Books I read in December 2021

This month has been an odd mixture. I finally finished Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals, which I started in November. And I read Rewards and Fairies which is quite a melancholy book. I also finally got hold of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows in book form, for which I’ve been waiting for a long time, but it’s more of a dipping book. I read Esmond in India and found it a bit depressing. Then I read a collection of interviews with Ursula K Le Guin.

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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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Not the messiah

A few years ago, I organized an event where Philip Heselton gave a talk based on his excellent multi-volume biography of Gerald Gardner. He was looking for a title and said that the talk was about the murkier aspects of Gardner’s life. I suggested calling it “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy” which I’m sure you will recognize as a line from The Life of Brian by Monty Python. So that was the title of the talk.

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Everything you think you know about Wicca is wrong

This blogpost was inspired by this conversation on Twitter:

The snark quotient of this post may be dangerously high — you’re strongly advised to put your snark goggles on, because I have a snark hammer and I am not afraid to use it.

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