Posted by Nathan Hall

TWH – Summer means many things, solstice, Midsummer, Litha and Lammas observances for some, but it also means festivals for the larger Pagan community and touring for some of our favorite bands. One of the hottest summers on record in the United States and around the world is making for some wilting weather.

“If I were to be honest, this has been a pretty rough year,” Sharon Knight said. She and Winter have been having a more challenging time than in previous years, feeling the pinch at home in Oakland where they’re getting priced out of the rental market. They’ve unofficially dubbed this the “fly by the seat of our pants tour” because of the difficulty they’ve had, among other things, filling all their tour dates.

Sharon Knight

Sharon Knight [Courtesy]

“I think people are feeling really uncertain about the fate of America, and how safe they will be, and that tends to make folks want to hold onto their money,” she said.

In spite of the challenges, “people really do come through for one another when times are hard, and we have been reminded of this numerous times throughout this tour.”

Knight said what helps make them feel rooted is the music itself, and that they always find shelter in their songs.

Sirius Rising festival has done a lot to lift spirits about which Knight said, “getting to spend time with sister musicians Ginger Doss and Lynda Millard and their giant open hearts is just awesome!”

Similarly, the Tennesse-based band Tuatha Dea has been having an “epic” tour season that actually kicked off in February. Their first show was in Florida, during which they hit a little bump with some noise complaints at a house concert and a visit by police.

“It’s not uncommon for us and we understand when this happens. We know we’re loud,” bassist Tesea Dawson said with a laugh.

Among the highlights she mentioned getting to play with SJ Tucker in St. Louis and at Heartland Music Fest with Ginger Doss and Lynda Millard.

Dawson’s favorite anecdote so far has been the band’s return to Canada, she said. After four years they returned to play at the Pagan Fest in Barrie, Ontario where the band was greeted “with open arms.”

“A lot of times it’s not so much the event or venue but the little things that happen that stick with me,” she said.

Tuatha Dea [Courtesy]

Exhausted from the long trip, Dawson described getting to the festival in time to watch Sharon Knight and Winter perform but skipping the drum circle later in the evening.

“We all went back to the camper and put on our pj’s and made cookie butter and jelly sandwiches. The whole group sat up until about 2 am together and just spent time together. I laughed so much that night that my sides hurt.”

This is so special to me,” Dawson explained, “because as you know we are family but it’s a rare occasion you can find all of us in one place at the same time. So when we find those moments like that on the road those are the most prominent memories for me.”

In the midst of their touring Tuatha Dea also managed to put out a new album, Kilts and Corsets in early June. Of the reception to the album she said, “we are just so thankful and gracious that the community has embraced it like they have. We put our heart and souls into this one and the love shown back to us has just been overwhelming.”

From North America out to the wider world, Wendy Rule took time to write on a fiddly iPad while she was on her way to The Netherlands to say that she had just wrapped up Summerland Spirit Festival in Wisconsin before playing at Treadwell Books in London just a few days later.

That event kicked off a short European tour where she will venture through The Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, and Germany before returning to the US for Hexfest in New Orleans in mid-August.

Wendy Rule

Wendy Rule [Courtesy]

“So far, lots of fun, great people, and a wonderful ten days camping in Nature,” Rule said.

The Moon and the Nightspirit‘s bassist, Gergely Cseh responded that after their latest album Metanoia was released in March they did a tour through Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.

As for the summer, Cseh said they performed at Yggdrasil Festival in Italy and Hörnerfest in Germany.

“We were supposed to play in Ragnard Rock festival in France this weekend but unfortunately the whole festival was cancelled,” Cseh said.

Up next they’re going to be playing Prophecy Festival, which is held inside of a large natural cave in Germany. Cseh said he was looking forward to this one because they’ll be playing with friend Jasen Lazarov from the Bulgarian band, Irfan.

“This show will be a special one for us,” he said.

The Moon and the Nightspirit will round out their festival season at Festival-Mediaval in Germany in September.

Down in the southern reaches of Australia, it’s just past midwinter and much-loved performers Spiral Dance are gearing up to head toward northern latitudes. In September they’ll be starting their seventh international tour timed to coincide with the release of their new album, Land and Legend.

Adrienne Piggott, lead singer and lyricist, said that they love Australia but visiting other places feeds their inspiration and their souls.

“Whenever we go back to the UK we feel we are coming home, we have two band members who were born in the UK and Adrienne is first generation Australian from Irish/English parents, so it’s like we get to take the songs ‘home’ if you like, and honor our ancestors of that land from where the inspiration for so many of our songs come from,” Piggott said.

On the docket during the UK leg— five gigs with Damh the Bard— and another visit to the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms birthplace of the Glastonbury Festival which began in 1915.

After three weeks, they’ll move on to Georgia, to perform at Caldera Fest before they dip down to Florida to play at Phoenix Phyre, where they’ll be playing with Tuatha Dea and sitarist Rick de Yampert.

“We were very honored to be part of the Green Album that was released there last year to raise money and awareness for the Rainforest Trust,” Piggot said.

“So getting to meet a lot of the artists that were also a part of that album will be awesome and of course the fabulous folk from Tuatha Dea who were the instigators of the album and worked so hard to make it happen.”

Spiral Dance [Courtesy Photo]

Posted by Karl E. H. Seigfried


In late June, Jade Pichette started the #HavamalWitches hashtag on Facebook. Her explanatory post referenced the Old Norse poem Hávamál (“Sayings of the High One”) and was addressed to women who practice Ásatrú and Heathenry, modern iterations of Germanic polytheism. She called upon her audience to share their experiences of sexism within their religious communities:

So a hashtag #HavamalWitches has started to critique sexism in the Heathen community. Overall the women and femmes in the Heathen community have put up with a lot of sexism and this is basically us letting off steam and making transparent what we experience. It references the fact in the Havamal there are some really sexist stanzas so we are the Witches the Havamal warns you about. If you have posts to make please do, and if you are comfortable feel free to do so publicly.

As so often happens, the hashtag was quickly hijacked by straight white men who questioned the women’s knowledge of poetry, mythology, and history; who challenged the veracity of their testimonials of personal experience; who denied that misogyny and sexism exist within their own communities; and/or who insisted that men are the ones who are really discriminated against.

Of course, #NotAllMen acted like this. Some jumped in to support the women and argue with the trollish types. I followed one long Facebook thread that was completely swamped by men fighting each other. Despite the good intentions of the anti-troll brigade, the fact remains that men on both sides took over a hashtag asking women to share their experiences with sexism.

Man vs. Woman, Clauss Pflieger, 1459 [public domain].

This was not a unique happening. Over and over again, we see public online dialogue between women interrupted and dominated by men. This happens whether the initial posts are critical or celebratory.

Recently, men’s rights activist types were furious when the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin announced women-only screenings of the new Wonder Woman film “for one special night.” As with the #HavamalWitches thread, the nastiness of the reaction proved exactly the point being made – in this case, that women just maybe might enjoy one single evening of their lives celebrating and enjoying a female hero for a couple of hours without a chorus of condescension from male companions. For the men’s online chorus, this was absolutely and utterly unacceptable.

Earlier this week, the announcement by the BBC that Jodie Whittaker will be the thirteenth actor to play the lead role on Doctor Who (not counting John Hurt and other special cases) caused such a flurry of fury from men with opinions about women that some people began playing “13th Doctor Casting Comments Bingo,” collecting the completely predictable predictions of disaster and outraged declarations of wounded male pride that flooded social media.

Ásatrú and Heathenry have long struggled with a very vocal minority of practitioners who espouse racist beliefs. There is an incredibly strong stance in the mainstream of the religious communities against such extremism. Sexism, however, is a more insidious force. Heathen women have shared their experiences with sexist attitudes, behaviors, and statements even in organizations that are outspoken on issues of inclusion.

“On a Whirling Wheel”

When faced with divisive issues, Heathens often turn to their hoard of inherited mythology, poetry, saga, and historical accounts, supplemented by academic works both fresh and dusty. What insights into sexism, misogyny, and the social roles of women can we gain from such a turn to the past?

Hávamál, the medieval Icelandic poem cited in the #HavamalWitches hashtag, purports to be in the voice of Odin. It does have some strikingly sexist stanzas:

84. A maiden’s words must no man trust,
nor what a woman says,
for on a whirling wheel
were hearts fashioned for them
and fickleness fixed in their breast.

90. So the loving of women –
those who think in lies –
is just like driving a horse smooth-shod
over skidding ice
– a lively two-year-old,
and badly trained –
or in a mad wind maneuvering a rudderless boat –
or like a lame man having to reach
a reindeer on a thawing hillside on skis.

The poem’s presentation of gender roles isn’t all one way, however. The speaker is also critical of male behavior towards women:

91. I now state a bare fact
– for I know both sexes –
men’s devotion to women is not dependable.
We speak fairest words
when we foster slyest thoughts –
that deceives a delicate mind.

This multivalence of views also appears elsewhere in the Poetic Edda, the collection of Icelandic poems largely found in the Codex Regius (“Royal Book”) manuscript of c. 1270 that includes Hávamál.

In Lokasenna (“Loki’s Quarrel”), many of the goddesses speak out against the belligerently sexist verbal assaults of Loki. Nearly as many women as men speak in the poem, and their responses are equally proud and powerful.

