A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred

What is a sacred left?

What is left of the sacred?

What is the left sacred?

These are the interweaving themes of this third issue of A Beautiful Resistance, watched over by the Angel of History, its wings forced open by a wind from another world.

A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred will be released into the world 1 February, 2017.

Edited by Lia Hunter & Rhyd Wildermuth, with a foreword by Margaret Killjoy, this issue contains the art and words of:

Erynn Rowan Laurie
Left Eye
Lorna Smithers
Dr. Bones
Rocket
Yvonne Aburrow
Sean Donahue
Loïs Cordelia
Marion Le Bourhis
Christopher DeLange
Brianna Bliss
Lia Hunter
Rhyd Wildermuth
Anthony Rella
Hunter Hall
Finnchuill
Nina George
Nimue Brown
William Hawes

A Special Pre-Sale begins 1 January, 2017.

May all that is messy, degenerate, unrestrained, and feral about you awaken, and may you dance in the winds of history.

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Weekly Update: 8 May

Greetings, fellow travelers.

beautifulfirefrontcover It’s feeling unseasonably summer-like here in parts of the northern hemisphere, but the calendar says we’re only halfway through spring.

The calendar also says we have pieces coming up this week from Rhyd Wildermuth, Fjothr Lokakvan, and Yvonne Aburrow.

And now is also a good time to order copies of A Beautiful Resistance #2: The Fire is Here.

Links

At The Wild Hunt, Alley Valkyrie shares a piece about connections to ancestors and place and home in “Familial Spirits and Old Furniture.”

The Oregonian has two recent articles that may be of interest: “Methodists may be model for how to remain United despite differences,” which describes the decision-making structure of the Methodist church, and different perspectives of people within the church about how they see strong moral differences working out – or not. The second article,  “Pagans find belonging in blossoming congregation,” describes the Columbia Grove, ADF’s work in the Portland, Oregon, area.

Lastly, a sampling of articles about using the right technology and design for people and place:

Speaking of the earth and offerings, consider the following as it relates to the practice of reciprocity:

ecology: the relationships between a group of living things and their environment (one of the definitions from Merriam-Webster)

 

 

“everything breathes the revolutionary spirit”

The following piece is taken from A Beautiful Resistance: The Fire is Here.

“The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices
you are throttling today.”

August Spies

November 11th 1887. 4 men are hanged in Chicago. August Spies (pronounced owgust shpees), Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel.

All of the men die stoically, some defiantly. The state makes sure they die slowly, noosed and then strangled. No breaking of necks for a humane exit for them.

Another 2 men are serving life in prison. Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab (pronounced shvab). 1 man, 15 years. Oscar Neebe.

Another has committed suicide in his cell, dying a slow death from exploding dynamite in his mouth. Louis Lingg.

All this for what heinous crime? For being visible in a movement for an 8-hour working day…

In the late 18th century, many Europeans flocked to the United States seeking work in the land of opportunity. What they found was that pay and conditions were worse than back home. Consequently, they organised. Some agitated. Unions, socialists and anarchists built an uneasy alliance. There were many issues but all came together in the movement for an 8 hour day in a time where 14 to 18-hour days were not uncommon. They called for balance, “8 hours for work – 8 for rest – and 8 for what we will”.

On May 4th, 1886, a rally was convened as a response to several workers’ deaths during a strike at the hands of the Police the previous day. It was a subdued affair, by the more honest accounts, that anywhere between 600-3,000 attended. Many had left by 10:30p.m., when the Police arrived in force and demanded that the crowd disperse. They were, with the speakers descending from the wagon, when a bomb was thrown killing 7 Policeman, 1 outright, 6 eventually. Later thought to be a provocateur posing as an anarchist, the culprit was never caught, nor perhaps even sought that hard. After this, gunfire scattered the square, leaving a further 60 Police officers wounded. Nobody knows how many demonstrators were either dead or wounded as they were too afraid to get official help and found it where they could. At the time rumours started that the demonstrators opened fire first. However, later anonymous reports pointed to Police fire only, who, in the resulting chaos were said to have “emptied” the contents of their revolvers on each other.

In the resulting clampdown many were arrested, particularly anarchists, with most of these associated with the radical German language workers’ paper the Arbeiter Zietung. 8 were tried. Long-time activist Albert Parsons, whose wife was deemed “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”, initially escaped arrest but walked into the courtroom on the day of the trial start to stand in solidarity with the others.

