September 2004 Newsletter
1) Judith's Ramblings
- Judith's Ramblings
- Product Spotlight
- Book Review
- Ritual Workings
We have a CHOCOLATE named after us!! No joke - Organic Dark Chocolate - New Moon , 74% cocoa, From Dagoba Organic. And here you thought my chocolate obsession would just result in more chocolate freebies from us. Nay - we have our own chocolate bar now! *grins* OK it just *happens* to have the same name but how cool is that?
Are you going to Witchfest England? This is looking like it is going to be excellent with a WAY lower number of attendees so there will be lots of opportunities for chatting plus excellent workshops and talks and the ability to get in to what you want, when you want. This will be a super excellent one so I strongly recommend going! If you want to learn about *real* witchcraft, check out Ralph Harvey's talk. I understand he is running the "Order of Artemis" one of the older traditional witch covens in England. His coven is listed in the "Encyclopaedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism" under "Order and Coven of Artemis". There are also other great speakers so do try and pop by - there are tickets left last I heard so there is still time to go! Please stop by and say hi if possible - things are more quiet between 6pm and 8pm if you'd like to gab!
Would you like to help us win best online shop this year? Please cast your vote here http://www.witchcraft.org/polls/fillsurvey.php?sid=10 and you will have a voice in voting for the best online shop (us I hope!) and best real world shop, best author, best film and more! Please help us out and make sure your other favourites win!
This has been a really weird month here at New Moon central but perhaps what with Mercury going retrograde and all, people just got weird. Also, the Easter holiday coming so close to the May bank holiday weekend always mucks me up and I didn't go to EasterCon this year for a change (it was in Blackpool...) so it's been all out of wack. I hope everyone is enjoying Beltane and the long bank holiday weekend or just the weekend in style! It is times like this I miss my coven back home. While it has been 8 years and I have enjoyed the break in teaching and running a coven and the related responsibilities, I sense that my time is now short as I believe I have a few possibilities for ritual sites but folks - please keep those peepers open for me!
Don't forget the NEW MOON MOOT starts in June - 2nd Wednesday of the month in June and we'll have lots of chat and fun. This is for asking questions about pagan stuff, chatting with people, making new friends and having fun. No pressure to join a coven, no pressure to do anything really - even chat. If you'd like to be silent which it won't be too exciting if everyone is, that is cool too. This is just a chance to sit and chat and share stories and I'll always have a few reference books with me so if there are questions no one can answer, there will be a bit of extra info available as well.
Witchy home parties have taken off with a huge BANG! We're going to re-evaluate our 2h travel policy and see if we can make it go further for weekends - so perhaps if someone is 3h away we could do a party on a Saturday or Sunday and do a double party for a little longer. It really depends if things keep picking up steam as they have been! I think I'm almost fully booked for May but PLEASE DO book your parties for the few remaining May dates and of course in to June, July and August and beyond - whenever you'd like them. For catalogue parties, Sticks, Wicks & Scents is the most popular because it is the easiest with freebies and handouts. For ones I travel to, the Divination party has been the most popular as I give everyone who wants one a free tarot reading.
Did you see "Fortean Times" mention our home parties? It was super fabulous!! It was a cute, funny article but with 3 columns, we were the whole middle one - I was so excited!
I will be hosting a Divination party in Didcot likely in June or July so if you can't host one but want to attend one, let me know and I'll add your name to the list and let you know when it will happen. It will be at "LadyPace" in Didcot by the Tandoori House restaurant near Pindemonium if you're wondering how to get there (so great parking!). No date has yet been set though so let me know interest and I'll let you know a date when it is set!
Hey - are ya booked in to EasterCon 2005 or WorldCon yet? If you read fantasy or SciFi or just like to hang out with people who do, these are a *MUST* for your calendar. EasterCon 2005 is being run at the FABBO Hanover Hinkley hotel which I really, REALLY enjoyed when I was there last. They do discount meals for fans, they have great staff, great rooms and since the con takes over the whole place, we have a GREAT time. It is being run by the hugely successful Paragon crew so I'm really looking forward to it. http://www.paragon2.org.uk/ if you'd like to learn more
WorldCon - what can I say (besides that I hope the Japanese win it next)? It was a FANTABULOUS event when I attended in Toronto and I can't recommend it highly enough. For those who have admired my pet shoulder dragon in bronze with the opal eyes, there will be more on sale at WorldCon as the artist is going to be trading there. I loved the room parties, the publisher's previews of what's coming up, the author talks and panels, the "Koffee Klatches" and everything about it. As a newbie, it was made easy to have fun at and being at home made it even more special with seeing old friends I hadn't seen for 10 years in some cases. WorldCon is just great and with it being in Glasgow instead of somewhere in the US, it makes it even more special. Why not drop by the website and give it a gander to see if you'd like it? http://www.interaction.worldcon.org.uk/ At the very least if you neet me at a moot and then go, you'll know me so you'll know at least one person there! *grins*
2) Product Spotlight
Sometimes we bring in a product because it makes us laugh so much or really strikes us with the design or just useful functionality. This piece was both well done and made us laugh!