In Völuspá (“Prophecy of the Seeress”), it is a female voice (or set of voices) that speaks of what has been, is, and will be. The audience is all of humankind – “the offspring of Heimdall” – and even the wisdom-drinking patriarch Odin himself must bring gifts and plead with the wise woman to share some of her vast store of knowledge.

The Seeress and Odin, Emil Doepler, 1905 [public domain].

However, side by side with these portrayals of powerful women, the Poetic Edda presents pictures of stark sexual violence. After the giantess Gerd (“Yard”) repeatedly refuses to leave her home and marry the god Frey (“Lord”) – who may have killed her brother – his messenger threatens her with beheading, killing her father, magical domination, starvation, social ostracism, and a host of other horrors culminating in sexual slavery:

35. Hrímgrímnir [“Frost-Masked”] the ogre is called
who will have you
down below the corpse pens:
let serfs there
at the tree’s roots
serve you goats’ urine.
Grander drink
you will never get,
girl – to meet your wishes,
girl – to meet my wishes!

In Hárbarðsljóð (“Song of Graybeard”), the one thing that the quarreling Thor and Odin (in disguise as Harbard, “Graybeard”) agree upon is how enjoyable it would be to commit rape together:

Thor: You had good dealings with the girl there.

Harbard: I could have done with your help, Thor,
to hold the linen-white girl.

Thor: I’d have helped you with that, if I could have managed it.

Harbard: I’d have trusted you then, if you didn’t betray my trust.

The same balance between inspiring portrayals of powerful women and sickening celebrations of sexual assault appear in prose sources. For every brave heroine, there is a violated victim of violence.

On one hand, there are the strong women of the Icelandic sagas such as the poet Steinvora. She confronts the Saxon missionary Thangbrand, proudly preaches paganism to him, boasts that Christ was afraid to accept Thor’s challenge of single combat, and sings verses gloating that her god demolished the priest’s ship.

On the other hand, there are reports of extremely violent sexual assault. The Arab chronicler Ibn Fạdlān tells the grisly tale of a slave girl who, after she is “befuddled” with alcohol, is raped by six men before being stabbed and strangled to death beside the decaying corpse of her dead master.

“A Decay of Her Honour”

Perhaps it is time for today’s Heathens to embrace the fact that they are part of a new religious movement (NRM) founded 45 years ago. Whatever subset of Heathenry practitioners practice, the beginnings of their praxis date to the first meeting of what would become the Ásatrúarfélagið (“Ásatrú Fellowship”) at the Hotel Borg in Reykjavík on April 20, 1972.

Although historical heathenry has roots that go back 4,000 years to shadowy origins in the Bronze Age of Northern Europe, modern practice follows in the footsteps of that fateful day when a dozen visionaries gathered in Iceland to revive the old way. What that small group began has now grown into a cluster of religions found in nearly 100 countries.

Despite declarations and denials from various subsets of Heathenry, these are not ancient religions that are practiced today but rather a set of overlapping new religious movements that revive, reconstruct, and reimagine ancient Germanic polytheism using elements gathered from a great variety of sources on long-ago beliefs and practices. We study and learn as much as we possibly can about the olden times, but we cannot escape the fact that we are citizens of modern nation-states who live in the twenty-first century and self-consciously practice post-1972 traditions.

As members of modern religions, we are not bound by holy writ. The poems of medieval Iceland are intense and inspiring, but they are not divine commandments of belief and behavior. They are religio-cultural products of a specific segment of a specific population at a specific time in a specific location, and they reflect the assumptions and prejudices of those people then and there.

Codex Regius stands behind Flateyjarbók (“Flat Island Book”) [public domain].

The fact that the poems contain conflicting views of women underscores their human and non-definitive nature. There was disagreement then, as there is now. No single, pure, and dogmatic heathen worldview waits to be unearthed by studious spelunking through the sources. To the contrary, the fact that there is a vast variety of views is something that can push us to accept diversity within and between our own communities.

This diversity of views can also be found in professional scholarship. For every Jenny Jochens carefully parsing medieval sagas and law codes for evidence of women’s roles in Old Norse society, there is a Vilhelm Grønbech celebrating the honorable “Germanic standard” of killing one’s own daughter for having sex outside of marriage, in order to save the family from “the danger arising from a decay of her honour.” Like all of us, academics allow their own worldviews to shape their views of the past, and the result is a set of widely divergent analyses of the same materials.

Commitment to Community

If ancient sources and modern academia alike present us with conflicting ideas about women’s roles and rights, maybe we should simply recognize that views of gender and sexuality are — like those of race and ethnicity — changeable concepts that evolve over time.

We are modern people with access to amounts of information that were unimaginable even a decade or two ago. There is nothing to prevent us from being mindful members of society rather than slavish historical re-enactors.

We shouldn’t need to recite poetic verses or cite academic sources to convince men that women are people. We should all respect women as individuals and honor their input, because they are human beings with identities and agency. Period. This shouldn’t need to be spelled out, but it apparently must.

Frey (“Lord”) and Freya (“Lady”) by Donn P. Crane,1920 [public domain].

It is possible for positive change to occur. Straight white men have to internalize the fact that they will not always be the authoritative voices and centers of attention. They have to understand that, in some situations, they need to keep their opinions to themselves and let others speak without interruption, reply, or rebuttal.

Maybe it is beyond the emotional capacity of some men today to accept that everything isn’t for them. As time goes on, these men will become increasingly marginalized as relics of a bygone era. Hopefully, they will at least find the self-restraint to refrain from committing the violent acts that they so often threaten online.

This isn’t a Heathen problem, necessarily, but it plagues Heathen communities as it does so many others. If we are proud of our commitment to community – and many of us are – let’s lead the way and work towards making our communities positive models of respectful behavior.

Sources used for this article include The Culture of the Teutons (Grønbech, trans. Worster), “Ibn Fạdlān and the Rūsiyyah” (Montgomery), The Poetic Edda (trans. Dronke, Larrington), The Story of Burnt Njal (trans. Dasent).

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

Posted by Crystal Blanton

I joined with several hundred people to celebrate Black women at the “Ain’t I A Woman” march in Sacramento, California on July 15, 2017. Several hundred Black women and supporters marched at 9:00 AM in 100 degree weather to the State Capital and sat in front of the steps to listen to the amazing Black women speakers at the rally. Among the hundreds of people participating in this first ever event, I was blessed to be present with my daughter, family members, and among other Pagan Black women.

[Crystal Blanton]

Black Women United, a Sacramento based group, organized this march in response to the Women’s march held in January. Adding to the conversation of women’s needs, this march specifically set out to address the often forgotten intersectional needs of Black women throughout history and in today’s current times. Intentionally basing the theme on the infamous Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I a Woman” speech reflected the very necessity that this march attempted to address. While much has changed in America, not much has changed for Black women.

Abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth was born into slavery and was an example of a strong woman fighting for the rights of Black women. Not only did Truth escape to freedom with her young daughter in 1826, but she also won am 1828 court case to get her son back from the man who owned him.

Truth was one of the first Black women to speak about intersectional issues within feminism and the specific plight of Black women in America. She called out the multiple marginalized positions that Black women carry in a society that has a history of systemic racism and sexism. Her work has become some of the most important within the feminist, especially Black Feminist, movement toward equality.

It was in 1851 that Sojourner Truth made the powerfulAin’t I A Woman Speechat the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio.

Meredith Simon and Beverley Smith [Beverley Smith]

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!

And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?” It is with that spirit of acknowledgement and need that this march came to manifestation where Black women are taking center stage to declare that they are indeed a woman.

On the Black Women United website it says “The concept of AIAW is a challenge, but also an affirmation. It is not a question, but rather a powerful statement or declaration of our womanhood and demanding all of the respect and acceptance that should come with it.”

Speakers on the stage at the rally spoke one by one about the empowerment needed to survive today’s times and struggles. Some of the esteemed speakers included Dr. Halifu Osumare, Dr. Joy Johnson, Porsche Nicole Kelly, and Elaine Brown. The former leader of the Black Panther Party came onto stage with a powerful message for Black women. She told the crowd “it is time for us to put on our Harriet Tubman hat; it’s time for us to put on our Sojourner Truth hat; our Ida B. Wells Barnett hat; our Mary Jane McLeod Bethune hat; our Rosa Parks hat and our Fannie Lou Hamer hat. It’s time to take the lead. It’s time for our self determination because no one is coming to get us”.

From the moment I heard of this event I knew it was something I needed to attend with my 9 year old girl. Social science research continues to show that instilling a sense of positive racial socialization in our children has proven to be one of the most important elements of healing through the historic racial trauma of our ancestors and our continued challenges in today’s system.

The kind of magic that comes from a intentional, empowering, focused,and energetic event like this was exactly the thing I would want to expose her to, including my own need for Black women empowerment within this hostile world. I purposefully want to combat the messages of euro-centric beauty standards that condition our young Black girls to see themselves as less than beautiful and capable in society by exposing them to the very power of the Black woman.

[Crystal Blanton]

There were other Black Pagan women present at Saturday’s march. There were also other Pagan community members who came to give support as non-black individuals. It was a reaffirming feeling to see other people from the Pagan community being present for such an intimate and much needed moment in the movement of Black liberation.

I reached out to several of the Black Pagan women who also came to the event to discuss their reason for coming and why they felt it was important for them. Here is what they said:

When I heard about the Ain’t I A Woman March, I knew I was going to attend. I was important for me as a Black woman to support other Black women and join them in voicing our concerns. So on July 15th, two other pagan sisters and I made the 100+ trek to Sacramento and it was well worth it.