The trial was a blatant set up from start to finish, but public opinion was paranoid and strong. Even 7 years later, a pardon from Governor Altgeld, almost stating this, made him the most hated man in the U.S. for quite some time. The state and mainstream press brought the full weight of their might to bear on the men. Even before the rally the press shouted that Spies and Parsons should be made examples of, were there to be any trouble. Afterwards, they screamed, “Now it is blood” and continued to whip up frenzied copy for the remainder of the proceedings. It seems that organising is one thing, but combined with agitating (i.e. getting people to think critically or question authority) sends the establishment into turmoil. For this is where revolutions come from.

Judge Gary was openly hostile to the men and the jury rigged, most of whom also openly stated their prejudice against the defendants. The Police had long hated the men, who had not held back in their written and spoken exposure of Police corruption and brutality. Spies had been told by friends to watch his back as they had heard warnings of “getting even” after Spies had (unsuccessfully) tried to prosecute a Policeman for rape of a servant girl in custody. Neebe further accused them in his speech to the court and stood firm when Police Captain Schaak laughed at his words, saying that the Captain was an anarchist in the worst sense of the word. All through the case, the defendants were very articulate in their ideas on political anarchy and socialism, as opposed to capitalists, who they charged operated to the same violent anarchy that they were accused of. This, of course, was the real charge, that the men were picked out for being leaders and should be made examples of to “save our institutions, our society.” The prosecutor even said at one point, “Anarchy is on trial”.

On finding there was no evidence to prosecute for murder, as most of the men were not even present when the bomb was thrown, the judge swiftly changed the charge to one of conspiracy to incite the murders. Some had made bombs or had weapons, but the trial really centred on their written and spoken views on the sometimes legitimate use of violence. Eventually (surprise!), he found that their guilt to this equated to their guilt for murder and sentenced 1 to life in prison and 7 to death. Spies wryly noted that the principle of “a life for a life” was in action, relating to the 7 Police who lost their lives.

All the men spoke to the court nearing the end of the trial in October 1886 (the speeches in the records are well worth reading1). They are passionate, eloquent, and unyielding in their defence of themselves and their beliefs. They do not advocate violence at any cost, but they also do not rule it out either. They do not hold back their accusations levelled at the state and its agents and at capitalism generally. The phrase “speaking truth to power” was never so apt. By all accounts Samuel Fielden wowed the crowd with his oratory skill, ironically learnt as a Methodist preacher in Lancashire in the U.K. Albert Parsons spoke for a total of 8 hours over 2 days.

It is, however, August Spies’ words that thrill me. In his speech, Spies is insistent and clever. He fiercely and fearlessly picks apart the arguments of his accusers. He uses natural phenomena to illustrate his point that anarchy and revolution are natural states. That a force can be brought to try to push us down but this can never stop us. We rise. We grow. No-one can stop the inevitable growth of the land, its people, and the forces that we contain. Change is the only constant and revolution is ever present in all beings’ spirit and lungs.

He uses all the elements in his arguments:

Earth and air:

“Revolutions are no more made than earthquakes and cyclones. Revolutions are the effect of certain causes and conditions… If anyone is to be blamed for the coming revolution it is the ruling class who steadily refused to make concessions as reforms became necessary; who maintain that they can call a halt to progress, and dictate a stand-still to the eternal forces, of which they themselves are but the whimsical creation.”

Water:

“You, in your blindness, think you can stop the tidal wave of civilization and human emancipation by placing a few policemen, a few Gatling guns, and some regiments of militia on the shore. You think you can frighten the rising waves back into the unfathomable depths, whence they have arisen, by erecting a few gallows in the perspective.”

The fires of Beltane in a statement of perfect defiance:

“If you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement—the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery… if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here we will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out. The ground is on fire upon which you stand.”

August_Spies_portraitSpies sets out a path but also a challenge to us all. This Beltane, where are you speaking truth to power despite the consequences? Where do you set your fires? How will you blaze up?

I have used Spies’ words in the following poem about Beltane, rising up, and revolutions. It is dedicated to him and all the Haymarket martyrs, in memory of whom International May Day is now internationally observed (the first strikes for the 8-hour day were held on May 1st, 1886). I have also used a phrase from Dylan Thomas’ poem, “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” because, really, no other term will do…

“everything breathes the revolutionary spirit”

for august spies

now is our time, we rise, we grow,
those voices strangled on mayday,
silent resolve most powerful
of bright green emancipation.
we force through, we a tidal wave,
come summer, come the early spring
that we may swell to our full height
to die, hunker over winter,
we the “green fuse” that refuses.

