To the little victories…
To the little victories…
I’m really fascinated by the ways that the Goddess sneaks into Christianity.
In the description of the original, it says: “Detail of the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, from the Queen Mary Apocalypse, S.E. England or East Anglia, 1st quarter of the 14th century, Royal MS 19 B XV, f. 20v”
The six heads are the winds and the guy holding the book and staff is old St. John himself, admiring the Lady…and of course, where would we be with pseudo Pagan imagery if we didn’t have some “foliage” hanging around?
Twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet…? Where else have I seen that lately…?
I like the idea that the end of the Christian world is ushered in by a beautiful woman and a seven headed dragon (not depicted) and I really like this image. Maybe next time you think of the apocalypse, you’ll think of the Lady too…
She neither prays to Gods Above nor begs divine
aid with suppliant hymn, nor does she know prophetic
entrails. Decking altars with flames funereal gives her
joy — so does incense filched from pyres already kindled.
The Gods Above grant her every evil the moment
she invokes Them — They fear to hear her second prayer.
~ description of Erichtho from Lucan’s Pharsalia, Book 6, lines 523-528 from Jane Wilson Joyce’s translation
The last few months I haven’t put a great deal into writing here because I have been so focused on finishing my thesis for my M.A.
It focuses on the classical witch Erichtho and her appearance in one of John Marston’s plays. I fell in love with the witch Erichtho in an independent study on the witch in literature last year.
It is finally officially done and published! If you’re curious, you can find it here: http://scholarworks.uno.edu/td/2020/
I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope I can keep working on this fascinating, powerful witch figure.
Since classical times, the witch has remained an eerie, powerful and foreboding figure in literature and drama. Often beautiful and alluring, like Circe, and just as often terrifying and aged, like Shakespeare’s Wyrd Sisters, the witch lives ever just outside the margins of polite society. In John Marston’s Sophonisba, or The Wonder of Women the witch’s ability to persuade through the use of language is Marston’s commentary on the power of poetry, theater and women’s speech in early modern Britain. Erichtho is the ultimate example of a terrifying woman who uses linguistic persuasion to change the course of nations. Throughout the play, the use of speech draws reader’s attention to the role of the mouth as an orifice of persuasion and to the power of speech. It is through Erichtho’s mouth that Marston truly highlights the power of subversive speech and the effects it has on its intended audience.
DeVoe, Lauren E., “Erichtho’s Mouth: Persuasive Speaking, Sexuality and Magic” (2015). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2020. http://scholarworks.uno.edu/td/2020
I officially reached 50,000 views on this blog today and just want to give a huge thanks to everyone who stops by and reads for a bit!
I promise to start posting new blogs fairly soon. My family crisis has unfortunately taken most of my attention the last few months and will probably continue to do so for a bit longer. I am going to change direction a bit and update the look and feel of this blog as well. Please let me know if there’s anything you like or want to hear about more.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me for the last two years!
Here is the very first review of the new book by Kenny Klein and myself! Fairy Tale Magic, coming out in May on Llewellyn (Amazon is already taking pre-orders). Review by Eryn Bagley for puretextuality.com:
“Klein and DeVoe execute brilliant relationships between engaging archetypal iconography embedded in non-mainstream cultural folk tales with their applications in the setting of practical earth-based magic. The authors elegantly correlate primitive and sacred meanings of magical theory in fairy tales and guide beginning magic practitioners through lessons based in ancient lore. Klein and DeVoe’s research of each apologue offers an impressive understanding of the implications that magic practitioners face when utilizing and calling upon the energies of the universe. By following the precedence set forth in Fairy Tale Magic, those who use the natural elements in their workings will not be steered wrong by the guidance that this work offers. Not only are the stories that the authors chose engaging, their explanations of archetypal significances are concise and extremely valuable. In this reader’s opinion, I would grant this title a 5 out 5 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd for the opportunity to enjoy this read.”
Three weeks ago we had snow and ice for the first time in New Orleans in five years! It’s pretty rare that we actually get cold weather like that down here. People back home in Ohio always laugh at me when I complain about the cold. While it usually only gets down into the 20s and 30s for a few weeks, very few of us have central heat. And most of us live in really old houses that were built to stay cool in the intense heat of our summers. The houses are raised off the ground and have no insulation. While they do an excellent job of staying cool in the summer, there is no way to stay warm in the winter! Two weeks ago, I went into my office, which also does not have heat and found that it was a balmy 49 degrees. Cold like this is draining and hard to recover from, even when dressed warmly.
It was however, the perfect weather to really embrace Yule and Imbolc. Winter is of course the time of death and the resting Earth and sometimes it’s hard to really take a moment and enjoy that stillness and have that break when things never really take a wintry break. The frost and ice actually allowed us to have a winter this year!
But, I will admit that I was happy to have nice weather return. It’s been in the 60s and beautiful the last week and just in time for Mardi Gras! Walking into work the other morning I walked past this:
And so the cycle starts all over again: life to death to life.
Just some quick announcements!
I just wrote an article about my partner, Kenny Klein for The Green Egg, one of the oldest running Pagan magazines in America! Their Imbolc edition is now out and is available in print for the first time in years. You should go buy a copy and check it out! The article is titled “Kenny Klein: A Kiss in the Dreamhouse.”