The speeches and performances were empowering and inspirational. I was glad to be with Black women united together for our upliftment. It was nice to see other races there to support us, but Black Unity was especially gratifying.

I’m was pleased to know the organizers made the march all-inclusive. As a Black pagan I feel were are often invisible. We are invisible to our mostly white pagan counterparts who “don’t see” our color. On the other hand, our spiritual beliefs are not widely accepted by the larger Black community. Many Black pagans have to hide the pagan part of themselves to keep family, friendships, and community ties intact.

I knew some the pagan women who were at the March. It felt good to be there and be our full free selves. I was just thankful to be around other sisters of like mind and spirit. – M.A.

Beverley Smith

Like many others, I watched incredulously as a man that many native New Yorkers know to be an empty, amoral business tycoon and mediocre reality TV star took the White House. It was no surprise when women came out in droves to protest the Sex Offender-in-Chief the day after the Inauguration.

What did surprise me was that no matter how traumatized by the assent of a serial misogynist, the majority of the women did not include Black women in either the formal planning or the actual event. Accounts of this were reported all over the nation, with the most egregious offenses taking place in Seattle and Portland, where Black women were reported as being excluded from both the planning and the protest.

Even while feeling oppressed, those white women didn’t see oppression rife throughout their own behavior and actions. The stories of non-white women being thrown out of planning meetings and having their concerns ignored, their participation controlled and – in some cases – openly rejected made a big impression on me. I was struck by the irony that the majority of the women represented by this march had actually voted FOR this menace and had marginalized and dismissed the very women who tried to sound the alarm BEFORE the election. It was obvious that their only concerns were how they, as white women, were affected by the new regime.

So it made sense to me when a Black women’s march was planned. It’s a unfortunate fact that, in so many cases, we need our own spaces, and I vowed I would be a part of this historic Black Women’s rally. The 7 hour (one way) drive did nothing to deter us. Wild horses could not have kept me and my daughter away.

What an absolute delight to be among people where I, as a Black woman, didn’t feel the need to “small up myself”. There was no need to argue for my humanity because everyone in attendance needed no convincing. I felt beautiful because no one in attendance would hold the white standard of beauty up as a mirror to my face. I didn’t have to carefully calibrate my speech and my “tone” to avoid upsetting/angering/scaring/offending anyone.

To be in a public space where love for my Blackness and the Blackness of everyone else was openly declared, without having to make excuses or debate was a breath of fresh air. To know that I was in a public space where my Black Girl Magic was appreciated and reciprocated was so delicious. To know that there was absolutely no need to plead the case for my humanity allowed me to relax, to enjoy, to commune with my sisters in an utterly safe space, without explanation or apology.

It was a blessing to spend time with my pagan sisters.  As it is, Black witches are rare in my area, and most of my friendships with Black pagans have been cultivated at the annual Pantheacon event. We Black pagans haven’t always found large pagan gatherings to be welcoming, and based on my own experiences at Pantheacon, it was splendid to be in a space where we didn’t have to watch our backs. We could be unapologetically Black.

And nothing could have prepared me for the thrill of meeting an original Black Panther, the esteemed Elaine Brown. I was transfixed by her speech, her beauty, her message, and her legend.

My daughter said it best: it was pure magic to be surrounded by so many beautiful Black women, so many Black people, and the people who love and support us. It was nice that the group was as diverse as it was, but if the truth be told, it could have been entirely Black as far as I’m concerned — that is how such loving and positive energy on a grand scale affected me personally.

It’s my hope that the Black Women’s March becomes an annual event. Because, ain’t I a woman? – Beverley Smith

I also had an opportunity to speak with Jasper James from Activism Articulated about their own motivation to work for the march with Black Women United as a Two-Spirited community member.

As a Black woman, my work as co-owner of Integrated Communications and PR firm, Activism Articulated, with Black Women United struck a deeply personal chord. BWU’s message of inclusivity was what ignited my desire to assist in bringing this idea of celebrating all Black women to fruition. As we strive to create relevant transformation within Black communities, there is often a divide when it comes to amplifying the voices of those who are the most marginalized within our own community, often due to our connection to religion and the White supremacist/colonialist views that accompany social norms. BWU committed to actively making space and creating a platform that allowed for trans and queer Black voices to be heard.

Additionally, it is so rare that we take the time to put aside the anger and the pain that comes with oppression and this march provided a space to do just that. It was essentially a platform for ALL Black women to honor, celebrate and love one another. We can no longer wait for the oppressor to bring the level of healing that we need to the table. We must take on this responsibility ourselves and the “Ain’t I A Woman” march placed healing and advancement of Black women’s issues at the center of every action. I am so honored for my company to have played a role in supporting this incredible uplifting event. We look forward to supporting BWU in their continuous efforts to uplift Black women while addressing the issues that specifically affect them.

Beverley Smith and Crystal Blanton [Beverley Smith]

The intersectional issues of oppression for Black women continue to exist today and continue to exist within our Pagan community as well. More often than not the Pagan community does not speak to the experiences of Black women and we have to seek outside of our community to find understanding and empowerment that specifically addresses our particular brand of need. It is common that we are lost inside of the euro-centric dynamic of Paganism; it is very much the same as within the feminist movement.

Too often conversations, events, or rituals specifically addressing the needs of Black people are dismissed as political, divisive or “social justice warrior” activities. Yet we know that representation matters and there is something very important about the process of being seen.

The impact of events and activities that engage Black women in empowering moments that reaffirm our individual and collective power is a truly magical endeavor. The ripple effects of these moments of togetherness serve as a much needed reminder that we are not alone in society, and we are not alone as Pagan women.

It is easy to feel isolated in our spiritual community when we are the far and in-between face in the crowd but even in small doses we are pretty darn powerful.

As the new political movement of our lifetimes continues to gain momentum and thrive, there needs to be a space for Black women to be honored, celebrated, and acknowledged. And I am grateful that there will be a space at the table for us Black Pagan women there too.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

Posted by The Reader

Closing out our second week of the SPFBO giveaway, we again bring together three digital books from one blog’s selections: Fantasy Faction. With divergent settings ranging from Elven farms to sprawling fantasy epics, to even some Romans thrown in, this giveaway promised over 1,000 pages for four winners to while away their summer with.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did.

Ryan M. Meuller: Empire of Chains

Official Author Website, Facebook, & Twitter pages

Official Blurb: Five hundred years ago, powerful magic sealed Emperor Darien Warrick inside a ring of mountains. For five hundred years, his subjects have been trapped beside him. Some say he’s evil and these actions were necessary. Others say he’s a man willing to sacrifice anything for the greater good.

To young noblewoman Nadia, he is nothing but a murderer. On the day Warrick’s executioner takes her mother’s head, Nadia dedicates her life to one goal: killing Warrick. She spends her days training with the castle guard, her nights poring over the notes her mother left behind. In them, she finds the location of the only spell that can defeat the immortal sorcerer. But it feels too convenient. If she is to succeed in her quest, she must figure out Warrick’s true motivations and outsmart him.

For young woodsman Markus, Warrick is the man who owns him. Markus has spent his entire life training to become an Imperial Guard, but it’s a future he can’t stomach. However, it’s the only option he has, or at least the only sane one.

Until he meets Nadia.

Reformed thief Berig doesn’t care about Warrick one way or the other. Berig would rather keep his head down and try to scratch out what meager living he can. But in a world like this, he’ll never get what he wants.

Warrick has other plans.

Brandon Draga: The Summerlark Elf

Official Author Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages

Official Blurb: Enna Summerlark has spent her entire life as a farmer's daughter in the kingdom of Hallowspire, paying little mind to anything past what to sell at the next market day. When the next market day comes, however, strange events take place that will reunite her with an old friend, bring her into the world of a pair of sell-swords, and reveal a secret that will change Hallowspire forever, and cause ripples across the whole of the Four Kingdoms.

The first book in "The Four Kingdoms Saga", The Summerlark Elf introduces readers to compelling characters in an engaging world of swords and sorcery, personal turmoil and political intrigue!

Frances Smith: Spirit of the Sword: Pride and Fury

Official Author Website & Twitter page

Official Blurb: The Divine Empire teeters on the brink of collapse, riven by division and ravaged by a lack of purpose in its soul. Miranda Callistus, the first Aurelian mage born in five hundred years, may have the power to save the Empire from itself...if she decides that the proud and vainglorious nation is worth saving.

Meanwhile, believing that Miranda's life is in danger, her estranged brother Michael sets forth to her rescue, hoping to prove himself a true hero on the battlefield. But the allies he gathers to his side may be as dangerous to Miranda as any of her enemies.

While Michael fights against his foes, Miranda banters with them in the parlours of the Empire’s great families. Princes, princesses and patricians all claim to have the cure for the Empire’s sickness, and all seek to bend Miranda to their will – or break her, for if they cannot make her their friend then none in the capital will hesitate to make her a corpse.


Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at


Jul. 20th, 2017 11:37 pm[syndicated profile] questionable_content_feed

Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

Alice Grove is finished. I'm going to take some time to just do QC for a while and then start another side project sometime in the fall. Patreon subscribers will get sneak peeks, advance previews, and other stuff as it develops. Thank you for reading my comics.

