My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 29 November 2013

Black Friday Outfit

I'm not American and don't really understand what "Black Friday" is, except something to do with post-Thanksgiving sales. Apparently the shops are very busy and in some places, people go a bit mad, waiting outside shops before they open, and tussling over bargains. Beyond that, I know very little. Bane at Goth It Yourself is running a blogging event (and looking VERY stylish indeed) over ::here:: in a velvet and lace outfit. 

This is my all black outfit! I'm not wearing it today, as I'm at work and it's raining. It's my second ever full Lolita co-ordinate. I wore it into town to meet with my friend M. (A sweet Lolita) and as I was going to go shopping and wander around, I decided to go with an A-line skirt with not too much pouf as I have poor spacial awareness at the best of times and I was not being entirely used to wearing a petticoat yet, and thus its added bulk, so I didn't want to knock into things with it. I also feel that A-line skirts look more mature and suit me better as I am not as young as I used to be. I know the jacket sleeves are a bit short on me (one of the disadvantages of being tall through being long-limbed). I am contemplating sewing a wide lace trim to make them seem longer.

Outfit rundown: ⚜ Head-bow - Claire's (with gold skull painted black by me) ⚜ Hair flowers - H&M and Poundland ⚜ Wig - Stargazer, "Pulp" in plume ⚜ Lace blouse - K-Star  (at Camden Market) ⚜ Jacket - Criminal Damage (at St. Nick's market, Bristol) ⚜ Skirt - Miss Posh (secondhand on eBay) ⚜ Over-the-knee Socks - offbrand ⚜ Velvet ruffle shoes - D.E. Shoes, Inverness ⚜ Lace gloves - Accessorize

Thursday, 21 November 2013

More Budget Fashion Tips

Recently, The Dark Victorian posted ::this:: article entitled 'Living like a princess on a commoner's budget' that gave some really good advice about dressing Lolita on small budget. I think the advice is applicable for other alternative fashions, too, and the article certainly worth reading. This inspired me to expand on that and write about the same topic - fashion on a budget - but within a Goth context, and expanding a bit on Lolita shopping too.  

Goth Is NOT Your Priority.
Your priority should be eating healthily, paying the rent/mortgage/accommodation costs, making sure your utilities are paid for (especially if you live in a country where it gets very cold in winter or very hot in summer, or both and therefore one where you may need to pay more for things like winter heating or electric cooling in summer),  if you live in a country that doesn't have an equivalent of the NHS, then any healthcare costs are also a priority, and making sure any transport costs, household expenditures and other outgoings (credit cards, loan repayments, etc.) are all taken care of. Goth, in terms of art, music and fashion, is a luxury. That doesn't mean you can't be poor AND wear Goth, because I certainly don't have much of a disposable income, and I am still wearing nice things. Part of that is because  long before I was made redundant, and then got a part time job etc. I had a job with pretty much full time hours and at that point I could afford to put aside savings, and to buy a few nice things which I still have as I have cared for them, and another part of that is that I am really rather thrifty.

Shop Wisely
I agree with the Dark Victorian entirely when she advises against impulse buys. If you see something, and you really want it, don't buy it straight away. I always think on it, and weigh up whether the money would be better spent elsewhere. Often an impulse buy is something we purchase as a "treat" for ourselves, but the happiness doesn't always last - a nice hot beverage after work, a bottle of wine at the weekend, a scented candle, or whatnot is ultimately is a transient consumable. I give in to temptation and get these things once in a while, and most of us do (or variations there upon), but I try and avoid doing so too often because that money could be better invested in something permanent, or make the difference, as the Dark Victorian suggests, between getting something you really want and not. 

Don't buy cheap knock-off fashion. First of all, there is the questionable morality of buying something that is replicating someone's design work without any of the money going to the designer and which has a higher likelihood of being made in a factory with poor worker conditions, and secondly knock-offs are usually made with substandard materials, not enough in terms of seam allowances and hemming, and with substandard fastenings and fixings (bows hot-glued rather than sewn onto shoes and bags and buttons that easily break, for example) and therefore what you saved in buying cheaply is lost again in repairs and replacements. 

Check the quality of all that you buy BEFORE you buy it, and read reviews. This doesn't just apply to clothes. Often offers that are too good to be true are indeed exactly that, and will end up costing more in the long run. 