The new book from Llewellyn is also coming out soon and you can now preorder it from Amazon!
Last weekend, while at Pantheacon, I sat on a Llewellyn panel about death and ancestor work. The Wild Hunt posted a picture!
Last night was my subkrewe’s inaugural march in Chewbacchus, our science fiction and fantasy geek parade! The Party Elves of Mirkwood was a hairbrained scheme cooked up to honor the Randy Thrandy meme from The Lord of the Rings. We had a heck of a lot of fun and think others did as well. You should have been there! It’s totally started my Mardi Gras season off with a bang and is only the beginning! But I was briefly interviewed in The New Orleans Advocate during Comic Con about Chewbacchus, which was a lot of fun.
I’ve spent the last few days at Pantheacon. I’ve been having a great time and I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of awesome people. Today, I got to sit on a panel for Llewellyn on ancestor work and death.
It was a great conversation and I thought I would bring it over here for a second.
Death is definitely one of the things that brought me to Paganism in the first place. My family, on both sides, seem to have a strong connection with death.
My great grandfather was in the the last moments of his life when he suddenly looked peaceful. When his children asked him what he was looking at, he said that he could see his wife (who had died several years before) and that she was standing in a garden, waiting for him.
My great aunt died. The doctor declared her dead and one of my aunts let out the death wail, a traditional Celtic keening done at the death of a loved one. My great aunt sat back up, looked at the aunt who had wailed and said “Can I die yet?” When my poor aunt nodded, my great aunt laid back down and was gone once again.
My grandmother had Alzheimers for nearly 20 years. For whatever reason, she seemed to be scared to die. My grandfather had died when he was 52, they had been married for 35 years and my grandmother never remarried. The night before she died, I dreamed about meeting my grandfather (who died nearly 30 years before I was born) at my grandmother’s house. It was an awkward meeting, we both knew that we had no business seeing each other, but we waited in my grandmother’s living room for those last long hours together, he sitting on the ugly plaid recliner in the corner and me on the small loveseat by the organ, never saying a word. I woke up in the morning and received the phone call from my father that my grandmother had finally passed on. It made me feel better to know that he was waiting for her.
My father constantly talks to an entity he calls his guardian angel, but I always feel Death in the room.
In New Orleans, we are constantly surrounded by death. But we celebrate life’s passing and don’t let it get us down. We see life as a dance that eventually has to end for everyone. For funerals, we second line. The first line of a procession is the casket, the second line is the band. We parade someone home to their final resting place and this always seems like a fitting way to go out.
What do I personally believe? As a Wiccan, I believe that the soul passes on from this world to what many call the Summer Lands. There, the soul is able to take a break, rest and heal. In the Charge of the Goddess, we are promised peace, “upon earth I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace unutterable.” Once the soul has taken the time it needs, I believe it moves on to the next life.
As a priestess, I believe that I’ve dedicated my life to the service of the gods and I don’t believe that this service will ever end. I think the gods send us where we are most needed next, whether that be for us to learn new lessons or for us to continue to give the service that is most needed.
Discussing death is extremely important. I want to make sure that my final wishes in how my final moments and my funerary rites are handled are done in the way I want them to be done. I don’t think that death is scary, it’s simply the transition to the next phase in the journey. Unfortunately, as Pagans, we sometimes have to fight family and society to ensure our final moments are handled the way we wish them to be. I know too many people who have had families who have refused to honor their last wishes. I have DNR signed and I already own my burial plot in the family cemetery. Death is certainly not always easy or peaceful and having these details dealt with ahead of time will hopefully make the process a little smoother when the time comes.
It’s important to remember that those who came before us do still have an impact on our lives today. If nothing else, their blood and their genetic memory flows through our veins. I look at pictures of my family from a hundred years ago and see my own face staring back at me. I don’t know that in life, my family would agree with my path, but I think that in death they understand a much greater universal truth about acceptance. As another priestess said to me, death is the great equalizer and after we die, the minor details of lifestyle choice are no longer important. They don’t care that I practice something differently than they did, they do care about the fact that I am their present and might, just might, bear their future.
Death is the last great mystery that we all have to deal with in our own way. After all, nobody gets out of this life alive.
I just wanted to let you all know that my partner and I are getting ready to leave for Pantheacon! We leave tomorrow afternoon and will be at the Double Tree on Thursday. If you want to meet up, say hi, grab a drink, come yell at me, whatever, let me know!
I will be on a Panel on Sunday in the Llewellyn Suite at 11 AM on “Pagans and Ancestors: Living with the Honored Dead.” Kenny Klein and I will be also be presenting that afternoon in the Llewellyn Suite at 5:15 PM on our new book and telling New Orleans ghost stories! (I have to say, we are pretty entertaining, I promise to keep you entranced!)
(Sadly the whole band can’t come, but Kenny and I can keep you tapping!)
It’s going to be a busy week, but I’m excited to get started! See you there!
We have gotten the book cover for Fairy Tale Magic! I’m so excited! It’s everything I had hoped it would be.
Vasilissa the Beautiful is on the cover, carrying the fiery skull that she won from Baba Yaga.
I hope you love it as much as I do!