Friday 16 December 2011

Grimr's Grimoire: a Book of Myths from the Spider's Web?

I'm contemplating writing a book called Grimr's Grimoire: a Book of Myths from the Spider's Web.  If I do, it will contain poetry, lore, myths, praxis, theory, and other things in it.  Writing it, I'm not concerned with.  I can do that easily, as I have time.  My big concern is the cost to get it published and if I could sell enough copies to offset that cost.  I figure I need to sell about 500 copies to break even.  Here's my tentative list of chapters:

1. Introduction
2. The Prophet and the Mirror
3. The Priest and the Bridge
4. The Poet and the Cauldron
5. The King and the Wasteland
6. The Wanderer and the Mask
7. The Mistress and the Blade
8. The Heidr and the Ten Thousand Things
9. The Vordr and the Compass
10. The Grimr and the Spider's Web
11. The Tvennr and the Eternal Dance
12. The Nagara and Everything
13. Ex nihilo

~Muninn's Kiss

Friday 2 December 2011

Grimr Reading List

The following is an incomplete reading list.  I put this together randomly over the last two hours.  There is no particular order to it, and it is missing the authors currently.  Additionally, to make it a complete list, I would want to provide a summary of each book, my opinion of them, and a link either to a place it is available to read online in the case of older books, or a place to purchase them for the newer books, if either of these exist.  Some of these are easily obtained.  Others are out of print but not out of copyright and very hard to find, especially at a reasonable price.  The first section is a list of books.  The second is a list of magazines and periodicals.  Anything on either of these list, I recommend or it wouldn't be on here.  Some, however, I have not read and/or do not currently have access to.  I have included some that are highly recommended by people I respect.  I have included some that I know the author and the author's work, and hence know the book listed will be good.  I have included some that I haven't finished reading but recommend it based on what I've read so far.  I have included fiction and non-fiction, history and myth, religious texts and magic texts, esoteric and exoteric texts.  Some people will like some things on this list, others will not, but will like other things.  Some of these are based on years of research, some completely intuitive.  Some are very intellectual, some are very mystical.  Some are very practical, some are purely theoretical.  But all are related to my path, my walk, my stream, and I recommend all of them, just not to everyone.  Take it for what it is.  Your mileage may very.

Book List

  • The White Goddess
  • The Golden Bough
  • Tubelo's Green Fire
  • Riding Windhorses
  • Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession
  • Share My Insanity
  • Goddess Initiation
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition
  • Etheric Anatomy
  • The White Wand
  • Evolutionary Witchcraft
  • Kissing the Limitless
  • Spiral Dance
  • Magic and Witchcraft
  • The Zohar
  • Practical Chinese Medicine
  • The Web That Has No Weaver
  • Tao Te Ching
  • I Ching
  • The Herb Book
  • A History of Medieval Christianity: Prophecy and Order
  • Religious Dissent in the Middle Ages
  • Witchcraft in the Middle Ages
  • A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, Pagans
  • Satan: The Early Christian Tradition
  • Dissent and Reform in the Early Middle Ages
  • Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages
  • Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World
  • The Prince of Darkness: Evil and the Power of Good of History
  • Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages: The Search for Legitimate Authority
  • A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence
  • Paradise Mislaid
  • Inquisition
  • I Asked For Wonder
  • Plants of Life, Plants of Death
  • Primal Myths
  • Goddess of the North
  • The God of the Witches
  • The Elements of the Grail Tradition
  • The Jewish Book of Days
  • The Kabbalah: The Essential Texts From the Zohar
  • The Book of Qualities
  • Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies
  • Stillness Speaks
  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia
  • Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy
  • The Elements of the Runes
  • The Art of War
  • Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
  • A Field Guide to Irish Fairies
  • The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Myth and Legend: A Definitive Sourcebook of Magic, Vision, and Lore
  • The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind
  • Magic that Works
  • Aradia: Gospel of the Witches
  • Roles of the Northern Goddess
  • Pillars of Tubal Cain
  • Thorns of the Blood Rose
  • The Formation Of A Persecuting Society: Power And Deviance In Western Europe, 950-1250
  • Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation
  • The Origins of European Dissent
  • Diodorus Siculus: Library of History
  • Lilith's Garden
  • Azoetia
  • Qutub
  • The Roebuck in the Thicket
  • The Robert Cochrane Letters
  • The Complete Brother Grimm Fairy Tales
  • The Book of Fallen Angels
  • Masks of Misrule
  • The Lesser Key of Solomon
  • The Greater Key of Solomon
  • Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed
  • History of the Kings of Britain
  • Book of Invasions
  • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism
  • The Middle Pillar
  • Chicken Qabalah
  • The DustBunnies/MarchHares Big Damn Handout Volume I
  • Black Book of the Yezidi
  • Drawing Down the Moon
  • The Religion of the Teutons
  • The Guide for the Perplexed
  • The Book of Lies
  • The Book of Thoth
  • The Book of the Law
  • 231 Gates of Initiation
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Little Flowers of St. Francis
  • Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Le Morte D'Arthur
  • Living with Contradiction
  • The White Hart
  • Taleisen
  • Merlin
  • Arthur
  • Pendragon
  • Grail
  • Avalon: the Return of King Arthur
  • The Crystal Cave
  • The Hollow Hills
  • The Last Enchantment
  • The Wicked Day
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim
  • One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
  • Aesop's Fables
  • Andersen's Fairy Tales
  • The Traveler
  • The Dark River
  • The Golden City
  • Vellum
  • Ink
  • The Interior Castle