Why choose the lesser of two evils?
CTHULHU - Dread Demon of the Dismal Depths
Evoking the chaotic depths of Nature and the human subconscious.
Monsters can be fun!
If you like gothic imagery, you're bound to fall for Oberon's 6" wall plaque of this aberrant, abominable, absurd, abysmal fellow! The primordial monster, Cthulhu, originally penned by the fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft, has captured the imagination of millions.
Loosely based on one of Earth's most mysterious creatures, the Giant Squid, Lovecraft describes Cthulhu:
"...simultaneous pictures of an octopus,
a dragon and a human caricature...
A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque
and scaly body with rudimentary wings..."
6" diameter bas-relief plaque, cast in Polystone and Handpainted.
Now, granted this isn't quite as absurd as the plushie, cuddly Cthulu I have which sits at the top of my stairs, or the cthululets that featured in the comic strip "User Friendly" but hey - it *IS* cute, funny and darkly gothic at the same time. I think this is the ideal gift or purchase for that special someone... then run! JUST KIDDING!
Ummm.... I accidentally found this on a baby names site. BABY NAMES?!?! This is frightening... Brief summary of your name: Cthulu
Your first name of Cthulu has given you a practical, logical, analytical approach to life and a great deal of patience. You enjoy working at anything of a mechanical or technical nature, and believe that what is worth doing is worth doing well. When you are interested in a project, you concentrate all your thoughts on it and do not appreciate being interrupted. This name creates a deliberate and methodical way of thinking and speaking; it takes you time to learn but, once you have mastered a subject, you do not forget it.
If you're intrigued and want to read a bit more about this dark lord of chaos, why not check out http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/essay07.asp for fun?
3) Book Review
"Sisters of the Raven" by Barbara Hambly
I have to admit that when I first started reading this large book, I was worried it would be a difficult book to get in to then it would leave a tale so complexly spun that I would have to wait for successive titles in order to get the whole story (Yes, I've been reading Michelle West *grins*). This book, however (perhaps due to it size) did not weave so complex a pattern that I felt I needed to keep reading just to keep things straight in my head.
The book draws you in to the fantasy world where only men posses the talent of magical ability. Schools have developed to train those with better ability and men are responsible for calling the rains, keeping homes and workplaces pest-free and magic is part of the fabric of society. At the time of this book, a shift has come - men are losing the ability to perform magic and women are suddenly able to do what used to be the exclusive realm of men. This causes strife and near chaos and when coupled with a crazed religious man seeking converts and men enacting violent retribution on women for "stealing" their power, it remains up to the Raven Sisters to help restore some semblance of order.
The character development is excellent with a complex cast who you can understand and sympathize with. I found it more Native-American based than most fantasy I choose to read but the feminist tone always scores high points with me. The women are not all high-born, nor are they women who would normally stand out. The scenes are well-paced and the character support is excellent. The scenes are well-described, enabling you to smell the dust in the air, hear the chatter in the street and feel the fear and panic as well as the heroism. I do have a bit of trouble with the women all being named by men and the clearly overly submissive role they are forced in to as it seems purely plot-driven however overall it was handled well.
After getting involved with too many long running series, this book is a refreshing change. A well thought out, stand-alone novel that weaves a complete tale in a single book and keeps the reader with it to the end. I recommend this book!
"Sing the Four Quarters" by Tanya Huff
Toronto writer so I'm biased I'm sure. Of all the bardic novels, I like this one the best. I feel that it spins the tale so well and deeply that this is the book that left me longing for more - a longing not filled by the other titles in the series.
In this world, some are born with the ability to call and command elemental beings. There are four quarters to be called to and asked for help - fire, water, earth and air. The most common talent is the ability to Sing air which allows communication over a great distance with messages carried by these elementals of air. People born with this talent are spotted early by the bards who travel the land and trained to control and use their talent at special schools. To be born with this talent is a special thing - to be born with the ability to sing all four quarters is extra special indeed.
So we meet Annice - one of the younger children to the king who wishes to become a bard. Through a series of events, she ends up leaving her family to become a bard and committing an act of treason against her brother by becoming pregnant. Through a series of events which sees the land nearly invaded and Annice fleeing for her, and her child's life, we learn more of the bards, their prominent position in society, the strong ethical code they live by and their responsibilities to their larger community. We also learn of how other countries view people with these talents as cursed and whereas bards are revered in Annice's land, they are feared and despised in their neighbor's land.
This is a beautiful and refreshing tale woven with expert ease. I strongly recommend it for a bit of escapism!