Posted by Dodie Graham McKay

CANADA – Last June, an online exchange set the stage for the creation of #HavamalWitches, a campaign that has sparked kudos and controversy in the Heathen community worldwide.

On June 27, Canadian gythia and now activist, Brynja Chleirich posted a meme from the group Feminists United to her Facebook page, which described a scientific study detailing how often women are talked over and silenced by men. Along with the meme she posted the comment:

Because it’s related to how I feel within my Heathen community and I’m gonna just grow a set of fortitude and leave this right here and go ponder or shit. Working with Heimdallr the past several years? This girl. I see.

The frustration that compelled Chleirich to make such a post was the result of being pushed to her limit: “I posted this meme because I reached my ultimate level of “nope.” I posted because it was an absolute reflection of how I felt as a solitary gythia within the Heathen community and ultimately illustrates my perceptions of how we, as women, are (either directly or indirectly) treated within the boundaries of what often seems “Heathenry As Defined By Men.”

[Danica Swanson]

The thread that followed became a discussion and opportunity for many other women and femmes to express frustration and anger. The commentary from these voices inspired Jade Pichette to create #HavamalWitches.

Pichette, who also serves the Heathen community as a gythia and works professionally as an outreach coordinator for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto spoke to The Wild Hunt about their motivation:

“I started the hashtag somewhat as just a form of venting,” Pichette explained, “but then we decided it was something that needed to continue.”

Although Pichette can take credit for originating #HavamalWitches, Pichette is quick to extend credit to the network of people involved in spreading the message. ”Quite frankly at this point the key organizers are any woman or femme who takes it up to critique sexism in the Heathen community, the hashtag was created by me, but is owned by all of us who speak up and create space in the face of misogyny.”

Part of Pichette’s day job includes using social media for outreach, so creating and thinking about thought-provoking messages is something that comes with the territory. #HavamalWitches is also in part by the popular “I am the witch the Havamal warns you about” meme.

“But the core was the sexism that I have seen over the years within the Heathen community, and how increasingly women I knew were leaving the Heathen community.” Pichette went on to explain.

The phenomenon of women feeling alienated and pushed out of Heathen communities was also something that Chleirich personally experienced, and was part of why she decided to take a stand and step outside of her comfort zone

“I have, personally, never spoken out about any such ‘political’ issues, especially one of gender,” Chleirich explained. “However, after over a decade of being denied what I feel to be my own personal power of ritual and its subsequent ability to bring to the folk ‘experiences’ of a deeply profound and personal revelation, it is time to speak out.”

“I had been ready to completely walk away from the community who, I felt, should have been a larger support of my Heathen journey.”

[Shane Hultquist]

The action of #HavamalWitches is reaching out of social media and into the physical world. At this year’s Kaleidoscope Gathering, to be held at Raven’s Knoll in Ontario, August 2 -7, there will be a panel discussion featuring Pichette, Chleirich, and Alli Keeley, another original poster of the hashtag.

Anticipation for the discussion is high, and the intention is to open the floor to folk of all genders, and to examine how to create a more inclusive Heathen community.

Keeley says, “(The) panel is to be an open discussion about the inherent misogyny in the heathen community. How ingrained it can be from small comments of ‘Well since Thor is in the Ve so should his wife’ to outright belligerent comments like ‘Viking women should be wearing apron dresses.’ ”

Chleirich also has high hopes for #HavamalWitches in action. “There is an incredible need of the women-folk of the Heathen community both in Canada, and worldwide to be heard, seen and valued for the experiences they have brought not only to their hearths and private practice, but also to those experiences shown and effected within the Heathen public community and ritual experience at large.”

Chleirch is also clear that the definition of “woman” includes any self-identifying/presenting woman.

Despite receiving worldwide support, not all response to #HavamalWitches has been positive, and many supporters have been threatened and abused online for using the hashtag, or posting related memes.

For Chleirich, who was recently the target of a violent assault, this was especially troubling. “I was shocked at some of the backlash purporting men’s perspectives at being made to feel bullied, shamed or off-put due to our obviously shocking statements.”

“The irony knows no bounds in this regard,” Chleirich continues. “One particular statement I received, personally, was ‘When we [men] feel victimized we can get mean.’ As a woman who survived an attempted murder assault Monday, July 10, 2017, this is clearly a trigger on monumental levels.”

The negative reactions have galvanized the need for #HavamalWitches in the eyes of many, as Pichette says.

“Yes there has been backlash. There have been many who have denied that any sexism or misogyny exists in the Heathen community. Some have critiqued the women participating as ‘rocking the boat.’

“In some cases women have actually received threats for their participation, which both concerns and frankly angers me. However, in many cases the backlash helps to prove the point of why #HavamalWitches is so important to our community.”

While the hashtag originated in Canada and has turned into an active topic for discussion on Canadian Heathen forums and at gatherings, the discourse #HavamalWitches is prompting is of value everywhere.

“#HavamalWitches is a global issue, Heathens from all over the world including Canada, US, UK, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark and more have participated.  If you are a woman or femme who has experienced misogyny is the Heathen community, please take up #HavamalWitches for yourself, you own it, we own it. We are the Witches the Hávamál warns you about, and you are not alone.” urges Pichette.

Posted by Juliana Britto Schwartz

The controversial hydropower project which led to the murder of land defender Berta Cáceres has been halted as funders are forced to pull out due to years of indigenous-lead organizing.

David Wallace-Wells’ recent NY Mag essay on the worst-case scenario of climate change was terrifying. It has journalists asking whether doomsday narratives harm or help the climate movement.

Former NASA scientist releases a paper in support of a group of young plaintiffs who are suing the federal government for violating their rights by failing to stop climate change. The paper argues that we will need to not only reduce carbon emissions but remove carbon from the air in order for this planet to remain livable for future generations.

Washington just became the first state to pass a law that requires domestic violence victims know when their abuser has acquired a gun.

Posted by Cara Schulz

BELLE PLAINE, MN – After The Satanic Temple offered to create a monument for inclusion in the city’s free speech area at Veteran’s Memorial Park, the City Council voted unanimously to eliminate the area, bringing an end to a year of controversy.

Just under a year ago, a two foot high sculpture entitled “Joe” was installed at the park. The sculpture shows a soldier kneeling before a cross shaped headstone.

In January, the city removed the sculpture, concerned about potential lawsuits as the park is owned by the city. Concerns were raised that having an explicitly Christian monument could be seen as discriminatory toward other religions.

Area Catholics protested its removal and demanded the monument be returned to the park. Then, in April, the city council voted to create a free speech area in the park and the monument was returned to its location.

Rendering of TST monument [Courtesy TST website]

It was at this point that The Satanic Temple (TST) of Salem, MA petitioned the city for permission to install a monument to honor non-religious service members.

The Satanic Temple (TST) has a history of challenging governmental actions that they see as discriminatory toward atheists and minority religions. Last year, TST created After School Satan clubs to challenge Christian evangelical groups who host after hours clubs inside public schools.

The proposed park memorial was a black cube inscribed with pentagrams and topped with an upside-down soldier’s helmet. A plaque on one side would reportedly read:

In honor of the Belle Plaine veterans who fought to defend the United States and its Constitution.

TST’s monument plan was approved by the city council and would have been the first of its kind installed on public property in the United States. Lucian Greaves, TST’s spokesperson, said Belle Plaine officials didn’t “offer any resistance, to their credit.”

TST said it was creating a monument that would genuinely honor veterans and not designed to simply shock or offend.

[Matt Kowalski]

However, the park’s memorial controversy reached a boiling point Saturday, when dueling protests took place at the venue. An estimated 100 people attended a “rosary rally” organized by America Needs Fatima, a Catholic nonprofit. They prayed and held signs decrying the proposed Satanic monument. Less than ten supporters of the Satanic monument were on hand.

Also attending were area veterans. “I don’t know who’s speaking for the veterans. I don’t know who’s speaking for us. We got no problem. We fought for this country for everybody,” said one local veteran in a video by RUPTLY.

Prior to these protests, the Christian monument was removed from the park by the family who donated. The family members expressed concerns that it could become damaged during the protests.

[Matt Kowalski]

In reaction, Belle Plaine city council voted Monday to rescind the free speech area. The park will now be free of any monuments.

Belle Plaine city officials released a statement Tuesday morning:
Last night, the Belle Plaine City Council voted to rescind a resolution enacted in February, 2017, that allowed individuals or organizations to place and maintain privately-owned displays in a designated space of the city-owned Veterans Memorial Park.

As called-for in the resolution, owners of all privately-owned Park displays currently located in the Park’s designated space are now being given 10 days’ notice to remove the displays. Our local veterans organizations are supportive of this action.

The original intent of providing the public space was to recognize those who have bravely contributed to defending our nation through their military service. In recent weeks and months, though, that intent has been overshadowed by freedom of speech concerns expressed by both religious and non-religious communities.

The debate between those communities has drawn significant regional and national attention to our city, and has promoted divisiveness among our own residents.

While this debate has a place in public dialogue, it has detracted from our city’s original intent of designating a space solely for the purpose of honoring and memorializing military veterans, and has also portrayed our city in a negative light.

Therefore, the Council believes that it is in the best interests of our Belle Plaine community to rescind the resolution, and bring this divisive matter to closure.

In a comment on TST’s Facebook post, announcing the council’s decision, Adam Nagel said, “Funny how Christians and Conservatives tout themselves as champions of the constitution, yet have such a hard time with free speech and separation of church and state.”