Nina George

Nina George is a social activist and writer living in Lancashire in North West England. She has worked on repairing the damage done by men who are abusive towards women for over 20 years. She agitates for revolution whenever she can.

 

This piece, and many others, is available in A Beautiful Resistance: The Fire Is Here. Here’s how to order.

The Fire is Here

 

A Beautiful Resistance: The Fire is Here will be released very soon.

Here is the introduction, written by editor and poet Lorna Smithers.

Information on ordering is available below.


I.

‘I hunted out and stored in fennel stalk the stolen source of fire that has proved a teacher to mortals in every art and a means to mighty ends. Such is the offence for which I pay the penalty, riveted in fetters beneath the open sky.’
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

‘Each of them has the care of the fire for a single night in turn, and, on the evening before the twentieth night, the last nun, having heaped wood upon the fire, says, “Brigit, take charge of your own fire ; for this night belongs to you.”’
Gerald of Wales, The Topography of Ireland

A stolen fire passed down by generations.

We are the flame-keepers of a questionable heritage.

In many cultures fire is taken from the gods and gifted to mankind by a trickster, who suffers for their hubris, or is kept alive by a group of virgins serving a goddess. These are the costs and vetoes of fire.

Fire, of itself, is amoral. It lights and heats our homes. It burns in the furnaces of factories and power stations and burns them down. It inspires revolutions and burns martyrs. It burned the victims of the Holocaust.

The uses we make of fire are our responsibility. When we look back at its misuses we are suffocated by horror, fettered by sky gods as eagles descend to peck upon our guilty livers.

However, we remember Prometheus was unbound. The unfastening of fetters is a Herculean task. By learning to listen to voices consigned to the flames, walking through fire and awakening to uncomfortable truths, gifting back to the gods (“fire… belongs to you”) we can become good flame-keepers.

II.

‘Svasud is the name of the father of Summer. He is a man so content that from his name comes the expression ‘it is svaslight’ referring to what is pleasant. The father of Winter is alternately called Vindloni or Vindsval (Wind Chill). His is the son of Vasad (Damp Cold). These are cruel and cold-hearted kinsmen and Winter takes its nature from them.’
Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda

‘there was to be battle between Gwyn and Gwythyr every May Day until Judgement Day, and the one that triumphed on Judgement Day would take the maiden.’
Sioned Davies, The Mabinogion

Eternal Summer is founded on the death of Winter.

For thousands of years we have been stealing fuel for our fire from the underworld: the bones and breath of dead worlds.

The smog-blackened chimneys of mill towns, the concrete towers of coal-fired power stations, a million million vehicles chugging on oil have together contributed to the asphyxiating build-up of gases that may postpone the next Ice Age.

Glaciers are calving. Sea levels rising. Last winter in northern England heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks, washing away venerable old trees and an historic pub, flooding towns and cities and leaving hundreds of people bereft of belongings. This summer is set to be the hottest on record again.

The dialectic between summer and winter is represented by the battle between two gods: Summer and Winter Kings, and their courtship of the sovereign goddess of the land.

On May Day Summer’s King wins and takes the goddess’ hand in sacred marriage. Winter’s King dies and retreats. He returns for his beloved at summer’s end. But for how long?

If either King keeps her forever it will bring about the end of the world.

III.

‘Whoever until this day emerges victorious, marches in the triumphal procession in which today’s rulers tread over those who are sprawled underfoot. The spoils are, as was ever the case, carried along in the triumphal procession. They are known as the cultural heritage. In the historical materialist they have to reckon with a distanced observer. For what he surveys as the cultural heritage is part and parcel of a lineage which he cannot contemplate without horror.’
Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

 

‘It is dangerous, that power. It is most perilous. It must follow knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow.’
Ursula Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Our heritage is as questionable as the stolen fire in which it was forged.

It has taken two devastating world wars, and the dedicated effort of thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, to put into question the ideal of progress which drove the industrial revolution and gave rise to dehumanising and militant right and left-wing ideologies.

Benjamin died of an overdose fleeing the Nazis at Portbou. His Theses on the Philosophy of History were passed on to his colleague, Theodor Adorno, by Hannah Arendt. Another manuscript, which some scholars have speculated may have been his completed Arcades Project, was forever lost.

