Books I read in May

In Satnav We Trust, by Jack Barrow

An enjoyable romp through the historic counties of England, with mad speedboat drivers, curmudgeonly campsite owners, wibbly wifi connections, a serendipitous Satnav with a mind of its own, and ruminations upon rationalism as a possible enemy of the search for meaning.

Having followed the saga of this journey via Facebook updates at the time, it was fun to read the whole thing. If it were my journey, I think I’d have done a bit more research into places of interest before I started, but there’s something to be said for serendipity. And stopping off to see friends along the way.

Open-minded rationalists, skeptical mystics, and ramblers on a shoestring budget will enjoy this book. And doubtless many others too.


Gods of Jade and Shadow, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Absolutely gripping account of what happens when Casiopeia Tun, the poor relation of the Leyva family, opens a mysterious box in her grandfather’s room. It brings to life the world of the Popol Vuh and the gods of jade and shadow, the mysterious landscape of the Yucatan peninsula, and 1920s Mexico. If you like Neil Gaiman, Ekaterina Sedia, Seanan McGuire, or Katherine Arden, you’ll love this book.

The Book of Dreams

I have started created a new website for the esoteric writings of Mark Goddard: The Book of Dreams.

The Book of Dreams was an unfinished typewritten manuscript by Mark Goddard. He had wanted it to be published, and gave it to his friend, Art Quester, who gave a copy to me after Mark was tragically killed in a car accident in 1988.

The book was intended as a linked series of visualizations and (if I recall correctly) was partly inspired by Mark’s spirit guide.

I only met Mark a few times but he was a friend of two of my dearest friends, and I know that he loved Jack Scout Cove in Lancashire, which is where I did my first ever Pagan ritual.

I sent it to a publisher in the mid 1990s but they said it was not commercially viable. I have kept it ever since, wondering what to do with it.

Finally it occurred to me that if he was around now, he would have put it all up on the internet.

I hope that he would approve of his writings finally being available in this form.

Celtic festival names

Some time back I posted a video about cultural appropriation and Lora O’Brien pointed out that the modern Wiccan and Pagan usage of Sabbat names is appropriated from Irish culture and language.

Gerald Gardner and other early Wiccans did not use the Irish names for these festivals — that happened later. Wicca is not a Celtic religion.

It does seem wrong to lift these festivals out of context. There are other old names for these festivals in England and Wales (the Scots Gaelic has similar names to the Irish Gaelic, but pronounced differently).

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