Magazines and Periodicals

  • The Cauldron
  • Witch Eye: A Journal of Feri Uprising 
  • Circle Magazine
  • Witch's Almanac
~Muninn's Kiss

Saturday 1 October 2011

Six New Books, From Inanna to the Grail, From Mongolia to the Modern World

Yesterday, I bought three new books from Night Heron, the local used bookstore, and ordered three from Amazon, which will be here in a couple weeks.

Starhawk is the author of the famous book Spiral Dance.  She is a Feri initiate who went out and did her own thing.  This book, Truth or Dare, is a look at the nature of Power and how to find us in our lives to create change in our lives and communities.  It uses the myth of the descent of Inanna, in several different retellings, to present this idea.  It uses the descent to show how we need to identify and shed off the things that hold us back.

This book, Elements of the Grail Tradition by John Matthews, looks at the test, trials, and initiations found in the Arthurian and Grail legends in the pursuit of the Grail, from the most ancient known Celtic legends up through the Middle Ages, to identify what the Grail truly is.

This book is by my friend Francesca De Grandis.  I've been wanting to get Goddess Initiation since I picked it up in the Tattered Cover down in Denver a year or so ago, before I knew Francesca and didn't notice who the author was.   I was very excited to find it here in town.  The book is basically a year long lesson plan on how to find your inner goddess and your priesthood.

This book, The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, is basically a book of personifications of common human qualities.  A friend of mine from of mine from high school posted a piece about Beauty from it on Facebook and it really touched me, so I found it and ordered it.  It looks amazing.

This book is a guide to Mongolian and Siberian shamanism.  The author, Sarangerel, is actually trained in Mongolia.  She was born in the US but of a Mongol bloodline, and traveled to Mongolia and did the work and study and research to truly know the tradition and the people of her ancestors, then share it with world.  This book is her introduction to the tradition, including rituals and techniques.  It is one of the major sources for one of the books I'm reading, Calling Down the Spirits.

This is Francesca De Grandis's newest book, just recently released.  It looks amazing.  It is about finding and realizing your dreams, seeing your own beauty, and finding your freedom.  I'm really looking forward to it arriving.

~Muninn's Kiss

Friday 30 September 2011

Ylim: Weaver, Seeress, Mask of the Grimr

I first met the Grimr in a book called the White Hart by Nancy Springer.  In it, she appears as an old weaver and seeress named Ylim.  She captivated my imagination when I read the following passage.  The imagery and feel was forever burned into my memory, my imagination, my soul.  I have encountered them in many guises since, but never with the power of that first encounter.  It will forever be what I think of, what I feel, what I know, when i think of them.

~Muninn's Kiss

"It will take more than the Stone, also," Bevan mumbled. The plan weighted him with reluctance, though he could not say why. Other problems burdened him, perplexities of mortality and longing and the lady that he and Cuin did not name. "Cuin," he said abruptly at last, "there is one who is ancient even in the memory of my mother's people, and full of wisdom. Let us go to her and see what she has to say to us."

"Where?" Cuin asked, startled.

"Not far. A few days hence."

It was a day's ride from the Wildering Way, and only two days' ride from Caer Eitha; it seemed odd to Cuin that he had never noted the place before. It was only a valley with a cottage and a little stream, a few chickens and a garden plot; but there was a strange radiance about it all. Inside the cottage sat the old woman working at a loom. She was ancient indeed, but there was no infirmity in her movements or her placid glance.