The transmission of our heritage and connection with our ancestors are fragile and fraught with danger. They run beyond paganism into interconnectedness with all humanity.

When we look into the flames of a fire we see what collectively we share with the rest of the world: a shared history, a shared responsibility.

The shadow cast by that fire will never go out.

It reminds us as pagans, magic-workers, devotees of our gods, of the need to sustain the fire of love for each other and our seared earth.

On May Eve we gather around the fire in love. We hold hands in the darkness.

We are flame-keepers of a stolen fire brought at great cost.

The fire is here.

Use it wisely.

 

The Fire Is Here is the work of 26 writers, 5 artists and 2 photographers. The narrative flickered into life as the contributions arranged themselves into a tapestry bound together by summer’s burning thread. Taking the form of a Beltane / May Day rite it crackled and roared.

The first section IGNITEs the Bel fire and calls in the revolutionary spirit. THE SICKNESS AND THE MEDICINE forms a journey of purification where the ills of capitalism are exposed and cures are found at its ailing core. SOVEREIGNTY AND THE TRIALS OF LOVE focuses on relationship with the land, gods, and each other and gives voice to the tribulations and joys of love. The spirits of the greenwood offer A FOREST ALLEGIANCE and lead to the storytellers’ grove. With fire in our heads we confront our social and political situation and depart with revolutionary ancestors leaving FOOTSTEPS IN THE EMBERS.

The title The Fire Is Here is borrowed from the title of an inspired piece in the journal by Heathen Chinese. My introduction was born from meditating on Li Pallas’ stunning cover art. The layout and design have been completed by Li. I was thrilled when Emma Restall Orr agreed to write the foreword and more so when I read her thought-provoking words.

It has been a pleasure and honour to bring together these thoughts and visions as an act of service to the authors and their lands and deities. To witness pagans from all paths coming together in resistance to capitalism ‘to create the world we want now’(1).

As a way of introducing the individual pieces, as an awenydd and poet, I have chosen to compose a cento. This is a poetic form crafted from the words of others. For the artworks I have used a combination of titles and personal impressions.

These words are a spellbreaking,
a subterranean fire.
In the valley of sickness
we are healed by what can end us
six hundred feet deep
raise the tainted cup
in the soul of every man.
Only connect! A bond in blood.
We are living on Turtle Island.
The ancient new seductive healing sound
clothed in enchantment
myth and folklore
addresses the False Kings.
The Mother of the Gods answers
“My body is not acreage
savage, immoral, uncivilised, wild,
Earth Mound Mother, Sustain-her of Life.
Come voice yourselves
from tree heart to tree top
in revolutionary magic
shake up the sanity of everyday life
in the Holy Grove
pen roaring and bloody words
trembling and flooded with moonlight.
Tell stories in the summertime.
Hold close the fire until it burns your mind.”
The magic-wielders are waking up.
Soulfood for imagination
the fire is already here.
The dead wait for us who are willing to cross
then heal. Then build. Then sing.

***

As Summer’s King triumphs I go to mourn the death of my god.
May the gifts of this journal fire your inspiration
and guide you through the wakening wood.


Lorna Smithers

Lorna Smithers profile picLorna Smithers is an awenydd, Brythonic polytheist and devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd based in Lancashire. She is the author of Enchanting the Shadowlands and editor of A Beautiful Resistance: The Fire Is Here. She blogs at Signposts in the Mist and is a contributor to Awen ac Awenydd and Dun Brython.

 


Click here to order A Beautiful Resistance: The Fire is Here.

Our first issue, A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are is also available.  The digital edition is now only $6 US

Contemplating The Ruins and Reviving Mythic Stories

(We are pleased to host this piece by Pegi Eyers, which first appeared in A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are.)

“Our Ancestors experienced life in terms of imagination and intuition, and this mythic worldview has value for us today. A new interest is awakening in primal mind, fantasies and dreams. We have the need to relate back to a deeper level of life which is more direct and full of feeling, with a natural grace and wisdom that is more appealing than all the dazzling accomplishments of the intellectual ego. Myth has once again become important.”

“When the stories a society shares are out of tune with its circumstances, they can become self-limiting, even a threat to survival. This is our current situation.”

In these last days of Empire, the “endless growth” agenda of eco-fascism, economic hegemony and corporatocracy is dissolving, falling apart under the weight of unsustainability, and a groundswell of people from all walks of life are moving away from these delusional and insane systems. The paradigm of humanity as lord and master of Mother Earth has run its course, and it is becoming harder and harder to believe in the fallacy of a mechanical universe and our separation from the natural world.