Posted by Sejal Singh

Rebecca McCray has a horrifying piece in Slate this week about sexual and domestic violence survivors who are thrown into jail – by the very prosecutors they turn to for help.

The piece describes a Honolulu domestic violence center operated by the prosecutor’s office. Rather than focusing on getting survivors and their kids to safety, the shelter seizes survivors’ cellphones and laptops, refuses to admit their kids, and will turn away anyone who won’t promise to testify against their abusers. Disturbingly, the city is prioritizing its conviction rate before its moral obligation to ensure survivors have a safe, welcoming place to go when they flee violence.

Gender-based violence is notoriously underreported; services must be available to the vast majority of survivors who just aren’t willing to testify against perpetrators. A model like the Honolulu shelter would literally leave them out in the cold, potentially forcing them to choose between being homeless and returning to an abusive partner. And I worry that if a survivor seeking help goes to a “shelter” that treats them not like a human being who needs help, but as a tool in a prosecutor’s strategy, they may be less likely to seek help in the future.

Even worse, some prosecutors are so hell-bent on securing convictions they are even willing to put survivors in jail to force them to testify against their abusers. McRary writes:

Last year in Oregon, a woman who alleged she’d been sexually assaulted by a corrections officer was jailed on a material witness warrant to ensure she’d cooperate with authorities; she was held even though she told the judge she intended to testify. In Houston, Texas, former Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson’s office jailed a rape victim for 28 days to force her to testify. “There were no apparent alternatives that would ensure both the victim’s safety and her appearance at trial,” said Anderson in a video statement defending the choice. In New Orleans, the practice of detaining domestic violence and sex crime victims to secure testimony is the status quo.….

In 2011, [Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro] had a woman arrested at her graduation party to guarantee her testimony against an ex-boyfriend who’d allegedly abused her.

Throwing survivors in jail, robbing them of their autonomy in the wake of violence, is the ultimate form of revictimization.

The likely result of this is that fewer survivors come forward to report. For survivors who, in the wake of trauma, are grappling with how to seek safety and healing, the possibility that you’d be locked up because you’re not ready to take the stand is one hell of a deterrent to coming forward.

It’s a harsh illustration of the priorities that underlie the criminal system: prosecution is fundamentally about vindicating the interest of the state, even when that’s at odds with the needs, well-being, and dignity of survivors. And it’s another reminder of why survivors need civil solutions to gender-based violence.

You can read McCrary’s full piece here.

Image credit: University of Idaho Women’s Center

Posted by The Reader

If only hump day meant more camels in our lives—one hump or two, it makes no matter—life would be significantly better for everyone involved. Alas, we can only offer succor in the form of three fantasy fans picking up digital copies of these three SPFBO competitors.

But then, to sweeten the deal even further, we’re adding one FREE SPFBO download for everyone who wants it. Look for the link at the bottom of the post as you gorge your eyes and imaginations while checking out the three other entrants for the daily giveaway.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did.

Maya Starling: Dragon’s Treasure

Official Author Facebook & Twitter pages

Official Blurb: “She was the girl who longed for the freedom of the dragon, and he was the dragon who longed to be a man.”

A heroine reclaiming her fate. A dragon with a secret. A prince on a quest.

Olivia flees to the forest seeking freedom from her family’s demands. She finds refuge in a cave, only to discover it is a dragon’s lair. The dragon, Kaden, is not the monster she first thinks him to be. After overcoming her initial fright – of not being eaten – Olivia discovers that the dragon has a gentle heart.

Kaden is resigned to loneliness after centuries of wandering the lands. Meeting Olivia brings joy to his solitary life, and never has he dreamed that a young woman would be the one to start the change in him.

A storm brews on the horizon.

A prince with a handsome face and a cruel heart is on a quest to slay the dragon, and take the throne. He will do whatever it takes to have what he believes is his to own. And now, he has his eyes set on the pretty little maiden from the forest. He will make her his Queen, whether she wants it or not.

Beth Hammond: The Sound of the Stones

Official Author Website

Official Blurb: An ancient book

A hidden prophecy

A quest to save humanity

When Frankie breaks the binding on an ancient book Ashra's world intertwines with her own. 

Evil seeks to destroy humanity, but Ashra is more powerful than she knows. As a new king ascends the throne both her virtue and her life are in danger. She risks everything to flee the city in search of answers. In her quest to save humanity she finds love, uncovers mysteries from the past, and unlocks a primordial magic she never knew she had. 

The multi perspective, epic setting of Game of Thrones meets the "book within a book" concept of The Never Ending Story. With a sense of humor similar to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and romantic undertones reminiscent of The Name of the Wind, The Sound of the Stones appeals to a wide fantasy loving audience.

Jeramy Goble: Souls of Astaeus
Official Author Website, Facebook, & Twitter pages

Official Blurb: The Astraeans access their millions of previous lives whenever they wish. Their semi-immortality is a curse as well as a blessing. 

Book one of the completed Akallian Tales trilogy, Souls of Astraeus, is a fresh take on fantasy adventure, and plunges you into the fight among a myriad of worlds and characters.

Everyone has a part in this story.

When Akal Atka loses his wife and dies from a related horror, he is slammed into an awareness of being the owner of millions of previous lives. As he struggles to adapt to the steep learning curve of ancient reincarnation, Akal learns he is only one of many with access to his semi-immortal gift.

With the death of his last regular life's love still fresh in his soul, Akal seeks to take advantage of his new abilities to somehow go back and prevent her death. Akal fails to do so however, and has no choice but to slow down and show his past lives the proper respect they deserve. As he grows in the wisdom of this patience, Akal develops relationships with others like him, and sets upon a path of discovery that reveals he and his comrades are not alone in their presumed authority over the multiverse.

D.E. Olsen: The Eagle’s Flight (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Official Author Website & Facebook page

Official Blurb: Peace in the Seven Realms of Adalmearc is only as strong as those who rule them. With the death of the high king and his heir too young to assume the throne, political intrigues fill the landscape as the leading noble families scheme and plot their way to power. Meanwhile, enemies abroad sense the changes and make their own preparations.  

Standing as a safeguard against both foreign foes as well as enemies closer to heart are the Order and its knights. Keeping the realms of Adalmearc united and at peace is their foremost duty. But when the strife turns political and the enemy is difficult to discern, when alliances shift and allegiances are torn, even the hitherto unassailable honour of a knight may become stained.  

The Eagle's Flight compiles the first three of the Chronicles of Adalmearc. It is a journey into the world of Adal, its realms, peoples, cultures, and conflicts.


Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at

Savage Love

Jul. 19th, 2017 04:00 am[syndicated profile] savagelove_feed

Posted by Dan Savage

Man's roommate is in a femdom relationship by Dan Savage

I'm a 35-year-old straight woman, recently married, and everything is great. But I have been having problems reaching orgasm. When we first started dating, I had them all the time. It was only after we got engaged that it became an issue. He is not doing anything differently, and he works hard to give me oral pleasure, last longer, and include more foreplay. He's sexy and attractive and has a great working penis. I am very aroused when we have sex, but I just can't climax. It is weird because I used to very easily, and still can when I masturbate. I have never been so in love before and I have definitely never been with a man who is so good to me. Honestly, all of my previous boyfriends did not treat me that well, but I never had a problem having orgasms. My husband is willing to do whatever it takes, but it's been almost a year since I came during vaginal intercourse! Is this just a temporary problem that will fix itself?

My Orgasms Are Now Shy

"This is a temporary problem that will fix itself," said Dr. Meredith Chivers, an associate professor of psychology at Queen's University and a world-renowned sex researcher who has done—and is still doing—groundbreaking work on female sexuality, desire, and arousal.

"And here's why it will fix itself," said Dr. Chivers. "First, MOANS has enjoyed being orgasmic with her partner and previous partners. Second, even though she's had a hiatus in orgasms through vaginal intercourse, she is able to have orgasms when masturbating. Third, she describes no concerns with becoming sexually aroused physically and mentally. Fourth, MOANS has a great relationship, has good sexual communication, and is sexually attracted to her partner. Fifth, what she's experiencing is a completely normal and expected variation in sexual functioning that probably relates to stress."

The orgasms you're not having right now—orgasms during PIV sex with your husband—the lack of which is causing you stress? Most likely the result of stress, MOANS, so stressing out about the situation will only make the problem worse.

"I wonder if the background stress of a big life change—getting married is among the top 10 most stressful life events—might be distracting or anxiety-provoking," said Dr. Chivers. "Absolutely normal if it were."

Distracting, anxiety-provoking thoughts can also make it harder to come.

"Being able to have an orgasm is about giving yourself over to pleasure in the moment," said Dr. Chivers. "Research on brain activation during orgasm suggests that a key feature is deactivation in parts of the brain associated with emotion and cognitive control. So difficulties reaching orgasm can arise from distracting, anxiety-provoking thoughts that wiggle their way in when you're really aroused, maybe on the edge, but just can't seem to make it over. They interfere with that deactivation."

Dr. Chivers's advice will be familiar to anyone with a daughter under the age of 12: Let it go.

"Let go of working toward vaginal orgasm during sex," Dr. Chivers advised. "Take vaginal orgasm off the table for at least a month—you're allowed to do other things and come other ways, just not through vaginal-penile intercourse. Instead of working toward the goal of bringing back your vaginal orgasm, enjoy being with your sexy husband and experiment with other ways of sharing pleasure, and if the vaginal orgasms don't immediately come back, oh well. There are, fortunately, many roads to Rome. Enjoy!"