There's Nothing Wrong With Buying Secondhand
Buying things secondhand is often a more affordable option, especially as shops like Closet Child exist for Lolita fashion, and there are plenty of vintage shops and charity shops about. 

Look out for cool stuff on Freecycle, local recycling groups, free-to-collect adverts etc. Also look out for swap groups. I gave away a selection of ethnic drums at my old local recycling group because they were too heavy to ship for something like eBay and I needed the space more than the money (at the time... Now I would probably sell them in the local paper!).

In terms of Romantic Goth, Aristocrat and Lolita fashion, the cheapest option is to scour charity shops for bargains - there's a local charity shop to me selling everything at £1.99, and I've found some very detailed and beautiful garments there. You are unlikely to find made-for-Goth or made-for-Lolita clothes in them (slightly more likely to find Goth, almost never going to find Lolita) but plenty of clothes from mainstream stores that are 'Goth-able' or 'Loli-able'. A large section of my wardrobe comes from charity shops. My main advice is to try things on in-store, and to try and get a good view of the fabric in natural daylight because many charity shops have poor lighting, or overly bright lighting, and you can't always detect true colour or fading without standing by a window. Check a garment carefully for stains, tears, damage and for quality of manufacture and wear  - a lot of people see charity shops as a way to dump unwanted clothes, and while charity shops do check clothes before putting them on the racks, some are more careful than others. Another important point is to check the same shops regularly as stock often changes rapidly, and visit a good variety of charity shops. Perseverance is often rewarded with finding bargains. 

The second cheapest option is second-hand on eBay. I tend to avoid new clothes on eBay unless they are from a shop that I know and trust as a lot of new clothes are cheaply made stuff from China and other countries where labour laws are laxer than here and where knock-offs are abundant, and I'd rather not put money towards sweatshops and knock-offs. There is a broad selection of secondhand Goth clothes and other unusual fashions. The important things with eBay are to look at the seller's reviews and rating, and to make sure you get as much information about what you are buying as you can. It doesn't hurt to ask questions, especially about colour (as cameras and monitors can distort that quite easily) and about sizing and fit. Some sellers only give very brief descriptions, others give quite detailed ones, but read all of it carefully. Do not forget to add the shipping fee to the cost - a £3 top with £4 shipping is a £7 top, etc. 

With Lolita, online second-hand shops like Closet Child are really useful, but be wary of shipping fees, especially if you are buying heavier items (brocades, velvets, leather, shoes, bags, etc.). There is also the EGL Community Sales, where Lolitas sell between each other. The EGL Comm Sales can be a bit more expensive than places like Closet Child, as sellers are keen to get the best price they can, often to finance a new brand dress or suchlike. Some items are more expensive than others of similar quality based on print popularity and rareity, item desirability, brand etc. - this is easier to navigate as you get more familiar with Lolita fashion (for example, you will virtually never get cheap Alice Auaa second-hand, not even at Closet Child). 

If You Buy New, Buy Carefully
New clothes in Goth seem to often be the same few brands sold through various outlets for the most part - it's worthwhile shopping around for the best deal as they don't all offer the same price, same shipping fees, etc. There are boutique shops, for example Gloomth And The Cult of Melancholy (Canada), Gallery Serpentine (Australia), and Retroscope Fashions (America) where clothes are designed in-house and as they are often bespoke and small-run items, a lot more expensive. These are the kinds of thing worth saving up for, because once bought they are both gorgeous and lasting if treated well.  For those on a smaller budget, there are often Goth-friendly designs in mainstream stores, especially as Goth has become hipster-trendy recently, and a lot of these mainstream stores are pretty cheap compared to Goth-specific brands. That said, I've seen lots of beautiful dresses for the Christmas season in shop windows of high-street stores selling for well over £100 that are certainly Goth-friendly, but also not really budget shopping! 

New clothes in Lolita come from three main sources - Entry-level shops such as Bodyline and Fan + Friend (both of which have a less than perfect history, but have improved in recent years with more original designs and better quality items. For more in-depth discussions of both shops, do a bit of research in the Lolita community.), indie designers like Krad Lanrete (who have become popular with prints like Mozarabic Chant, and the famous jellyfish of Lost at Sea, and are a Chinese brand on Taobao) and Rouge Aerie (an Australian brand who tend to do colourful prints with a slightly Gothic theme such as sea-monsters, and a skeletal take on the popular carousel horses idea), and then the main brands such as Angelic Pretty, Innocent World, Victorian Maiden and Moi-Même-Moitié which are based in Japan and quite expensive. Personally, I would rather buy secondhand rather than from Bodyline or Fan + Friend, because the quality of brand items, including many indie brands, is much higher, and these can be found quite reasonably secondhand if searched for, sometimes for prices similar to new Bodyline clothes. 