"Welcome, Bevan of Eburacon. Welcome, Cuin Kellarth," she greeted them.

Cuin glanced inquiringly, and Bevan gave him a rare smile. "It means Cuin of the Steadfast Heart."

"So he has been called since Time began," the old woman said matter-of-factly.

Bevan sank onto a stool by her side. "What is that web, Ylim?"

"I weave the threads of days and dreams," she said. "The days are troubled of late, but the dreams are good. Look."

Cuin came closer to see. The cloth glowed with colors that were more alive than dye could make them. It was midnight-blue for the most part, or so Cuin was to remember it, but it was also hues of moonlight and storm clouds, Pit-blackness and the gleam of distant armies. Through it all leaped the form of a great white hart crowned in silver; it seemed to move before the eyes. Cuin blinked; he thought he saw blood on the stag, but then all went to confusion for him. He turned away his head.

"What have you seen for us, Ylim?" Bevan asked.

"You should be the greatest of the High Kings," the old woman replied, "and Ellid Ciasifhon should be your Queen."

Bevan flinched and glanced sidelong at Cuin, who met his eyes with painful reassurance.

"But that is a dream, Bevan," Ylim continued gently, "and you know the pattern is ever changing. You do not need me to tell you these things. What troubles you, son of Byve?"

Bevan was silent; they all waited for his reply. "Pryce Dacaerin," he burst out at last, to Cuin's surprise. "What of him?"

Ylim stared for long moments. "He has not yet resolved the bent of his mind," she said at last. "He is the father of your sweetheart, and for that reason alone he should cleave to you. But he is a proud and ambitious man, and the love of his child does not always constrain him. I believe you must strive to make him your friend, Bevan, but yet you do well to be wary of him."

"I have not known Pryce Dacaerin to do dishonor!" Cuin exclaimed.

"Nor have I," Bevan soothed him. "And in times to come, likely he shall set my worries all to naught."

"Declare yourself from Caer Eitha," the seeress told Bevan, "and scruple not to call on the power of Pryce of the Strongholds and on the saying of the Stone." Ylim shifted her gaze. "But what thought is in you, son of Clarric?"

"That Bevan of Eburacon is much man," Cuin told her. "Deep and subtle are his own powers, and mighty is my uncle's power to aid him. But if he is to win his throne, he will need power to dazzle the eyes of men of shallow sight. Above all, it seems to me, he will need a kingly sword."

"You are well named, Cuin." The ancient seeress studied them both, gauging their strength. "There is such a sword to be had in Lyrdion," she said presently.

"I do not know that place," Bevan said.

"I have heard of it," Cuin remarked, "but I do not understand what happened there."

"That memory had faded in men when Byve was a boy," Ylim mused. "An age before the High Kings of Eburacon ruled Isle, the Royal House of Lyrdion came to woe. But great was its power before pride overtook it, and great power yet resides in its chiefest treasure: the sword. Hau Ferddas is its name, 'Mighty Protector,' and he who wields it cannot be vanquished by force. Yours is the birthright, Cuin, for you are of that lineage, through your mother's folk."

Cuin gaped in astonishment. "Where now is this sword?" Bevan asked.

"It lies in the treasure barrow at Lyrdion, along the Western Sea. Dragons guard the place."

"Dragons I can deal with," Bevan sighed, "but there is a destiny laid on me that I may not behold the sea."

"I know it well, Bevan of Eburacon. Therefore, behold it not! Cuin must get the sword for you."

"Is it to be Cuin's lot," Bevan asked ruefully, "ever to give up his birthright for my sake?"

"I cannot answer that," Ylim replied, "unless Cuin asks it for himself."

"I ask it not," said Cuin quietly. "Great is your gift of love, Cuin Kellarth," the seeress told him, "and great will be your pain in it. May the Mothers comfort and guide you well." But Cuin hung his head in unease at her words.

They ate with the ancient woman, and they could never afterward remember what had been that meal. Then they went on their way with the enchantment of deep time upon them and the threads of Ylim's web before their eyes. "Who is she?" Cuin demanded at last. "She is no goddess that I have ever heard of, Bevan. Is she one of the Mothers?"

"Nay," he replied dreamily. "The ages wash over her like tides. Before the Mothers brought man to Isle there were the Gods, and before the Gods there were the Old Ones, and before either there was Ylim. She is a part of none of it; she is here still, and no one does her reverence. She weaves."

