This is another entry in my series titled The Postmodern Druid, in which I work to contextualize this crazy religion we’re so fond of within postmodernity — something its practitioners often resist. Today I want to talk about postmodernity itself, the condition of the world we live in. Druids and other neo-pagans often sneer at postmodernity, claiming they’re trying to get to a world, or at least a wordview, preceding it. But the thing is, without postmodernity our alternative religions wouldn’t exist!
If you take a look at my About page, you can see that I’m an academic as well as a magician and all around weirdo. I also recently declared myself a druid I’m trying it on and seeing how it fits. So far it works for me better than Wicca did. However, even in such a great overall community there’s still some anti-academic bias. And that, for obvious reasons, makes me feel a bit odd. So I thought I’d address that here, in a semi-regular series I’ve been considering for a while. So here’s the first entry in The Postmodern Druid.
So did you see A Wrinkle in Time? You should do that, if you haven’t. I’m not going to tell the joke about you going and doing that, because it would take a while, but if you haven’t, consider it something to do. I wanted to write something about the film and the book, since I basically grew up on the latter. In a couple of odd ways, the film is actually better.
Hiatus over! I may be sorta slow-blogging a bit until I get back on my feet (literally in some cases — I’m experiencing some pain in my legs, yay the processes of time). However, I’m back and I wanted to come out of the gate swinging. Like probably most of you, I saw Black Panther recently, and it was fantastic. I want to write about the Panther ritual itself as it is in the movie.
I thought I’d go for one of the obvious choices in my own musical history and read some Blue Oyster Cult! I chose Cultosaurus Erectus, given that it’s considered the band’s greatest album by certain malcontents — that is to say, once upon a time, the fan club’s president wrote a piece that was basically “fight me, this underrated album is actually the best.” I can appreciate that. But the first track on this album is also the whole reason I got into the band at all. And the whole album is crazy.
You ever wonder how reading actually works? I don’t mean the most fundamental kind of reading — you know, looking a word and knowing what it means. However, there’s actually not much difference between the two kinds of reading. What I do mean is the kind of reading where you finish a poem and you know what it meant — not what it said, but what it meant. I find my students often don’t know the difference. So I’m pretty good at explaining it. I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. At a simple level, the way you read a poem is the way you read a tarot card or a painting or a situation. It’s all about triangulation.
Last time, I nerded out a little, and then we covered the first portion of A Passion Play, the prog rock concept album by Jethro Tull. Here’s part two, in which we meet the devil himself.
Let’s take a break from this Daggerfall mess. Here’s a Halloween special! It’s a day early for ye olde posting schedule, so don’t expect to see anything Wednesday. Halloween is the time, in the northern hemisphere at least, where we feel the presence of the dead close to us. So what better than an album about death and rebirth? Nothing, that’s what! Let’s talk about Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play.
It’s a bright, sunny day in early May. Highway 460 is revealing delights I, who grew up along it, have never imagined. Soon-to-be pumpkin patches vie with tiny post offices for our attention. My wife and I are driving nearly two hours, from my empty childhood home, to visit my mother in the hospital. We’ve had a hard few days. I was in the hospital for some routine tests, which came at the end of days of fasting. Yesterday I thought my mother was dying, and we drove over three hours to see her, then two, at midnight, through deer-crossed night roads, to sleep. And we are discussing how lovely and remarkable old gospel music is. This is odd, because I am a vaguely heathen chaos magician and my wife is a Buddhist-flavored atheist.
In this second post, I’ll be writing some more about the magic in the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Last time I wrote about Cúchulainn’s evocation of the waters, as well as the other elements, to help defend a ford from invaders. This time I want to write about when Cúchulainn nearly dies and a fairy comes to help him.