Some new Lolitas get worried about buying "off brand" - things that aren't from J-Fashion brands, but this really isn't a problem and if it looks good, it won't get you a negative reaction from the community. All my bell skirts with pouf (and a petticoat or three beneath them) were never intend for the Lolita market, and nobody has ever tutted me for it.  

Make Things and Mend Things
Learn to sew your own clothes - this costs in time, but it does mean you can have nice clothes for the cost of materials and a pattern, or if you learn to draft your own patterns, then just the cost of the materials, and even materials can be thrifted - especially from things like bedding and larger size dresses handed into charity shops, even from disassembled curtains! Also, the sewing skills for making your own clothes are applicable as the skills for mending existing clothes, meaning that you can repair things instead of replace them, and often repairing is the cheaper option. I wrote an article back in July about the benefits of gaining sewing skills, which is ::here::, that I would recommend reading. Also, learn how to transform broken or worn out items into something new and different, so they can have a second lease of life, for example turning old knee-socks into arm warmers by cutting the feet off when the feet wear out, or turning old jeans into a denim bag. Scavenging materials and finding from old clothes is not just thrifty, it is recycling. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today was Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day on which to remember all of those murdered or driven to suicide for being transgender. It saddens me greatly to live in a world where people will kill each other over something that is really a personal thing. 

One of my friends is a transgender woman, who I will refer to here as only Helena, for her own privacy, and she wrote this on FaceBook, and with her permission I post it here: 

Today is transgender Day of Remembrance, where we take a moment to memorialize the trans people who lost their lives as a result of transphobia, be it because of murder, or because of suicide at the result of bullying or harassment.

Statistics tell us that a person identifying as trans* is murdered once every three days. This does not include suicide or any other cause of death. The trans community is one of the most discriminated-against groups of people, much more than cis-gender LGB people are. Simply coming out with a desire to maybe transition can put a person in danger of attack, loss of friends, getting fired, getting kicked out of the home (often by their own parents), and many other things that most people will never have to worry about.   

What I ask of you is to consider all of the above, and reflect on both the long way we have come in terms of awareness and acceptance, but also the very long way we still have to go. And if you know someone whose gender identity doesn't match what is commonly accepted, be supportive. Treat them as you would treat another person. Stick up for them if they are bullied. Offer a safe space for them to retreat to if they need it. You don't have to understand every minute aspect of our struggle to understand that most of us cannot fight it without your support.

Thank you.

When it comes to those I know who have transitioned, to me, it is as if they had any other form of body modification or plastic surgery, and the only thing that is different to me is what vocabulary I use in terms of new names and pronouns/gender descriptions if I knew them by other terms previously. I guess I am someone who sees gender as very much a social construct, probably because I have never understood or fit into that construct, and therefore gender is not something very relevant to how I see others or myself, so it doesn't really matter much to me whether someone is cisgendered, genderqueer or transgendered. I understand that it is important to how other people see themselves, but that's just not an important thing to how I see them (or myself, which I have written about ::here::). 

People are people, to be judged on how they act, what they say and do, NOT on what their genitals are or what their gender is. That seems like such a basic idea - don't judge - yet it is one that seems to only just be gathering momentum in the last few decades, even after all the hard work of late 18thC and 19thC social activists and those more recently.

Sadly, not everybody comes without prejudice, hence the horrible mess in the world that makes up sexism, homophobia and transphobia - all linked in how they based in the social acceptance of behaviour and characteristics according to archaic gender roles.  Think of how much homophobia is about gay men being effeminate, or lesbian women being masculine, or much of sexism being about how women ought to be meek and caring, and men aggressive and ambitious (in very broad terms). To me, it seems boggling that people develop such intolerance and hatred, and such a lack of empathy as to hate someone to the point of being actively bullying towards them, let alone murdering them. It seems like such a disconnect from basic humanity. Even if you, personally, do not understand, are squeamish about, or dislike what someone else has chosen to do, that does not give you the right to be nasty, aggressive or rude to them. 