My advice? Buy some stress-busting pot edibles if you're lucky enough to live in a state that has legal weed, MOANS, or make your own if you live in a suck-ass state that doesn't. And tell your husband to stop trying so hard—if his efforts are making you feel guilty, that's going to be hugely counterproductive.

But last word goes to Dr. Chivers: "If your vaginal orgasms don't return, and you're unhappy about that, consider connecting with a sex therapist in your area. In the USA, AASECT, the ( is a great resource for finding a therapist or counselor.”

Follow Dr. Chivers on Twitter @DrMLChivers.

I'm a straight man who recently moved in with a rich, straight friend. He sent me an e-mail before I moved in letting me know he was in a femdom relationship. He was only telling me this, he said, because I might notice "small, subtle rituals meant to reinforce [their] D/s dynamic." If it bothered me, I shouldn't move in. Finding an affordable place in Central London is hard, so I told him I didn't mind. But I do. Their many "rituals" run the gamut from the subtle to the not-so-subtle: He can't sit on the furniture without her permission, which she grants with a little nod (subtle); when he buzzes her in, he has to wait by the door on his hands and knees and kiss her feet when she enters and keep at it until she tells him to stop (NOT SUBTLE!). She's normal with me—she doesn't attempt to order me around—but these "rituals" make me uncomfortable and I worry they're getting off from my witnessing them.

Rituals Often Observed Mortifying In Extreme

His apartment, his rules—or her rules, actually. If you don't want to witness the shit your rich and submissive friend with the great apartment warned you about before you moved in, ROOMIE, you'll have to move your ass out.

I know a teenager in a theater production who is receiving inappropriate advances from an older member of the cast. Her refusals are met with aggression and threats that he'll make a scene, ruining the show for everyone. I believe that fear is causing her to follow through with things she isn't interested in or comfortable with. What advice would you have on how she gets out of this situation? She's otherwise enjoying the theater experience.

Theatrical Harassment Really Enrages Adult Torontonian

The awesome band Whitehorse invited me to Toronto to celebrate their new album, Panther in the Dollhouse, which features songs inspired by sex-workers-rights activists and—blushing—the Savage Lovecast. (Luke and Melissa and the band rehearsed and played the Savage Lovecast theme live, which was magical.) Anyway, THREAT, I answered your question during the show and I kindasorta jumped down your throat. I thought you were a member of the theater company and an eyewitness—and passive bystander—to this harassment. ("You ask what this kid can do about this," I recall saying, "but the better question is why haven't you done something about it?")

But there was nothing in your question to indicate you were an eyewitness and a passive bystander, THREAT, which I didn't realize until rereading your question after the show. Sigh. I have more time to digest the questions that appear in the column or on the podcast, and my copy editor (peace be upon her) and the tech-savvy at-risk youth live to point out a detail I may have missed or gotten wrong, prompting me to rewrite or rerecord an answer. But I'm on my own at live shows—no copy editor, no TSARY, no net—upping the odds of a screwup. My apologies, THREAT.

But even if you're not an eyewitness, THREAT, there are still a few things you can do. First, keep listening to your friend. In addition to offering her your moral support, encourage her to speak to the director of the play and the artistic director of the theater. This fucking creep needs to be fired—and if the people running the show are made aware of the situation and don't act, they need to be held accountable. A detailed Facebook post brought to the attention of the local media should do the trick. Hopefully it won't come to that, THREAT, but let me know if it does. Because I'm happy to help make that Facebook post go viral. recommended

On the Lovecast, Amanda Marcotte on Game of Thrones:


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Posted by Terence P Ward

SUNNYVALE, Calif –Jason Mankey credits his public visibility as a Pagan to the blog he writes on the Patheos Pagan channel, Raise the Horns. He is also currently that channel’s editor, a position which has put him in the crosshairs during the sometimes-tense ownership transition to BN Media, a company with a strong Christian influences.

He has been praised as a devoted priest of Pan and derided as a corporate minion. In the following conversation, a portrait emerged which is more nuanced than one can often glean from blog posts for and about an individual.

Jason Mankey [courtesy].

The Wild Hunt: Do you do anything with your life other than manage a blog channel at Patheos?

Jason Mankey: Despite what some people believe, Patheos Pagan is not a full-time job. I only spend about 10 hours a week working for Patheos.

The other 30 hours a week I spend at my computer are generally focused on book writing, figuring out what festivals I’m going to next, and creating workshops and rituals. It’s weird to have transitioned into Paganism as a full-time job but I’m mostly there. I’ve started teaching Wiccan-Witchcraft classes at a local store, so crafting lesson plans for that takes a lot of time too.

Because I really (really really) miss talking to human beings during the week, most Tuesdays I spend four hours working at a local used bookstore. In many ways these are my favorite work hours of the week. No one’s yelling at me, and I don’t have to think too much while I’m there. I also spend a lot of time taking care of my wife. I do the cooking and the cleaning. So yes, I do lots of things, and Patheos is only one small part of my life.

TWH: Writing and traveling both could easily be full-time pursuits. How do you balance them?

JM: I don’t think there’s a lot of balance there. If I’m doing one, then I’m not doing the other. The worst is a book deadline during February-March (ConVocation, PantheaCon, Paganicon) because I’m just not disciplined enough to write on a plane or in my hotel room. I know some writers who can do both at the same time, but I’m not one of them.

And festivals aren’t really a full-time thing. They are occasional occurrences, and I’d probably go broke or lose my wife if they were super-frequent. A lot of festivals I end up hitting on my own dime, or only have a few fees waived. (Yes, there are festivals where presenters pay their own way in, even if they have books.)

The kindest festivals will pay my travel costs and give me a place to sleep (usually this is easiest at outdoor festivals), but even if those things are taken care of festivals still end up costing me money. I’m always going to need snacks, cider, and probably some sort of caffeine drink in the middle of the day. I know some writers who take a fee on top of their travel costs, but I don’t think I’m worth that much, and besides, I love what I do. I don’t like to haggle about money.

Writing is mostly a full-time thing I guess, but I have trouble sitting still for six or eight hours a day writing. I’ll write book stuff for three or four hours, and then research something, or work on a blog post for some of the day. I’m lucky that I can dedicate so much of my day to Pagan stuff, a lot of authors work a full 40 to 50 hours a week at a mundane job and then write in the evenings on top of that. I count my blessings, because I know just how lucky I am.

TWH: Since we’re talking about writing, where do you get your ideas?

JM: I try to write about things that interest me. I love history, and I don’t see it written about very much in most Pagan blogs (or books) so I try to include a lot of that in what I do.

A lot of workshop and writing ideas stem from things I’m curious about. I’m not a spiritualist, but I’m fascinated that there was this huge “occult” movement in the United States for nearly 50 years and it’s mostly ignored in our history books.

Spiritualists were involved in all sorts social issues too. They were most all abolitionists, and the suffragist movement had a lot of spiritualists in its ranks. I want to share that story and that history, so that’s part of why I write.

I also think we as Pagans don’t do a very good job remembering our past. Sure we remember a lot of big names like Gardner and Valiente, but what about Leo Martello or Gwydion Pendderwen? We should know their stories and remember their achievements. We wouldn’t be here today without those folks. So keeping our history inspires me to write a lot, even if I can’t give those stories the justice they deserve.

When it comes to books, The Witch’s Athame was something I was asked to write about by Llewellyn. The Witch’s Book of Shadows came about because I was too scared to write anything “bigger” and wanted the tight outline writing a book like that provides.

TWH: Other than your blog, how much influence do your musical tastes have on your writing?

JM: Not all that much. In order to concentrate I tend to listen to jazz and big band stuff while I write. I get distracted when I listen to things with words because I find myself singing along (poorly) and concentrating more on the song than on the writing.

Every once in awhile I might put on some Doors, Loreena McKennitt, or Damh the Bard if I find myself trying to capture a very specific mood or emotion, but that’s rare.

Writing ritual is the one real exception. When working on Yule I’ll listen to Tori Amos’ Christmas album, and Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy for midsummer. But rituals are more personal things, books (and sometimes even blog articles) need to have footnotes and if I’m distracted I’ll miss them. I do love music though. There’s something very “Pagan” about it just in how it moves us. It’s transformative, just like magick.

TWH: Given that they are more personal things to you, how do you feel about rituals in books? Are they helpful to readers?

JM: I hope so, because I include a few in every book. Ritual can be hard to write, and for many years the rituals in our “101 books” were really rudimentary. I think we’ve learned a lot as a community over the last 30 years about how to write rituals in a way that are more inclusive and have more involvement between everybody.

With one exception, I’ve never seen writing ritual as something personal. It makes me feel more like a chef than anything else. I’m going to attempt to create something, and how it’s interpreted is up to each individual at the ritual. Great ritual writing is about setting up and creating the circumstances for a spiritual experience, what I don’t think you can do dictate is how each person in circle is going to interpret that experience. How a ritual resonates is generally the personal part.

I will add that in April of 2001 my grandmother died, and it came right as I was writing our community’s Beltane ritual. I was really close to my grandma and it hit me especially hard. (She was the first family member close to me to die.) That ritual ended up being personal, and it’s the only ritual I can remember writing that (and I know it sounds cliche) bared my soul to everyone. I remember crying while writing and being surrounded by flowers, which were beautiful, but were only there because they were memorial flowers. It was so strange to be focused on “rebirth” and “life” while writing a Beltane ritual and being surrounded by death. I somehow put all that of into the ritual, and then lost it after the ritual was over.