"Then she is the master of us all," Cuin whispered.

"Is it the dancer or the piper who is master of the dance, or yet the one who made the tune? But Ylim is one who sits aside. She catches the dance in the web of her loom, but I think—she makes it not."

Bevan paused; his dark eyes had grown as deep as distant skies. It was moments before he spoke again.

"It may be that there is One in whose sight she is younger than the dawn."

Tuesday 2 August 2011

The Return of the Dead

Yesterday, I received a new book in the mail.  A few years ago, I read a book called Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages by Claude Lecouteux.  I checked it out of the library and liked it so much that even though I had read the entire book, I bought a copy.  This new book is also by him and I am looking forward to reading it.

 The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind looks like a very interesting book to me.  Here's what the Amazon Product Description says:

"How the ghost stories of pagan times reveal the seamless union existing between the world of the living and the afterlife

• "Demonstrates how Medieval Christianity transformed the more corporeal ghost encountered in pagan cultures with the disembodied form known today

• "Explains how the returning dead were once viewed as either troublemakers or guarantors of the social order

"The impermeable border the modern world sees existing between the world of the living and the afterlife was not visible to our ancestors. The dead could--and did--cross back and forth at will. The pagan mind had no fear of death, but some of the dead were definitely to be dreaded: those who failed to go peacefully into the afterlife but remained on this side in order to right a wrong that had befallen them personally or to ensure that the law promoted by the ancestors was being respected. But these dead individuals were a far cry from the amorphous ectoplasm that is featured in modern ghost stories. These earlier visitors from beyond the grave--known as revenants--slept, ate, and fought like men, even when, like Klaufi of the Svarfdaela Saga, they carried their heads in their arms.

"Revenants were part of the ancestor worship prevalent in the pagan world and still practiced in indigenous cultures such as the Fang and Kota of equatorial Africa, among others. The Church, eager to supplant this familial faith with its own, engineered the transformation of the corporeal revenant into the disembodied ghost of modern times, which could then be easily discounted as a figment of the imagination or the work of the devil. The sanctified grounds of the church cemetery replaced the burial mounds on the family farm, where the ancestors remained as an integral part of the living community. This exile to the formal graveyard, ironically enough, has contributed to the great loss of the sacred that characterizes the modern world."

Saturday 14 May 2011

Plants and Creation: Two New Books

I just ordered two books from Amazon that should be interesting.

 Plants of Life, Plants of Death by Frederick J. Simoons was recommended to me by a friend on one of the Yahoo! lists I'm on.  It's basically a social history about plants.  Here's what the product description on Amazon says:
Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician, did not himself eat fava beans in any form; in fact, he banned his followers from eating them. Cultural geographer Frederick Simoons disputes the contention that Pythagoras established that ban because he recognized the danger of favism, a disease that afflicts genetically-predisposed individuals who consume fava beans. Contradicting more deterministic explanations of history, Simoons argues that ritual considerations led to the Pythagorean ban.

In his fascinating and thorough new study, Simoons examines plants associated with ritual purity, fertility, prosperity, and life, on the one hand, or with ritual impurity, sickness, ill fate, and death, on the other. Plants of Life, Plants of Death offers a wealth of detail from not only history, ethnography, religious studies, classics, and folklore, but also from ethnobotany and medicine. Simoons surveys a vast geographical region extending from Europe through the Near East to India and China. He tells the story of India's giant sacred fig trees, the pipal and the banyan, and their changing role in ritual, religion, and as objects of pilgrimage from antiquity to the present day; the history of mandrake and ginseng, "man roots" whose uses from Europe to China have been shaped by the perception that they are human in form; and the story of garlic and onions as impure foods of bad odor in that same broad region.

Simoons also identifies and discusses physical characteristics of plants that have contributed to their contrasting ritual roles, and he emphasizes the point that the ritual roles of plants are also shaped by basic human concerns-desire for good health and prosperity, hopes for fertility and offspring, fear of violence, evil and death-that were as important in antiquity as they are today.

Primal Myths: Creation Myths Around the World by Barbara C. Sprout is a collection of creation myths from cultures and religions in every part of the world.  The myth I'm most interested in is the Mongolian myth about a Lama coming down from heaven and stirring the waters to bring about the world.  There's a brief summary of it on Wikipedia and I wanted to read more.  I think it would be interesting to write a post relating it and the Cauldron in Robert Cochrane's writings.  The other myths sound interesting as well.

~Muninn's Kiss