Treat each other with dignity and respect, allow people their own choices. If you disagree with them, disagree politely, if you have questions, ask them with sensitivity (and sometimes, if you can't figure out how to ask politely just ask a search engine - as an algorithm, it won't be offended). If someone you know is suffering, and on this day, especially those who are suffering because their gender identity or expression does not fit into the narrow bounds set down from an older world, offer them compassion and kindness. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Being Fancy Everyday

Here's an outfit I wore out of the house a couple months ago - one of my more "put together" ones, for lunch in town with friends, but not considerably more elaborate than many I wear. 

I am a pile of frills and lace, I admit it!
I'm wearing a pouf of a skirt, all layers of in-built and extra petticoats with flock and gauzy layers, a fancy shirt with oodles of ruffles at my neck, a waistcoat clasped with chains and ornate buttons (my own modification), lace gloves, fabric flowers in my hair, silver Gothic jewellery, iridescent sunglasses, and Gothic eye-makeup. Not visible are the plum tights I was wearing to match my hair flowers, and the long black "granny boots" too. Quite fancy, quite ornate by modern standards, but other than the "shiny" and fancy fabrics, not much fancier than many Gothic Lolitas and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat fashion followers wear regularly. I'm rooted in European expressions of the Gothic, but I am a big fan of darker Japanese fashions, so it should be no surprise that my outfits are heavily inspired by followers of those styles too. 

In Lolita fashion, there are plenty of 'Lifestyle Lolitas' - those who wear the fashion everyday, and tie the aesthetic into other aspects of their life, the same as there are plenty of members of the Goth subculture for whom the aesthetic and the mindset colour their entire lives, but with Goth, I see more who wear the more casual embodiments of Goth as everyday wear, and reserve the fancy for special occasions, whereas with Lolita it is more a sliding scale of "relatively fancy" for everyday, to "really, really fancy!" for special occasions. There are, of course, Lolitas who only wear Lolita to conventions and meets, those who wear it sometimes and wear other fashions other times, etc. 

Goth being less fancy does make sense - the original Goth fashions grew out of punk, and were full of stuff like ripped tights, skinny jeans, pointy boots etc. and not of the fancy Romantic fashions that grew out of it later, and there is nothing "un-Goth" about wearing, say New Rocks, skinny jeans, a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt, spiked collar and trench-coat instead of say, a bustle skirt, pointy boots, fancy black tights, corset and ruffle shirt with lace gloves. However, is wearing Romantic Goth fanciness too much for anything other than events? 

To be honest, I think it depends a lot on what you are wearing, especially fabrics - if what you are wearing is made of the very luxurious fabrics and styles that are mostly reserved for 'evening' and 'occasion' wear in any century or locale, then you're probably too fancy for just shopping in the supermarket (after all, such things are expensive and delicate, and everyday life will probably damage them), which doesn't mean you can't wear them shopping if you really want to, only that it's probably not practical or sensible and would be a lot like wearing a ball gown to the supermarket, just a black one from several hundred years ago. 
Totally hipster pose... argh!

Hang on! In these pictures I've got synthetic satins for my blouse and skirt, and there's flock on the skirt! Yes, and this outfit is probably good party wear for a more casual party (and I'll be wearing it to one tonight!) or, when it was originally worn, for a Saturday lunch with friends. I made the outfit more day wear than fancy party with a matte fabric modified business waistcoat, matte purple tights, and 'day' Goth makeup rather than fancier evening makeup. If I wore the exact same cut garments, but made entirely of cottons and other matte fabric, then it would look a lot more like anachronistic day wear. I could have easily made it into more 'special' party wear by swapping the waistcoat for a fancy brocade bolero jacket or an ornate shrug, and the tights for patterned lace tights rather than block colour tights, and the granny boots for fancier shoes. 

This is where I think Lolita's and Aristocrat's influence comes in for fancy everyday wear - a lot of the cuts are full of ruffles, full skirts, and rather fancy designs, but they're usually made of lined heavy cottons, and occasionally velvets, rather than satins, brocades, silks and flocks. The've often got prints on them too, which always seems more casual than woven-in designs, and therefore offer a good balance between having a pattern and not being too fancy for day wear. They have plenty of details such as bows and lace, but bows are often of the same fabric as the dress, and lace the same colour, or a complimenting one. Altogether, and despite being a lot more colourful than a lot of Goth fashion, Lolita and Aristocrat manage to be both fancy and able to be worn everyday.  These aspects can easily be incorporated into outfits that are Goth rather than Lolita, and allow those who want to be fancy out and about, to be fancy without looking like you're going to a party or a masquerade ball. 

