Suffolk with the students today - stunning statues and a wonderfully tranquil courtyard garden. Wish we'd had time to stay longer. Helped to stop me stressing about a very elderly dog who was under anaesthetic for extensive dental work (he survived and is sleeping soundly as I type).

Anyway, here's an end-of-term semi-conscious meander through ideas building around Nietzsche's concepts of the Master-Slave dialectic and developing beyond it to what I consider a more balanced polytheist/animist approach (with some inspirational help from economic theorist Jane Jacobs and American philosopher Lester Hunt). Oh, and for those of you missed the kitchen videos, we're back to baking!

Money, money, money

This is a philosophical meander around issues of value and market worth within paganism, exploring some economic issues and speculating about what (if any) models of economics the various pagan religions could offer to the wider world. I'll probably add to this later, but I'm hoping to generate some constructive interaction with listeners as to how they address the issues raised in this podcast about the ethics of how pagan morality impacts on ways to earn a living - and upon how money should (or should not) play a role within the pagan religions themselves.

What's in a word?

This is another in the series of meandering druidic philosophical reflections (for once not in the kitchen), this time contemplating the nature of language and what we understand by the truth of words. A brief bit of Wittgenstein (but not so much as to make your brain bleed). I'll probably follow up on this at some stage in the future, and see where the musings on linguistic determinism go to.

Telling Tales

I recorded a podcast for my students to help them with an assignment based around mythology, and thought some of it might be of interest to others - so have recorded a similar one here (minus the assignment-specific details). There are lots of ways to understand mythology, whether you approach it as a sacred tale of pagan deities and other figures or are simply interested in stories and better understanding them. This recording doesn't attempt to cover every possible angle, but is a more general introduction to the subject.