“We are living at a time in which the old story of domination and control has lost its power, and we are in a liminal, in-between time, still searching for a new story.”

At this point in history, it would seem highly apropos to reject the human-centric and hubristic notions that human beings are a “God Species” who rule the world, that more and better technology will solve the problems that technology created in the first place, or that continued “progress” is the only way forward. That the colonial dream would have been adopted planet-wide was perhaps something the early “meme spreaders”(1) did not foresee, but the Earth clearly cannot sustain billions of people living at the height of civilizational benefit and luxury. “Unless you believe infinite growth is possible on a finite planet” (2) it is time to redefine our paradigm and adopt a different mythic story for self, community and the world, to return to the values of interexistence and a respect for natural law.

The conveniences, communication devices and media bombardment of our high-mobility modern lifestyle have given us the illusion that human beings are the center of the universe. Our addiction to entertainment and diversion, the ongoing incestuous interaction with our emotional dramas and human inventions—to the exclusion of all other life on Earth—is narcissistic, dysfunctional and immoral. What spell have we been under? Thinking that human endeavors and human-centric concerns are the only ones that matter keeps us trapped in the sinkhole of modernism, contributes to the ideology of Empire, and does nothing to return us to right relationship with the land. Unlearning the habits of civilization means rejecting the domestication we have adopted from techno-industrial society in favor of earth-wise Pagan skills, returning to the rich matrix of indigenous mind, and learning how to be “true human beings” once again.

We need the vision of an earth-rooted paradigm to counteract Empire’s mandate to devour the earth’s resources and spirit. Experiencing, creating and believing both ancient and new narratives that honor and celebrate the natural world (and our place within it) are urgently needed to bend the curve. Based on the Old Ways, we need to tell revived stories about ourselves, reclaimed eco-myths to guide us forward, and rejuvenated manifestos that celebrate our integration with the natural world. Our archaic spirit needs to rise again in a weaving of timeless stories of growth, regeneration, rites of passage, energy, motion, illumination, magic, decay, and all the earth’s processes that dwell both in us and the other-than-human-world.

Mirroring the “new myth” in full interaction with others is both a spiritual and political act that will disrupt the business-as-usual of Empire in ways we can only imagine. Diverse human groups worldwide have always used mythic stories to record our most sacred origins, to hold the keystone beliefs, cultural meanings, values and destinies specific to each society. Creation stories (or accounts of how our particular social order came into being), along with explanations and exemplars, are human attempts to answer the most fundamental questions of existence and form the building blocks of a collective reality. Arising from both the intellect and the imagination, narrative epics and parables are “lessons for living” that offer us guidance for navigating both the inner and outer worlds.

Keystone stories and important events in history are transferred from one generation to the next, and are integrated in rituals and ceremonies that include the bardic arts, entertainment, music, songs, call-and-response, poetry, dancing and drumming. Throughout history, pagan peoples have relied on the story-keepers to maintain the tribal records, to continue the richness of history, identity and culture. By reaching back to ancestral knowledge, conveying teachings or validating the prestige and responsibilities of tribal members, each storyteller brings with them a unique piece of the mythic puzzle. The oral transmission of collective memories becomes a living worldview that keeps the cultural traditions of the group alive.

Focused on interspecies communication and our soul connections to the other-than-human world, our shared stories can outline our rapport with other beings and the realm of the shapeshifters. The natural world is the entry point to the “dreamtime,” a place where our access to soul expressions and personal mythology merge.

“Stories and their ceremonies weave our world together: the story of corn maiden and mother, of salmon’s death and rebirth, of bear’s human wife, of coyote’s foul tricks and lynx’s loneliness. These stories of ecological conscience are a council where the voices of all species may be heard. It is through these stories that the Earth can be restored, for these eco-narratives are an ‘ilbal’, a ‘seeing instrument’. Looking through the eyes of others as their stories are told, we may hear and understand the voices of our relatives.”(3)

An important purpose for our ongoing oral history is to outline the interactions and lived experiences that arise from our essential bond to Earth Community, to recount the stories that are held within geographical locations on the land. Whether at key points like sacred sites or more personal lived places, the storied landscape brings our lore to life – the earth deities, Gods, Goddesses or sages we honor, the creatures we dream about, and the paradoxes we cannot explain.