My tips: 
♣ Wear cottons, wool, lace and matte fabrics for day wear, and brocades, jacquards, flock, devoré and velvets as occasion wear. 

♣ Prints can add fanciness without stepping up the 'occasion' level, and come in everything from kitsch and rockabilly designs of neon zombies to ornate wrought iron gates. 

♣ Accessory choice can make an outfit more or less special-looking.

♣ One or two 'statement' pieces can be made of fancier fabric and be more detailed without necessarily making the entire outfit more of one for a special occasion.

♣ Sometimes less is better - don't heap on the accessories - one bracelet or cuff can be enough, one necklace, one hair accessory/hat, etc. Wearing too much can look cluttered. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Depression & Things Left By The Wayside

I have suffered from many bouts of quite severe depression over the course of my life. Things are going pretty well right now (well, better than they have been), on that front, but they haven't always been that way, and as some may have inferred from my lack of posting this year, it hasn't always been so good recently. One of the common symptoms of depression is a cessation of doing what you once enjoyed, and over the years, my hobbies have diminished, and each time as I emerge from depression, while I tend to take up a few new hobbies once in a while, so many of the things I lost in the bout of depression stay gone. 

I've just been rummaging through old notebooks and diaries, of which I have quite a few - even before blogging I've often documented myself, not for the gaze of any readership, but as a way of preserving the memory events when my own memory is unfortunately rather fallible, and has been since childhood. I have lost so many memories of my own life, faded away too soon, so now I try and document it digitally and in more old-fashioned ways.  I've re-read accounts of photography expeditions to beautiful ruins, music practice logs detailing a 4hr to 7hr a day practice schedule, the book in which I would carefully staple the poetry I wrote on receipt scraps while working in a supermarket, the daily diaries I wrote, etc. A lot of that is currently missing from my life, and I often complain of being bored and miserable - no wonder! I no longer do a lot of what I enjoyed. 

I will try and take more photographs - and write notes once more in the lined hardback book which contains snippets of technical knowledge I have since forgotten. I will try and keep a diary each evening, as every day has some element of interest to it, however minor. I will try and practice music for at least an hour a day, and write it down in my practice logs (once carefully written in different coloured inks for each instrument I learnt, with a breakdown of what I did during practice and what needed work, and what had improved, with notes of duration of practice and a daily tally), I will try and write poetry again, however awful, and revisit old poems with a view to improving them, etc. 

There are other things that have left my life - I don't do as much archery as I did (and never photographed the quiver I made!), I don't paint or draw half as much as I did, or write as much music. I will also try to live more of a life that is worthy of being written down in ink into my (leather-bound, black, embossed, classic) diary and illustrated in quaint cartoons and hasty sketches,  rather than one that is repetitive and introspective and lived so inwardly. I need to do more, have a few more adventures, and find ways around being bound by transport and funds and lead more of the sort of life that reflected who I was and the creativity that currently remains latent, dormant, and needs waking up. 

Forcing myself to do things rather than remain in my cocoon is something I have to do. It feels easier and safer to dither away on the internet, or sit quietly in the corner and read, or even watch television, but it doesn't help - all it does is add to the guilt that I am wasting my life on not being productive. If I do something, even something as small as writing this, at least I feel that I have been at least a little bit productive, and that makes me at least a little bit happier, and the happier I am, the more enthusiasm I have to do more stuff! 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Paganism, Fantasy and Life

Originally posted to LiveJournal on March 16, 2008, 14:10 - this one is a touch ranty! 

I have slowly distanced myself from modern paganism, as I see to much focus being placed on the mythology, fantasy and ‘dressing up’ aspect, too much focus on the legends, regarding them as reality rather than symbolism, and too many people turning up to rituals in elaborate costume, fairy wings, pointy ears and all. What is with turning up to rituals in fantasy gowns? I have nothing against self expression and more exotic clothes - I've my fair share of flowing gowns and anachronistic clothes, and I love expressing myself through my dress sense (I have even taken part in a stereotypically witchy photoshoot that I instigated)- but I think there is a time and a place, and there is a line between expressing oneself through one's dress sense, and walking around in fantasy-fulfillment, and I think some of it IS fantasy fulfilment. 