This was right before the age of everyone having a laptop or even a home computer so I wrote the whole ritual out on notebook paper. That’s one I’d like to get back.

Mankey with Geraldine Beskin in London’s Atlantis Bookshop [courtesy]

TWH: Have you ever participated in a ritual that you wrote, but were not facilitating?

JM: With some frequency close to home. When I was helping to run our local open circle I’d often end up writing ritual but then opt not to have a part in it. It’s fun to watch your words come to life without having to actually say them.

In my eclectic coven I created our ritual structure, so in some ways we are always using “my ritual” when we meet even if I’m not doing the heavy lifting that night. One of the things I probably like about being a Gardnerian is that I get to turn off my brain and use someone else’s ritual for awhile. That’s always nice.

TWH: Wicca is strongly associated with gender balance; Raven Kaldera recently observed that that duality is as important to Wiccan as communion is to Catholics. In your view, is there a place for non-binary persons in Wicca? If so, what place is it?

JM: As a practicing Wiccan-Witch (and a Gardnerian one to boot) the idea that “duality is as important to Wicca as communion is to Catholics” strikes me as a bit odd. There’s a part of me that wants to answer that with a sassy, “is Raven a Wiccan?” but that’s probably not going to be productive.

There are certainly some Wiccan traditions that place a strong emphasis on duality, and then there are others that do not. I believe Wicca is probably best defined by its practice and not its theology, which has always been hard to ascertain anyway.

And of course there’s a place for non-binary persons in Wicca. My deities are representative of everything’, including every gender and the genderless. And their place in the circle is wherever they want their place in the circle to be. The world of “Wicca” is a pretty big place, and there’s a lot of room within it.

TWH: What in the heck do you do for Patheos? Are you pulling the strings of a vast, conspiratorial web of intrigue?

JM: We have ties to both the Illuminati and several Rosicrucian orders. Our plan is to get Lady Sheba anointed (posthumously) as the Queen of all Witches and Pagans. From there it’s just total world domination.

[Author’s note: Mankey’s response included an emoticon after the above paragraph to indicate he was joking. It was not reproduced here, but he was in fact joking in his initial response to the question. He then continued with a serious response]

My job at Patheos Pagan constitutes a few specific things. I run our social media accounts, which means I spend a lot of time on Facebook scheduling posts from Patheos, and other places. We run articles from a wide range of sites on our Facebook page.

I don’t “edit” writers in the traditional sense. Writers who have blogs are free to write nearly anything and everything they want (other than badmouthing Patheos). When they are done they post it. I don’t see it until it’s posted just like everyone else.

I don’t go back and “edit” posts once they are up. I might fix a typo or something, but I’ve never changed the meaning of a post or even done any significant “editing.” Most of the time when I go into a post it’s to add or remove a picture. Images are great for promoting posts, and are also a great way to get sued, so I monitor pictures to make sure they are legal to use.

I don’t agree with everything that’s published at Patheos, and it’s not my job to. We want writers with different opinions and philosophies, which I think is representative of Paganism. We aren’t all liberals and we don’t agree on every issue and that should be okay.

I’m also in charge of recruiting writers for Patheos, and we are always looking to bring new writers into the fold. Bringing in a new blog is the most fun part of my job, and it’s really satisfying to see a new writer’s post go viral.

I also function as a liaison of sorts between Patheos (now owned by BeliefNet) and the writers at Patheos Pagan. It’s a tough balancing act because I’m not just the channel manager at Patheos Pagan, I’m one of our writers, and have been since 2012.

Patheos is a very big website and the traffic from the Pagan Channel is only a very tiny bit of the site’s traffic, but they’ve always treated the Pagan channel as an important piece of the puzzle. I get treated the same way and paid the same amount of money as the channel manager at Patheos Evangelical or Patheos Catholic. In my five years at Patheos I feel as if they’ve gone above and beyond to make us (the Pagans) feel welcome. There have been some bumps in the road, few relationships are perfect, but I think we’ve been treated pretty well there all things considered.

TWH: Let’s talk about the intersection of blogging and Paganism. For starters, has writing and managing blogs affected you as a Pagan?

JM: Blogging at Patheos Pagan has changed my entire life, and that’s not an exaggeration. Without Raise the Horns there are no books, no trips to Pagan Spirit Gathering as a featured presenter, none of that stuff, and I mean it.

I blogged a little bit before Patheos, and I had written in some magazines and done a lot of workshops, but I found my voice at Raise the Horns. That’s when I started putting together the discipline needed to write well (check out my output there in 2012/13-just awful!).

When I got my own blog there in 2012 it was such a big deal to me. Back then Patheos hosted the Wild Hunt, and Teo Bishop was a huge presence in the online community, and Star Foster was was amazing and writing nearly all the time, and my blog was right there next to those; it felt like such an honor.

The platform and potential audience just felt so big that it really made me work harder to live up to what everyone there was doing at the time. And the Pagan blogosphere is smart, the writers are smart, and the commenters are smart. You have to be on top of your game or you’ll get laughed out of the room.

There are a lot of blogs that survive on their own, but there’s something about being on a “blog hub” whether that’s Patheos Pagan, Witches and Pagans and now Pagan Bloggers, that I think is good for blogs and good for the community. “Like attracts like” is a fundamental rule of magick, and I feel like I benefited a lot from being only a click away from Star, PVSL, and everyone else who has ever written there over the years.

For all the gifts that blogging has given me, there’s been a less than ideal side to it too. There are several gray hairs on my head (hidden by dye, but I know they are there) that have come directly from being involved in the online world. I don’t like to get into it, but the online world has made me severely depressed at points, especially over the last two years.

I’m more cautious than I used to be, less trusting too, and I think that is a direct result of some experiences I’ve had online. There’s a lot more than could be said, but what good would it do?

Jason Mankey


TWH: Did Star Foster discover you, then, and invite you to blog at Patheos?

JM: Actually it was Jason Pitzl [founder of The Wild Hunt] who first suggested Patheos to me. He then got me in touch with Star and we talked about a blog there. That got put on the back burner and after a few months I started blogging at Agora (our shared blog at Patheos Pagan).

I was at Agora from about Imbolc to Beltane and when I asked Star about writing more at Agora she just said, “Do you want your own blog?” That was June of 2012 I believe. Star did come up with the name, and Patheos designed the banner. So Star did have a lot to do with it.

Her footprint from her days at Patheos is still pretty big. I think she brought in John Beckett and she created the Agora.

TWH: [At Patheos] in effect writers are paid to draw eyeballs to the sight. That has consequences such as an ad density that sometimes slows down page loads or elicits complaints from readers, and an understandable pressure to get more pages out of writers to convert into views. Do you think those complaints have merit, or is that just the best way to get Pagan voices out there? Are other models, not used at Patheos, which you’d be interested in trying, if only in an alternate reality?

JM: Up until now your questions were so nice and easy!

Patheos tried a subscription-based model, and the amount of people who signed up for it could be counted on my fingers and toes. I think people will pay for news, but not much else online, and that leaves us with advertisements. No one likes ads, but the alternatives only rarely seem to work. I’d love for Patheos Pagan (and Patheos in general) to be sustainable without ads, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.

Patheos take any trouble with advertisements very seriously. Response to things such as “my phone was highjacked by a free iPhone ad” are immediately looked into and hopefully fixed.Every major website I visit has advertisements, and occasionally those ads are terrible or highjack my phone and take me to the App Store. Sadly, that’s a part of the internet.

Hopefully when someone writes something it will draw eyeballs to the site, but I’ve never felt a whole lot of pressure from Patheos (old ownership or new) to get people to write. Do they want us to write? Certainly. Are people removed from Patheos for not writing? Absolutely not. We’ve had blogs lie dormant for a solid year when a writer has something going on in their life, and then they come back and it’s fine. If that’s pressure, we are really failing at it.

Isn’t the point of nearly every website to draw readers in? Even websites that exist through donations still want readers; if they don’t have readers there won’t be any donations.

I think Patheos is still one of the best ways to get voices from the Pagan community out into the wider world. It’s not the only way of course, but it has more reach than many other sites, and I think it’s great to see Pagans writing side by side with people from a wide variety of faiths.

10 JULY - 17 JULY

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:23 pm[syndicated profile] femslash_today_feed

Posted by kidmarathon

{American Gods}
- run right back to her by doctorkaitlyn -Audrey/Laura .

{DC Universe}
- Time to Regrow by katleept -Batgirl/Ivy (Batman and Robin).
- got those pretty little straps around your ankles by templefugate -Barbara Gordon/Dinah Lance (Birds of Prey).

{Golden Girls}
- Those Who Matter by katleept -Blanche/Dorothy .

{Harry Potter}
- Slither by swan_secrets -Hermione/Pansy .
- Midsummer's Night Magic by kiertorata -Lavender Brown/Parvati Patil .
- I happen to like nice girls by digthewriter -Fleur/Tonks .

{Joss verse}
- The Greatest Thing by katleept -Willow/Kennedy .
- We'll always Have Minsk by brutti_ma_buoni -Anya/Dawn .
It's Magic - One More Collab With My Good Friendhenartorinos -Willow/Tara .
- Nice Girls Don't Stay For Breakfast by <[personal profile] beer_good_foamy> -Faith/Buffy .