For a powerful example of the oral tradition as a living worldview, we can look to the life of the great Okanagan storyteller and orator Harry Robinson, who was wholly immersed in the natural world in every waking moment. During the transcribing of his priceless story-cycles, scholar Wendy Wickwire noted that:

“Harry travelled to Vancouver to undergo medical treatment under the care of an elderly Chinese herbalist. Only then did the depth of Harry’s mythological world become truly apparent. As we passed through downtown Vancouver on his visits to the doctor, I realized that all the traffic lights and cars meant nothing to Harry. They were almost an abstraction, an interesting but fleeting diversion from the timeless real world of Coyote, Fox and Owl.”(4)

In our own process to reject the failed experiment of industrial civilization, connect deeply to the land and embody the brilliant mythology of our own ancestral knowledge, can we also have no doubt that entering urban space is an illusion and an aberration, an insult to ourselves, the Earth and Her many creatures and elements? Can we too contemplate the ruins of Empire and see it as an abstraction, a fleeting diversion that for a long and unmerciful time tried to demonize Gaia and separate us from our one true home? As we examine our own life story within the context of Empire-building, we need to deconstruct the experiences that do not serve us, and reclaim the kinship model of our relationship to the wild.

To re-indigenize ourselves means re-inhabiting our local ecosystems, and returning to the various features and creatures in the bioregional landbase that inform and inspire.

Developing eco-mythic literacy means unlearning the consensual worldview of Empire in favor of older ways to see the world, to think and feel our way into a re-landed perspective with storytelling, ceremonies, intuitive workings and sacred art. Our creative, mystic, and eco-poetic abilities will blossom again when we dwell in a sense of oneness with the natural world, and we gain new wisdom when we are living as a part of (rather than apart from) the Web of All Life. A keen knowledge of the surrounding ecosystem is fundamental to a deep sense of interconnection and is imperative to a sustainable future, and communicating this eco-literacy to others, especially children, is the most important task we face.

”Stories nurture our connection to place and to each other. They show us where we have been and where we can go. They remind us of how to be human, and how to live alongside the other lives that animate this planet.”5

So, what are the new Earth Stories? In addition to narratives that arise from our localized re-landing, these thoughts and “chapters” may be a good beginning:

  • To return to our pre-colonial Paganism or indigenity knowing we are all children of Earth, and that our place is within, not above, the circle of creation,
  • To reorient our consciousness toward a more integral relationship with the Earth,
  • To move toward a paradigm shift that includes the land and the other-than-human world,
  • To look to nature as a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher, as Gaia herself provides us with the stories for a new era,
  • To address ecological solutions that maintain and improve the health of natural systems and the diversity of all life,
  • To revive and embrace the natural law of species diversity in a multiplicity of ethnicities, belief systems, partnerships, unique societies and Earth communities,
  • To revalue our bodies, the dignity of materiality, and working with our hands,
  • To live each day as a sacred act,
  • To love the land as central to our most cherished dreams and memories, to care for and restore the Earth, and
  • To take a stand for ecological defence.

The human mind is as much a part of nature as a boreal forest, and the imaginal states of dreaming, imagining, wandering in nature, making magic and creating mythologies is key. In times of massive change and transition, sharing and collaborating with our kindred spirits and communities on old/new ecocentric stories is an integral part of reclaiming our primitivist, animist, Pagan, Neo-Pagan or re-constructionist paths. Human beings have a role to play as earth protectors and earth keepers, and our challenge is to honor each other, all beings, and the earth as Sacred.

Reframing and rewriting our own stories where we find ourselves right now—in the ruins of Empire – will automatically reconnect us to the mythic realms of spirit, and will enlarge our transformation to knowing that we belong to the Earth. When your thoughts and actions go beyond the narrow confines of your individualistic concerns and revolve around the land and the welfare of the whole, you are well on your way to becoming a “true human being!” In these times of cataclysmic return, the “new myth” is the same one already in place that humanity has had for millennia, imbedded in worldview(s) that respect the human place within the circle of creation, and that express our overwhelming love for Earth Community.