Paganism is path that means you HAVE to face reality, because at least in my path, the Universe is the divine, and to run from reality is to run from the divine. If one is running around as if one is Lord and Lady Sparklemoonrainbow of Avalon, in diaphanous gowns and knightly attire, that is all well and good if you're at the Renaissance Faire, or if it's a bit of role-playing, something fun to do once in a while, but it's no good if you are trying to live a fairy-tale in the real world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. There is enough wonderment in the natural world without needing to add to it.

There is a difference between injecting some colour and spice into one's life, and trying to improve one's actuality, and running from one's life into a fantasy. I've fled into escapism, and I can say from experience it's a really unhealthy road to run down, because it is burying one's head, like the ostrich* supposedly does, in the sand when the lions are getting nearer, and as the lions get closer, the distance between you and reality has to get larger for them to seem further away.

Paganism is a theology, a disorganised religion. It is one path of spiritual development and it is no more a fairy-tale than an any of the organised religions, perhaps less for those who do not believe in a specific mythos or anthropomorphic deities (Mind you, to an atheist, it is all a fantasy). Many Pagans bitch about organised religions, but organised religions actually take themselves seriously - even if some members are a bit out-there, but every group has it's percentage of the less-than-grounded-in-reality- and most use their religion as a framework to try to understand reality rather than escape it. 

Fantasy and science-fiction are a big part of my "geeky" life. I have nothing against fantasy, it serves as a lens with which to talk that which is beyond everyday life, as well as functions as escapism from reality, but it is NOT reality, and I see too much of it in Paganism. I don't even think escapism is always bad, as sometimes it is good, but in moderation, but not if it takes over one's life, and religion should not be a form of escapism, but for too many it is

If Paganism is meant to be a path of spirituality, then surely it should be concerned with the real, and not be an escapist hobby. Paganism may in many aspects deal with concepts like magic and spirits, and things not mundane (which I tend to approach half with skepticism and half with belief), but it is meant to about the real world, the one we live in, and should be focused on that, not on some escapist ideal world of maidens and bards and such. Pagans live everyday lives, with everyday jobs, and their faith should be a part of that, not an escape from it. Everyday reality can often be very bleak, but it is better to improve it with faith than to escape to faith, because then that faith is not faith at all, but fantasy.

So much Pagan merchandise is decorated with dragons, fae, unicorns, elves, griffins, and other mythological beings, and very many Pagans really believe in these entities, and it seems as if nothing is being done to promote an understanding of what these creatures are –metaphors, symbols, and old superstitions, meaningful, but not necessarily literally real. I don’t have any dragons or fairies on my altar. I don’t think they’re real, and I don’t see having lots of unreal things in a practice about the very real world around us as a help. I have had daffodils, daisies, roses, leaves, plenty of plants on my altar, but they are real, they are of this world, and are parts of nature. I think too much fantasy can get in the way of really connecting, really being part of the world -because it becomes a way of escaping the world.

We still live in the 21st century, and have the knowledge that brings us. I think it very foolish for people to reject modern science in favour of old superstitions. Things are not necessarily right just because they are old. Humanity is now at a standpoint where it can view old myths, legends, folklore and superstition, and instead of taking it all literally, understand what it means. I do not think we should reject old things because they are old either –things are also not necessarily wrong because they are old- but look at them carefully. There is great power in tradition, in old things. Things gain momentum with time, and meaning, and something of a ‘spirit of time’ like a ‘spirit of place’, and that is not something to be ignored, but that is not to say that to connect with it one has to take everything literally. Mythology is powerful not because of what it says, but what it means  beyond the centaurs and Old Gods and heroes.

I think there needs to be a more general re-assessment of fantasy in Paganism, and the role of fantasy. I accepts that a lot of the modern world is not pleasant, but life has had its dark side in every era, and we cannot improve the world by running from it.

*I know ostriches don't really bury their heads in the sand.

November's Bloggery

In the last few months, I have not been blogging much on account of having other things going in my private life that  have been conflicting with keeping up a good blogging schedule. At some point I do intend to retro-actively post about various events I've been to and thoughts I've had, but right now I don't have time for that. For the next few posts, I will be reviving some old posts from my defunct LiveJournal account - most of which were set to "friends only" as I was very reticent about writing openly about my Paganism, something I feel more open about here. As such I will be re-posting them here (with a few tweaks - sometimes my views on things change over time).