Showing posts from 2015

Latest anthology

I have just heard that another Moon Books anthology, to which I contributed a chapter, has just been published and is now available as both a physical book and an eBook. It is edited by the lovely Nimue Brown, and features a wide variety of contemporary pagan authors.

The back of Pagan Planet reads as follows:

"What does it mean to live as a Pagan in this uncertain world of climate change, economic hardship and worldwide social injustice? What does it mean to hold nature as sacred when ravaging the land is commonplace? How do we live our Paganism in our families and homes, our communities and countries? Pagans are stepping up in all kinds of ways.
This is a Moon Books community project, sharing the energy and inspiration of people who are making a difference at whatever level makes sense to them. This is a book of grass-roots energy, of walking your talk and the tales of people who are, by a vast array of means, engaged with being the change they wish to see in the worl…

Midwinter Magic

Life is going remarkably well for me, the silence on this site owing more to lack of time born of general business than lack of things to talk about. To celebrate the midwinter solstice, a poetic offering of a sort - a pastiche of a well-known American children's poem. How the Grouch Stole Mithras should not be taken too seriously (clearly), but might put a smile or two on a few faces. This poem first appeared in my book Bard Song.

You're so vain...

Part of my new job involves promotional work, getting the degree programme known locally. the college media liaison team contacted the local newspaper (East Anglian Daily Times) who were keen for an article. That lead to requests for a whole series of articles - on wolf lore in East Anglia (Page One & Page Two), witch trials in Suffolk (Page One & Page Two), a shortly-to-appear one on storytelling. There's another article in the Bury Free Press about the course, but I look like some bizarre kind of bobblehead in the accompanying photo - so I've decided that I'd sooner not share that one!
I now have a regular column tackling ethical and philosophical dilemmas sent in by readers. The first moral issue is tackled here.
Today, I also had an interview on BBC Radio Suffolk with Lesley Dolphin on her afternoon show. If you fancy listening, it starts just after the 3pm mark: Radio.

Happy Halloween 2015

Happy Samhain to my Druid and Wiccan friends, happy Halloween to everyone else. Last night my good friend Leo hosted an enjoyable storytelling evening at which I told several tales, and got to listen to some as well ~ horrors from the sea, Lovecraftian monstrosities, and warnings from the sublime M. R. James (recordings of whose stories are fantastic to listen to at this time of year). We were all dressed suitably, myself as Dr Jekyll in mid-transformation.
At the end of the night Leo asked if I knew any werewolf stories - I know several, and have recorded one for Leo and anyone else who enjoys a lupine diversion. I am more than a little fixated with werewolves and always on the prowl for new tales to add to my repertoire.

Pooka's Pageant 2015

On November 7th, 10am to 5pm at Oddfellows Hall, I will be coordinating our annual performing arts gathering - Pooka's Pageant.
As in previous years there will be a full programme of speakers, performers and workshops to entertain people with (all for a mere £4, with any profits being split between animal charities).

We will be opening at...

10am - a talk on Narrative Psychology and its applications within paganism
11.15 - choose between Songs of the Sea with Terry Smith, or Welsh Mythology with Beverley Price
We break for lunch at 12.15 and a chance to share some poetry.
1.15 - Japanese mythology in Lady of the Mirror with Marion Leeper, or alternately a workshop for aspiring storytellers
2.15 - Joshua Harris will be telling myths of the Norse Gods, or if you prefer listen to some pagan themed poetry for disturbed and disturbing children with Robin Herne (i.e. me)
3.15 - Carys Deverell will be regaling us with pagan songs and music
4.15 - Emmalena Louise Ellis will be telling sto…

We Wolfsheads

A somewhat belated account, but the local Pagan Council held its first Camp some few weeks ago. The venue was the field attached to a lovely 15th century pub in Finningham, in deepest darkest Suffolk. A decent number of us gathered, some under canvas and some as day visitors. We entertained each other with talks and workshops on various subjects, and passed the evening with storytelling and song around the camp fire.
Some of the people attending inquired about the choice of name for the event - why Wolfshead? To some extent this choice was to reflect the various lupine traditions associated with our county - such as the wolf imprinted coins of the Iceni Magni, to the coming of King Wuffa and his foundation of the Wuffinga Dynasty which ruled until the death of Edmund in 869 (and the guarding of his severed head by a wolf), to the arrival of the Norman Vis-da-loup family in the Shotley peninsular. Some of us also wonder if the accounts of the Black Dogs of Suffolk are an adaptation of…

Brief update

Stone Stories

Last weekend the druid group I belong to went on a holiday trip down to Wiltshire to visit Stonehenge and Avebury (and yes, we do know they both massively predate any mention of the druids, but they're an amazing feet of human achievement). The weather was pretty dire, but we had a good time and it was nice to be with other people. It gets a bit dull living alone, and it's nice to have company!

Inset is a story about standing stones. I first heard this tale in relation to the stones of Carnac, but I have seen near identical versions told of stones from around Britain and elsewhere. The two notions that animals gain the power of human speech (or maybe just that humans become capable of understanding their native languages) and that menhirs get to drink water once per year seem to be very widespread.

Maybe the thought of stones drinking is mostly just whimsy, but I think the element of Dr Doolittle speaks to a very deep need to be able to communicate with the species that we sha…

National Dog Day

Apparently today is National Dog Day in Britain (which was news to me - who sets these things?) So, as a dog-lover myself, I thought I would celebrate with a tale showing canine devotion to humanity.

Planning for Pooka

In previous years we have held Pooka's Pageant (a celebration of polytheism through the performing arts) in August. Due to an excess of events in that month, this year we have transferred it to November 7th - still in it's usual Ipswich venue.
I am currently scouting for polytheist storytellers, poets, singers, puppeteers, or other performers who want to celebrate the Old Gods and spirits through their performances. Each year we try to get a good mix of cultures ~ previous years have included Irish, Welsh, Greek, Germanic, Scandinavian, African, Arabic, Native American, Chinese, Indian, and Inuit tales.
If you are a polytheist performer (or know someone who is) within easy travelling distance of Ipswich, do get in touch via

Dancing with the Dagda

On July 25th the local druids will be hosting a day of talks, discussions, storytelling, demonstrations etc. celebrating Celtic mythology and both ancient and modern druidry. I will be both talking (about Insular Cetic deities and ogam) and storytelling. The setting is a beautiful 15th century pub, the White Horse at Finningham, a few miles from Stowmarket.

If anyone needs collecting from the train station, this can be arranged - provided you give advance notice!

Details of ticket prices etc. can be found here -

A summer poem

Suffolk Eisteddfod 2015

Today was the sixth annual Eisteddfod in Suffolk, and the first one that I have not actually organised. Instead, this year Fiona Dowson organised it and I took part as a contestant.
There were five storytellers and as many poets. The theme set for the stories was "goddesses", and the other tales told were an account of Macha's foot race, a legend told of Erzulie-Freda and one of her rather misguided lovers, the sage of Ceridwen and Gwion Bach (which one the contest), and the story of Perseus and his mother Danae.
My own contribution was the story of Sekhmet, a near-identical version of which I have recorded from the comfort of my own sofa.

The Golden Road