  • 1. Daniel Quinn calls the foundational worldviews of culture “memes.” Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure, Broadway, 2000
  • 2Charles Eisenstein, A New Story of the People, TEDxWhitechapel video, February 13, 2013: (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjoxh4c2Dj0)
  • 3Joan Halifax, The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting with the Body of the Earth, Harper Collins, 1993
  • 4Write it on Your Heart: The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller, by Harry Robinson and Wendy Wickwire (editor), Talonbooks, 1989. From the first of three volumes, the stories of Harry Robinson (Interior Salish, Lower Similkameen Band, B.C.) were collected by Wendy Wickwire. While working on her doctoral thesis, she recognized in Harry Robinson what Thomas King (Cherokee) would describe as “the most powerful storytelling voice in North America.”
  • 5 Susan J. Tweit, Walking Nature Home: A Life’s Journey, University of Texas Press, 2009

Pegi Eyers

Author of “Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community,” Pegi Eyers is occupied with challenging worldviews, contributing to the paradigm shift and working with the decolonization process in herself and others. A Celtic Animist who sees the world through a spiritual lens, she is a devotee of nature-based culture and all that is sacred to the Earth. Pegi Eyers is an advocate for our interconnection with Earth Community and the recovery of authentic ancestral wisdom and traditions for all people. She lives in the countryside on the outskirts of Nogojiwanong in Mississauga Anishnaabe territory (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada) on a hilltop with views reaching for miles in all directions. http://www.stonecirclepress.com


 

Like this piece? A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are is still available, and we are in pre-sales for the second issue!

A Beautiful Resistance, #2!

After the wild success of A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are, we’re pleased to announce information about our second issue.

This edition of the Gods&Radicals journal is being edited by Lorna Smithers, an awenydd, Brythonic polytheist and devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd, She’s a Lancashire poet and author of Enchanting The Shadowlands, and her work has been featured in many collections, as well as on her blog and here at Gods&Radicals.  In addition, her piece “Devil’s Bagpipes on Stoneygate” was featured in the first issue of A Beautiful Resistance.

We’re also happy to announce that Emma Restall Orr has agreed to foreword this issue.  Emma Restall Orr is an English animist, anarchist and mystic, ever challenging the complacency of the Western mind, author of the pagan ethics ‘Living with Honour’, the animist metaphysics ‘The Wakeful World’, and other texts.

A Beautiful Resistance will enter the world on Beltane, 2016.

We are happy to offer a Pre-Sale discount from the cover price.  Pre-sales help determine our initial print-run, as well as helping us pay the editor, copy-editors, and cover artist ahead of the initial sale.

We are now also able to offer subscriptions and purchases to European Union readers, as well as those in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.  Rates and information about ordering can be found here.

We are also happy to accept Underwriters for this issue.

Underwriters

Gods&Radicals is a non-profit, anti-capitalist pagan publisher registered in the state of Washington and currently in application for tax-exempt status.  Our only revenue comes from sales of our publications and kind donations from the community.

We would love your help.

Underwriting an issue of A Beautiful Resistance would go a long way to help keep our per-issue cost low, as well as helping us compensate writers, copy-editors, and each Journal editor for their work.

We’re happy to accept donations in any amount. Underwriters who donate $50 (US) or more can choose to have their name listed on a special gratitude page of the upcoming journal to thank them for their support.

Underwriters who donate $100 or more can also choose to receive a perpetual subscription to A Beautiful Resistance

The deadline to become an Underwriter of the second issue of A Beautiful Resistance is April 1st.

To donate any amount or to become an underwriter, follow this link. And thank you!

“Betraying the City”

After a very long wait, the professionally-bound A Pagan Anti-Capitalist Primer has finally arrived! Originally presented as a photocopied zine at the presentation which sparked Gods&Radicals, we’re pleased to offer an expanded, 40-page, perfect-bound edition with matte cover.

Single copies are $6.00, which includes shipping within the United States.  (We are currently unable to offer the Primer outside the United States until we find a suitable distributor on account of punitively high shipping rate changes.)

Click here to purchase a single copy of the Primer for $6 including shipping (US only).

We’re also pleased to offer bulk purchase pricing. Email us at gods.and.radicals [at] gmail.com for with the word PRIMER in the subject heading for quotes.

Speaking of shipping rate changes, prices for new subscriptions and future single-issue purchases of A Beautiful Resistance will increase March 1st.  This is due both to postal rate changes and an increase in charges from our printer.

Until March 1st, you can still purchase a subscription (issues #1 and #2) within the United States for $20+$6 shipping until March 1st, or a single issue copy of A Beautiful Resistance–Everything We Already Are (#1) for $12.50 + shipping.  Digital rates will remain unchanged.  Here’s the link for purchasing.

We’ll have information on Pre-Sale prices for issue #2 as well as new subscription rates (for US and International folks) on March 1st.

