Yeesh. I have definitely got a bad habit going here… random posts here and there… oh wait – this IS Ravenna’s Random Ramblings after all, so that’s to be expected.
But seriously, I’ve been kind of in a weird place lately. Sort of. I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently. And not all of my reading has been from books. I actually ran out of books to read, so I jumped back on to fanfiction.net and started reading my favorite fandoms. I am a DIE-HARD Squinoa (Squall and Rinoa from Final Fantasy 8) fan, and so I spent some time re-reading some of my favorite stories by my favorite authors (Ashbear and Freyjadour, Niqsta…oh yeah!), and jumped into a new fandom (for me) Labyrinth. Now, there are some phenomenal offerings in this fandom, and I think it’s one of the largest ones being written for currently, and I read a LOT of Sarah and Jareth pairings. There are some great authors!! And some good stories… also some terrible authors and terrible stories. I mean I’m all for some good smut in a story if it adds to the dynamic of the plot and the characters… but sex as the plot alone… not so much. Which is odd, because I also read in the Hellsing fandom (Seras and Alucard) and my favorite author in that fandom has three categories that she writes in (G, Soft Smut, and Hard Smut), and most of her Hellsing fics fall in the Hard Smut category. It’s freaking INTENSE work… it’s also a vampire fic, so there are fangs, there is blood (lots of it), there is pain, torture, blood-play, bondage, sado-masochism, and some REALLY hard-core sex scenes. And it’s FANTASTIC!! FINALLY! Someone who gets that vampires are not toothless, glittery, pansy, over-grown fairies! And while yes, sex is featured heavily in this authors stories, it is always in a way that pushes the story further and causes the characters to learn more about themselves and each other. Brilliant work, absolutely brilliant.
Anyway! So I found an author in the Labyrith fandom that doesn’t necessarily use sex as a plot device, though some of her work is VERY, VERY dark, I have discovered this woman is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever come across. Her characters are well-written, three-dimensional, and capable of growing and changing. Lovely! The one recurring theme I’ve seen in most of her stories, is the inclusion of Avalon, being ruled by the High King Oberon and the High Queen Titania (the author suffers from dyslexia, so often times Titania = Tatiana… which kind of drives me crazy, but I can overlook it) and the variety of adventures and tribulations that occur in the story. And there is a heavy, heavy inclusion of magic. And not just your typical Jareth is the Goblin King and therefore has magic, but MAGIC! Like the creative energies of the universe being tapped and used to help create change and other such fun stuff. Sarah often times meets Wiccans/Witches, and many times becomes one herself, or discovers long dormant powers.
My favorite story is The Spring Break Incident – by Paisley Rose. This story takes place in New Orleans, with Sarah and her friends being in college and on spring break. Lots of fun and hilarity from there. But by far, the best points in this story, is the underlying voodoo theme. Yes, voodoo. And Paisley did her research, and did it well. For the FIRST time, I read a fiction story that featured voodoo and DIDN’T make it all dark and evil and conjuring evil spirits. There was a balance, with both the good and the bad, and the knowledge that you must be careful what you wish for… you might just get it. There were parts that had me cracking up, and parts that had me crying. It was just that good. The author tells me that one of the characters was based on a real person, a man she had known down in New Orleans, who was a voodoo practitioner, sadly, this man died in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, but I bet he would have been honored at the way he was portrayed in this story.
Anyway! So that was just ONE thing I read recently. I’ve also been working on my Witchcraft II course that I’ve been taking. It’s based on Christopher Penczak’s “Temple of Witchcraft” series, and I’ve been learning a lot about myself through it. It’s pretty freaking awesome! I’ll be finishing up on this level in the fall, and I’m hoping to continue on to the third level shortly thereafter. In fact, the next level is the one that I’ve been most excited about thus far, so here’s to hoping that it happens!
I’ve also been doing a lot of reading in the pagan news area, making it a point to learn about the various political things happening here in the states, and honestly… it scares me a bit. Though a high point in my life recently – telling some Republican survey dude who called asking if I thought that abortion was a sin against God and that the women who got them deserved to burn in hell for all eternity… my response “Fuck no! I don’t know why those women might need an abortion, I don’t know their stories or their history. It’s none of my business. And frankly, it’s none of YOUR business either! So I will thank you to keep your fucking nose and hands out of my business AND my VAGINA!!” I was proud of myself. The guy kind of sputtered a bit (in shock I assume) and hung up on me. I felt it was pretty awesome. So yeah – fun times! Either way, currently we are in one hell of a religious stew pot of spew politically right now. From Gay Marriage (GO OBAMA!!) to Obamacare getting through the Supreme Court to Romney and his “oh we were just experimenting with pranks when I held that boy down and forcibly shaved his head”. Yikes!! What a mess!
*sighs* It really is a mess.
On a lighter note… after being on my path for over 14 years, I’ve read many, many, many books of a variety of subjects within the Pagan/Wiccan genre. And in my earliest days of study, I read Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, which at 17, was pretty stiff reading, but I powered through it anyway. It was really informative and very interesting. But at that point in time, not something I fully appreciated, at least until now. I just recently acquired the revised edition and have settled down to read through it once again. It is one of those books that is really important for pagans to read, regardless of path or tradition – because it is THAT good, and THAT informative. I’m really excited to finish re-reading it, and once done, I will be sure to review it here!
And finally! CUB SCOUTS DAY CAMP!! Huzzah! We’re gearing up for another year of camp in a couple weeks, and things have been crazy in the planning arena. We’re just about done and ready, and I for one am super excited to see all the returning campers this year, though I know I’m going to be really sad to say farewell to the ones whose last year is this one before they move on to Boy Scouts. Aiden leaves next week for Boy Scouts camp, and I am really nervous!! He’ll be gone a WHOLE week! But I’m sure he’ll have a great time, so all will be good.
Okay… time for me to go, this has gone on long enough, so I shall now go and take my leave until next time!