Monthly Archives: May 2016

Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral – a review by a contributor

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press, is one of the newer go-to sources for a plethora of worthwhile reads in the Pagan world. January and February 2016 saw the release of two anthologies that have been long anticipated by certain segments of the Global Pagan Community. My hat is off to both the editors of these anthologies and to the contributors. Not an easy task to read, edit, read again, continue to edit, and work with a large number of authors to create as cohesive a collection of articles as possible within the two anthologies. The first to be released was Pagan Leadership Anthology edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor, the second was Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral edited by Erick DuPree.

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Erick set out on a grand adventure when he put out his open call for submissions for this collection of very personal essays from men in Goddess religion and spirituality. The voices vary in  many regards. Cis-gender men, transgender men, gender queer identifying (at least in part) as male. Straight, gay, bi, none-of-the-above. The one thing they all have in common is an undying love of some form of Feminine Divine.

First thing is first. I am one of the contributors to this anthology. With that in mind, I am obviously somewhat biased. My contribution to the anthology is called “One Man, Many Goddesses” and talks about my personal encounters with several Goddesses throughout my life. But that is not what this review is about.

Erick DuPree put together a wonderful collection of essays, prose, and poetry from a number of self-identified men in the Pagan community. From a lovely ode to the Mother by Robert Baggani to a heart wrenching story of Auset by Robert Alvarez, from the birth of life to the death of it. Teachers, mentors, priests, practitioners, parishoners, men (and male-identifying) from all walks within the Pagan world came together to put this collection together. Erick opened the gates, these sons of the Goddess walked through it and present to you, the reader, a plethora of visions and realities of the Goddess.

Whether you believe the Goddess to be an archetype, a single individual with multiple names, a facet of the One, or separate and distinct individual Goddesses, you will get something out this anthology. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, straight, gay, or bi. The Goddess speaks through the pages of this book. You only have to read and listen.

Contributors include:

  • Robert Baggani
  • Daniel Holmes
  • Gwion Raven
  • Roxie Babylon
  • Scott K. Smith
  • David Salisbury
  • Christopher Blackthorn
  • Dylan St. Thomas
  • Taylor Ellwood
  • Duane Danielson
  • Ian Allan
  • Blake Octavian Blair
  • Puck deCoyote
  • Matthew Sawicki
  • Ken Torres
  • Bart Everson
  • Erick DuPree
  • Robert Scott
  • Anthony Rella
  • Robert Alvarez
  • Christopher Penczak
  • Philipp Kessler
  • Devin Hunter
  • “An Elder Apprentice”
  • Storm Faerywolf
  • Sypheara
  • Gede Parma
  • Tim Titus
  • Orion Foxwood
  • David Oliver King
  • Eric Eldritch

With a preface by Yeshe Rabbit Matthews, foreward by Ivo Dominguez Jr and introduction by Erick DuPree himself.

 

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Pagan Leadership Anthology – a review by a contributor

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press, is one of the newer go-to sources for a plethora of worthwhile reads in the Pagan world. January and February 2016 saw the release of two anthologies that have been long anticipated by certain segments of the Global Pagan Community. My hat is off to both the editors of these anthologies and to the contributors. Not an easy task to read, edit, read again, continue to edit, and work with a large number of authors to create as cohesive a collection of articles as possible within the two anthologies. The first to be released was Pagan Leadership Anthology edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor, the second was Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral edited by Erick DuPree.

Pagan Leadership coverLet me be perfectly clear from the beginning. I am one of the contributors to this anthology and thus I may be a bit biased in this review. My contribution to the book is called “Take a Break or Burn Out”. I am not writing this review to talk about myself or my contribution. So… On to the review!

Many in the Pagan community have been anticipating the release of this anthology. Shauna and Taylor put a couple of years into the editing process. Some of that time was spent waiting for late contributors, like myself, to send in their final edits. Some of that time was also spent handling their own lives. We often forget that the editors of these anthologies have lives outside the books. The wait was well worth it.

With contributions from some of the movers and shakers of the modern Pagan movement, recognized leaders within the community and up-and-comers, as well as those who never thought of themselves as leaders until they set down to write, the Pagan Leadership Anthology brings you voices from all walks of life and many different flavors of Paganism. You will read articles from Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Pagans of many kinds. What you won’t read is someone telling you that their brand of leadership is the only way.

With contributions from:

  • Rev. Bill Devendack
  • Kenn Day
  • Phoenix
  • Manny Tejeda
  • Sable Aradia
  • Raine Shakti
  • Rev. Judith Laxer
  • Sophia Kelly Shultz
  • Peggy Johnson
  • H. Byron Ballard
  • Rev. Catharine Clarenbach
  • KaliSara
  • Christine Hoff Kraemer (with Selina Rifkin)
  • Selina Rifken
  • Syren Nagakyrie
  • Shauna Aura Knight
  • Jhenah Telyndru
  • Taylor Ellwood
  • Sam Wagar
  • Melanie Howard
  • Jade
  • Diana Rajchel
  • Melissa Hill
  • Cat
  • Lisa Spiral Besnett
  • Annika Mongan
  • Rev. Dr. Karen Tate
  • Romany Rivers
  • Rev. David Oliver King
  • Julia Maupin
  • Lisa McSherry
  • Crystal Blanton
  • Margo Wolfe
  • Philipp Kessler
  • Courtney Weber

If there is one thing you take away from this anthology let it be that all voices are valid. All leadership styles can work, and they can fail. The only really bad way to lead is to ignore your instincts and ignore those who look to you to lead.

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Iron Tribune, Roman Steampunk by Daniel Ottalini

Iron Tribune - Daniel OttaliniAbout a year and a half ago I stumbled across Daniel Ottalini during an online Steampunk writers’ convention being conducted on Facebook. I was intrigued by his story lines for Steampunk set in Rome. Being the voracious reader that I am, I quickly obtained (legal) digital copies of the first two books in his Roman series and commenced to reading them. You can read my review of those first two novels in the series here.

I was very pleased, and somewhat surprised, when Daniel asked me to read the third book in the Steam Empire Chronicles, in advance of book four coming out this year. Apparently he liked how I reviewed his earlier works in the series and wanted my continued review-input to be available for his reader- and fan-base. I just finished Iron Tribune on May 1st. Before diving into my review, let me just say that I am looking forward to book four, Steel Praetorian.

Iron Tribune continues the story of Julius, Constantine, and Alexandros as they find themselves being promoted through the ranks of the Roman military and facing the battles that those promotions can entail, both physically and politically. The story also builds on Marciena, Julius’s little sister, and her fostering with the Senatora. Loaded with political intrigue, military tactics, and some homespun feel good back stories, this third installment in the Steam Empire Chronicles won’t disappoint readers one bit.

In this third installment the heroes find themselves gaining on life. Julius finds love in the unlikeliest of places, Constantine assumes the mantel of the heir apparent, and Alexandros overcomes an obstacle he never thought he could surmount. Along the way they get themselves into all kinds of trouble – war, assassination attempts, substandard military weapons and gear – you name it and they just might have to deal with it. Oh, and did I forget to mention that new characters get introduced that will keep you guessing as to what Ottalini has planned for his intrepid Legionnaires?

With all due respect to the genre of historical fiction, Ottalini’s Steampunk revisioning of the Roman Empire will keep you wanting more.  The political intrigue alone is enough to make this reader want to snatch up book four when it comes out. But don’t let that be the only thing that grabs at you!

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