Also on March 1st, we close the call for submissions for the next issue.

Links

Pagan traditions often involve critiques of the modern, including specifically the urban. This week, a collection of links regarding the question of the city, anti-capitalism, ‘progress,’ and nature.

Primitivist and Anti-Civilization critiques (particularly that of Deep Green Resistance) often rely heavily on the hope that a future ‘apocalypse’ will even the playing field for humanity and the rest of the world. But is it possible to have Primitivism Without Catastrophe?

And on the matter of civilisation—instead of waiting for the cities to sink in the sea, how do we reclaim the cities?

Here’s an article from a modern-day struggle for the Commons in Lancaster.

And more notes from A Beautiful Resistance editor Lorna Smithers on the struggle against Fracking in Lancashire.

Writer Highlight: Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd...Rhyd Wildermuth’s one of the co-founders and is the Managing Editor of Gods&Radical, as well as the editor of the first issue of A Beautiful Resistance–Everything We Already Are.  He’s also a monthly columnist for The Wild Hunt.

His experience growing up in abject poverty in Appalachia, raising two younger sisters after his mother became schizophrenic, and years of social work with the homeless (along with his own experience on the streets) taught him much about Capitalism’s hatred of the poor, while his devotion to Welsh gods and to the Forest honed his understanding of what Capitalism does to Nature.

From his essay, An Apparently Impossible Problem (also published in A Beautiful Resistance):

The way past the impossible usually just involves giving up some certainty that is keeping you on a snow-bound bus at the bottom of a hill, some habit, some reliance on an expectation that isn’t serving you any longer.

 

You can carry a rucksack full of wax and wine up a snowy hill with your lover and laugh and make mulled wine and warm yourself and each other with the love falling like rain and snow from the skies.  You can read by the light of burning barricades and plant chamomile in the cracked pavement and tell stories of what it was like when we thought we should ignore the gods and the dead.

 

We can side with the poor and the streams and forests and crows and the forgotten, because there’s so many of us, you know, and we have the best stories.

He studies druidry with OBOD and lives in Occupied Duwamish Terrority in the city called Seattle. He’s also published two books, his primary blog is Paganarch, and his writing for Gods&Radicals can be found here.

Quote

The city’s unreal, the forest gates unhinged, and you walk always along the edge, in both worlds and neither. 

You are emissary.

You are saboteur.

You are how the forest becomes the city you’ll betray.

You are unborn dreaming remembering the past.

You are the endless taking root in the now.

–Rhyd Wildermuth, from The Forest That Will Be, in A Kindness of Ravens.

Call For Submissions: A Beautiful Resistance (#2)

Soon on the heels of the wild success of our first issue of A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are, we’re pleased to announce the call for submissions for out second issue!

A Beautiful Resistance (#1): Everything We Already Are brought Pagans together around Samhain’s dark fires to identify the horrors of capitalism and share hopes of liberation. The songs we forgot were sung. Capitalism was confronted in the winter of our world. We revealed ways of manifesting the unseen, opposed joy to the machine and discussed apocalypse and everything after. The issue ended with a call to ‘create the world we want now’.

A Beautiful Resistance #2 will be published at Beltane. As last year’s seeds burst through capitalism’s cracked pavements and voices of our radical ancestors rise with the energy of our greening land and wild gods, we seek to build on the work of issue #1. Our second issue of A Beautiful Resistance will be curated & edited by poet, author, and awenydd Lorna Smithers.

About the Editor

Lorna Smithers is a Brythonic polytheist and devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd walking the road to awe between the islands of Britain and Annwn and leaving signposts in the mist along the way.

In his review of her recent collection, Enchanting the Shadowlands, Gods&Radicals editor Rhyd Wildermuth described Lorna’s mystic vision this way:

Like the unlooked-for lover, the sudden gasp of sunlight which makes you forget what you were on about, the unscheduled adventure or the almost rude rising of a massive moon looming over your mundane thoughts, Lorna’s writing always catches you off-guard, unprotected, disarmed, flailing, tripping into candle light where you’d thought you’d find florescence….

 

…You aren’t where you thought you were, time rips open, the dead come pouring out, laughing or wailing or passing silently.  You’re in the memory not just of a poet, but of a land itself, ages intersecting at the crossroads of you.

We’re thrilled she’s agreed to edit the second issue!

The deadline for submitting to the second issue is March 1st, and we’ve updated our submissions guidelines here.

Be well and resist beautifully!