{Law and Order SVU}
- "The 4th of July" by women_in_kevlar -Alex/Olivia .
- Gone by girlslash -Alex/Olivia .
- Hope by women_in_kevlar -Alex/Olivia .

{Power Rangers}
- Something Special With You by katleept -Trini/Kim .

- Sugar and Spice by reinadefuego -Rayna Boyanov/Susan Cooper .

{Teen Wolf}
- Five Times Malia Wants to Propose to Kira by doctorkaitlyn -Kira/Malia .
- Predictability by doctorkaitlyn -Kali/Violet .

{True Blood}
- Show Me by dexstarr -Jessica Hamby/Pam Swynford De Beaufort .

- femslash100 - Down

Posted by Heather Greene

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and members of Ásatrúarfélagið.


Reykjavik — According to local sources, construction on the much-anticipated Ásatrú temple has been halted. “The unique design of the building, by architect Magnús Jensson, is not simple in execution.” Due to that fact, builders have run into “engineering challenges.”

In 2015, columnist Eric Scott spoke with Jensson about his unique design and the reasons behind it. “The temple will bore into the hill itself, leaving an interior wall of bare rock; water will trickle down that wall and collect in streams and pools built into the floor. These features are meant to tie together the indoors and outdoors, the constructed and the natural. […] The wooden walls and ceiling will slope up into a dome. According to Jensson, the shape of the dome is meant to evoke the female form, in contrast to the phallic associations of other religious buildings in Reykjavik.”

Jensson told Scott that he had no interest in duplicating ancient construction, but rather watned to build something that reflected modern practice. Despite the current setbacks, high priest Hilmar Örm Hilmarsson still expects the temple to be open by late spring, 2018.

*   *   *

LA BELLE, Penn. — In an update to a 2016 story, the newly formed Wiccan circle at the SCI Fayette facility is reportedly expanding to other prisons. Organizer Richard McCullough originally called the group the Alternative Spirituality Grove, but has since renamed it the group Green Willow Grove.

McCullough had been working on the project for over ten years, saying that it was a journey that took him “up and down, left and right, back and forth […] and in and out of the process of obtaining legitimacy, and acknowledgement of the Wiccan religion in prison.”

McCullough now reports that the Green Willow Grove, with support of their high priestess Lady Earla Burwell, will expand to include “inmates from across the country looking to start their own” groups. He wants to share the process, resources, and information with others who are trying to do the same thing.

 *   *   *
– According to Smithsonian Magazine, a library is needing help translating old magical documents. “The Newberry Library in Chicago is home to some 80,000 documents pertaining to religion during the early modern period.” Some of the documents “deal with magic—from casting charms to conjuring spirits.”

The documents are online and available to anyone through the library’s Transcribing Faith site. Part of the objective is making it possible for the public and for researchers easy access to the material. “Manuscripts are these unique witnesses to a particular historical experience,” said Christopher Fletcher, coordinator of the project, to the magazine reporter. There are currently three magic-related manuscripts that the library is working to translate. We will have you more on this story in the coming weeks.

In other news:

  • Filmmaker James Myers has created a short video called Fortis Libertas or Brave Liberty, based on interviews that he did at PantheaCon 2017. Myers writes, “Frustrated and troubled by the current administration and all the craziness that you see in the news? Pagan or not…This is for you! Check out these timely and thought provoking interviews with three influential leaders in the Pagan world as they give advice on how to cope and survive these times.” His guests include Jason Mankey, Selena Fox, and Thorn Mooney with music by Celia. The video can be viewed through YouTube.
  • The Alexandria Temple in Denver is collecting unwanted calendars for its prison ministry program. “Calendars are very useful in prisons, and appreciated by the inmates who have them. Many chaplain’s offices give out calendars at the turning of the year, but there are never enough. Please help out if you can. We have already started receiving our too many calendars in the mail, and I know others have too. Rather than waste them, put them to use.”
  • Solar Cross Temple continues its online spiritual programming this weekend with “Devotions For the People: Praises for the Indwelling Spirit.” Sunday’s event is called “Ori Devotional” and was written by Lou Florez. He explains, “In Orisha traditions in Africa and the diaspora the Ori, or indwelling spirit, is considered the highest authority and divinity in the cosmos. It is this consciousness that first offers its consent before any of our projects, dreams, or goals can come into full manifestation, or before any other divinity or spirit can assist us.” Solar Cross has been holding these devotionals monthly. The subject and direction changes as does the writer. All directions and information on how to participate are online.
  • Mystic South is launching its first event this weekend. The three-day indoor conference kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday in Atlanta. Held in the Crown Plaza Ravinia, the event is the first of its kind to be held in the Southeast. The Wild Hunt, which is based in Atlanta, will be hosting an informal pre-conference meet and greet in the hotel Thursday evening. All those who are attending Mystic South are welcome to come say hello to and chat with TWH team members and others.
  • Fall events are being announced as August arrives. Chamisa Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess has announced its annual fall event called Magical Mountain Mabon. Based in New Mexico, Chamisa host its three-day spiritual retreat deep in the Manzano Mountains, outside of Albuquerque. This year’s theme is “The Song Within and Circle” lead by S. J. Tucker.
  • Ninth Wave Press has put out a call for submissions for an upcoming publication: Silver Wheel: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Arianrhod. Details about the project are online, and “all proceeds from the sale of this devotional anthology will benefit the Sisterhood of Avalon Land Fund.” Ninth Wave is the “publishing arm of the Sisterhood of Avalon, and seeks to produce quality works about the Avalonian Tradition, Welsh Paganism, Celtic Religion, Druidism, and Women’s Spirituality.”

Posted by The Reader

Well, our first week of giveaways is now under our belt with nary a hitch. Messages are out to our first 16 winners, and now it’s time to turn our attention to the second week with the first giveaway revolving around four digital copies of books in Kitty G’s stable.

Feel free to put on your figurative (or literal) judge’s cap as you peruse this eclectic lot. All four kick off their own series to open up their own unique worlds, and if we were trying to make a sentence combining bits of each of their titles, it would go a little something like this: “The Eighth God uses The Sword to Sunder the Crown in the Darklands.”

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did

M.L. Spencer: Darkstorm

Official Author Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads pages  

Official Blurb: Braden and Quin Reis share a tragic past, but it’s now up to them to save the future. When a secret conspiracy resorts to harnessing the powers of the Netherworld to save their legacy, Braden and Quin are the only mages capable of stopping them. But these two would-be heroes are compromised, harboring terrible secrets.

Can Braden and Quin put aside their differences long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they relent and join the conspiracy?

Darkstorm is the prequel to the epic grimdark fantasy series The Rhenwars Saga. If you like morally gray antiheroes, page-turning action, and mind-boggling plot twists, then you’ll love Spencer’s award-winning series.

T.H. Paul: The Legacy Chronicle: The Sword

Official Author Facebook, & Twitter pages 

Official Blurb: In The Sword, the first volume of his new fantasy series The Legacy Chronicle, T.H. Paul brings you into a vast world of gods and mortals. The story of The Sword follows the life of Trem Waterhound, a half-elven hermit who, against his own judgment, heals and befriends a wounded young man when he finds his unconscious body in the thick undergrowth of Silverleaf Forest. 

Together, Trem and his former patient, Jovanaleth, embark on a journey to find Jovan's missing father. Along the way they become embroiled in a conflict that extends across the mortal world of Teth-tenir and even into the Godly Realms, and both are forced to confront their past in order to face an even more dangerous future.

Paul Lavender: The Eighth God

Official Author site

Official Blurb: For thousands of years, five great fortresses have stood sentinel between the Borderlands and the rapacious Orcs. But the Orcs have allies and these allies are about to set a chain of events in motion that will lead to war...
Heroes will rise to answer the call.

Saethryth has just returned from the Orc Lands where he has been killing them for over twenty years. He is one of the last Orcslayers left alive.

 Melress is a Half-Elven Battle Mage, recently promoted to Captain and sent to the fortress of Knight's Perch, where there are rumours of a traitor.


Tierra has been sleeping with the enemy and now she wants revenge.

 And Bazak-Kul, well he just wants to get home alive.

They, and others, will face the onslaught at Knight's Perch, but battle is the least of anyone's problems, because The Eighth God is on the rise and everything can change when the Gods are playing.

Matthew Olney: Heir to the Sundered Crown

Official Author Facebook page

Official Blurb: A realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero. 

The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After assassins kill the king and his family, greedy self serving men battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them is that one heir yet lives, a baby boy now hidden and protected. 

In the mage city of Caldaria is a boy named Luxon. A young mage who will discover his past and his powers. For he will one day become known as the Legendary, the wizard who would break the world, the man who would embrace death and live and the hero who would give a realm its greatest king. 

Sent on a quest to find the one responsible for the King's assassination Luxon teams up with Ferran of the Blackmoor the legendary Nightblade and hunter of fell beasts, Sophia Cunning the land’s greatest witch hunter and Kaiden, a noble knight sworn to defend the world from darkness. 

Together they find the answers they seek, but the truth is far worse than anyone could possibly imagine. 

The Heir to the Sundered Crown is a fantasy tale that will ignite the imagination and set the stage for an epic battle between the light and the darkness.


Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at


hth: recent b&w photo of Gillian Anderson (Default)

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