Monthly Archives: January 2003

Imbolc Interview

We must be coming up to a major Neo-Pagan festival – I’m on the radio again.

Yep. Going in to the CBC tomorrow to tape an interview about Imbolc, or Candlemas, or Chandeleur, or Brighnassadh, or Feast of Saint Brighid, or whatever you want to call it.

Now, it’s been a year since I’ve done an interview about my spiritual practices. You can actually dig back through the archives and read my rant about the disrespect shown to me by the last jerk who interviewed me. I did plenty of pre-interview work with the producer this time, and at one point I must have hesitated a bit too long, because she asked about my comfort level using certain words. I admitted to her that my last interview experience regarding the general topic had taught me a severe lesson and made me a bit interview-shy, and she’s assured me that nothing of the sort will happen this time. She was quite horrified at the level of immaturity displayed by the man who put me through that mockery of an interview last February and offered her sympathy, although she didn’t sound surprised. Sensational journalism attracts listeners, after all, the same way sensational journalism sells newspapers. In general, though, I have a very good feeling about this interview tomorrow morning. Mind you, forty-five minutes of the producer doing pre-interview research did a lot to put my mind at ease, and I’ve never had a bad interview with the CBC, in all the years I’ve interviewed with them. I’m always treated courteously and with respect. Mind you, I thought the same about CJAD up until last year too.

No, this will be fine. Besides, this time I know to terminate the interview if it goes in a bad direction. We’re taping, after all.

Barring major disasters, it looks like it will air Sunday morning on CBC Radio 1, which in Montreal is 88.5 FM.

The Hours

I saw The Hours yesterday. As I expected, when I walked into my apartment afterwards, my husband looked up at me and said, “Good movie?”

Now, that’s such a misleading question. Usually it means, “Did you enjoy the film?”, but the phrasing also implies, “Was it a well-made film?”, or, “Is it a bad movie?”

So I kind of shrugged and said, “It was thought-provoking.”

“But did you have fun?” he persisted.

What kind of a question is that? The movie is about death, questioning the right to define acceptable quality of life, and who has the right to limit any individual’s choice to end his/her life at any time. No, the film was not “fun”. I didn’t exactly “enjoy” it. But it was excellently directed, edited, and acted, and I could appreciate that, and appreciate the feelings it evoked from me, and the ensuing self-examination that began as the credits rolled.

I gave up. It was a quarter to midnight, and my husband was almost asleep, anyway.

“Yeah. It was a good movie,” I said.


I dreamed this morning that I pulled out the sleeping bags we took on our camping trip to Pennsylvania last summer, and inside I saw something moving that looked like a little stuffed animal. I unrolled the sleeping bag and found three cats: a full-grown cat, a kitten approximately Nix’s age, and a tiny, tiny kitten about the size of a mouse, with black paws and gingery fur.

“More cats!” I said. “And a tiny foxy cat!”

Evidently my mind was either (a) remembering our return from Pennsylvania to discover Scarlet’s temporary feline boarder giving birth to kittens, or (b) afraid that I haven’t cleaned out my camping gear correctly. Or both.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Maybe that’s all it is.


I’m just back from a wonderful tea break with my oldest friend. Like me, over the past two years she’s been going through depression, reorganising her priorities, weeding out what’s holding her back and creating room to focus on what she considers important.

It’s so good to have a friend with whom you can share everything… yes, everything. The one in whose company you can bring just about any topic up and know that she’ll take it seriously, no matter what. The one who laughs at the same kooky things you do. The one who knows where you’re coming from because she feels pretty much the same way.

We may drift out of each other’s lives every few years or so, but we always drift back. And that’s nineteen years of drifting away and back, baby. Nineteen.

Eep. On one hand, that’s grounds for a “we’re how old!?” check. On the other hand, it’s certainly a reason to celebrate.

We’re quite alike. So much so, in fact, that we joked about our significant others checking in with each other to compare notes, making sure that we were still on an even keel.

Friends are blessings. Some come, some go, but I’m lucky enough to have several friends who have come back into my life some time after our first interactions, and they’ve become the best support system a girl could ask for.

