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I know it isn't traditional, but I spent the day doing a bit of "Walpurgisnacht Cleaning."  I had yet to do my Spring Cleaning, and I just didn't feel right waiting until May to do it, so this was literally my last chance.  It was a great day for it too - it was bright out with a gentle breeze.  The only problem was that it was also pretty warm out and the warmth from my cleaning set the temperature nearly 80 F in my house.  Crazy!  The only thing I didn't get to do today that I really wanted was to start a fire outside with this "java log," that Daniel bought ages ago.  It's supposed to smell like coffee!

Got some things to say about my University and my attendance there, but I don't feel comfortable about blogging it until I'm cemented in my position and sure of what I'm doing; although, if my intuition is accurate then I'm definitely in the right place, for better or worse.

I am 2/3's of the way through reading Day Watch, and it is good. :D I shall post a short review of it.  I've been getting a bug to edit/review things recently.  A friend sent me a short story she is working on that just enthralled me.  She is planning on translating the entire set of paintings into watercolors and I'm super excited to see them.

So this is mostly a ramble about some things that I'd like to put up here.  This is also a reminder to work on some things spiritually, especially now that the house is cleaned.  This is also a reminder to keep writing for the Living Basically blog or it'll never get off its feet.  Tomorrow you should have the post about the Alaskan peas ready, as well as a template and a banner and some ideas for posts about a local sourdough starter and maybe some recipes.  Also, work on your photography.

Novy rok!

Jan. 1st, 2010 01:41 pm
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It's a New Year, finally.  This is especially nice since last year sucked balls.  There is a traditional superstition in my family and among Slavs in general, I think - what you do on the first day of the New Year resonates through the rest of year; it sets the tone for what's gonna go down.  For instance, we don't lend or give away money on the first, for fear that we'll spend the rest of the year handing out money (and being left with none by the end)!  So today, I'm reading books (I finished one, good sign), relaxing (something I need more of), and cooking dinner (some pork - for good luck).

The book I finished was Slavic Sorcery, by Kenneth Johnson.  It was a good book.  It explored Slavic magic in a modern context, providing just enough historical information so that it would make some sense.  He also attempted to deconstruct some of the traditions to remove the Christian veneer (which I felt was unnecessary, as did the Doctors who wrote the forward, but not altogether unpleasant or negative toward the book).  In the end, there was very little that I learned from the book that was entirely new; however, there was quite a bit that I had known, but not known how.  The concise instructions are immensely helpful to someone who is starting out in Slavic mystical practice, whether Christian or pagan.

I have a couple of gripes, which I've voiced before (though not here, as I haven't posted in a minute).  My first and primary gripe is the insistence on the term "Pagan Earth Magic."  The reasoning given for this in the book is that it was practiced by villagers with an intense relationship with the Earth, and natural processes.  I am plagued by the reaction, "... as opposed to what?  Pagan Mars Magic?"  This tends to flow directly into my other gripe - the author's constant references to Slavic tradition as being "remnants of ancient Goddess worship," even after having taken the time to inform the reader that an overarching, ancient Goddess civilization is fantasy.  He also tends to use "chakras," "family karma," and other "Eastern" terms, because they are now recognized Western jargon.  This is easily excused, as his Russian contacts had a tendency to use these terms as well, though I do wish Johnson had been given better opportunity to find the Native terms he's trying to refer to.  Much of my issue with the book stems directly from the author's relative inexperience within Slavic culture and his overlay of Western concepts and Western Neopaganism over a tradition that has nothing to do with it.

Just keep in mind, while reading, to do a little "translation work," unless the generic Neopagan veneer is what you're looking for.  I would definitely recommend the book for someone interested in practical Slavic magic, especially if that person is already pretty knowledgeable about the mythology and language involved.  Otherwise, I'd still recommend it, but I would also recommend taking extensive notes and doing supplementary research (which, as skillful readers, we all do anyhow... right?).

Now it's on to reading Night Watch, by Sergei Lukjanenko.  I've heard fantastic things about it, but never took the time to acquire it.  Fortunately, I have a best friend who knows me better than I know myself, and she took the liberty of ensuring that it, and its sequel, made its way to me.  The first chapter is pretty amazing and I'm looking forward to the rest of it!

Збогом, и срећан нови година!

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