So, thanks, y’all.

Now I’m torn: I desperate want to open The Rebirth of Witchcraft, but I keep thinking I should review my class for tonight, even though I prepared it first thing this morning.

I think the book wins.



Ceri and I have been e-mailing back and forth about various things Celtic and mythological, and it’s been driving me up the wall that I know I have information somewhere concerning these topics, but I can’t remember where.

See, when you start reading and researching things just because you’re interested, you rarely keep notes. It’s just for fun, after all. Then you become more serious, and you make notes here and there on things that interest you. Then the random notes start coalescing into the connections you make between different authors and myths and characters, and before you know it, you possess a body of knowledge that’s impossible to document, because it’s a comglomerate of ideas and readings from all over the place.

We can’t write down every single thing we learn from the outset. That’s absurd.

Nor can we write down where we found an interesting idea, because it won’t necessarily encompass the whole set of associated things that sprang into our minds when we first encountered it.

So what does one do?

Well, evidently one re-reads as much as one can get one’s hands on, and reads with awareness, with a highlighter, sticky notes, and a pencil by one’s side. No, better make that a pencil and a pen, the pencil to make notes in the text (come on, you’ll have to do it sooner or later), and the pen to write notes on the post-its (because pencil smudge son sticky-notes).

One invests in a stack of lined notebooks from an office supply shop and begins to make notes outside the texts, as well. As one runs into ideas found in other texts too, one slaps a sticky-note with the other title (and pertinent page numbers and chapters) at the appropriate spot. It sort of creates an off-line world-wide web. (Except it’s library-wide. Specifically, your library.)

This means photocopies of chapters from books you don’t own (personal use, fair use of property and all that). It means investing in second-hand books. It means asking for books for your birthday, Kwaanza, Midsummer, whatever. It means using other people as resources.

It means documenting your sources, and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.

Why is this so hard for people to do? WHy don’t people understand the necessity of documentation? Why do people insist on making things up, or reading one text and assuming it’s correct? (I love the Internet, don’t you?) Granted, my way is a lot more work, but it’s a lot more rewarding. It’s a heck of a lot more enriching, too.

It also means you can cover yourself in case of difficulty later on when you feel the need to discuss the topic. Shoddy scholarship makes me spitting mad. I also frustrate myself because when I started all this, it was out of personal interest. Now, it’s become something more. And I’d give anything to go back and keep better records, take clearer notes, in those first couple of years. It physically hurts me to see people refuse to keep track of their research in an effort to avoid more work. It only wastes energy, in the end. Sure, you’ve got the knowledge… but where I come from, unless you can back it up, that knowledge is just pretty wall covering inside your skull.

I know the average person doesn’t operate by academic standards. I just wish more people would understand the importance of keeping track of research.



That, gentle readers, is the sound of a bibliophile who has in her little paws on an out-of-print text that�s nigh-impossible to find at an affordable price.

Yes, indeed. The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente. And it�s mine, mine, mine!

The parcel arrived half an hour ago, and I waited until now to open it. Three layers of packing (Three! I admire their devotion to protecting my purchase from the heartless, brutal postal system, but really!) I had to worry off before at last, it lay in my hands. I actually experienced a shiver when I turned it over and beheld the cover.

This is a text written by one of the central figures in the establishment of the modern practice of witchcraft, about the contemporary history of the practice from the beginnings of the twentieth century right up until the eighties. Eyewitness accounts from someone as influential and as respected as Valiente are rare. Everyone has a biased and subjective point of view, of course, but I�d be quicker to believe Valiente than some others. From an academic standpoint, this is a first-hand account of the politics and social struggles British witchcraft encountered as it re-emerged in the twentieth century and tried to settle into something coherent, and as such it�s a valuable piece of history, as well.

Apart from all of that, this is just a wonderful find. Second-hand, it usually runs between seventy and a hundred dollars, depending on its condition. This copy was only thirty. It�s shelf-worn, but no pages are missing, marked, or bent, and I wanted a copy to read it, after all.

New book! Out of print book! Rare book! Bliss!