• Monthly Columns

    GoodGod!

    Meet the Gods: Shakok   Shakok is the god of winter of the Northern Mountain, according to Native American mythology. The story goes that Acoma’s chief’s daughter, Co-chin-ne-na-ko, married the winter spirit. After he came to live with them, the winters became colder, snow fell harder, the world stayed frozen longer, crops no longer matured, and food became scarce. One miserable winter day as Co-chin-ne-na-ko was searching for food, she met Miochin, the spirit of summer. He was wearing a yellow shirt woven of corn silk; leggings made of green moss; a tall pointed hat, and moccasins decorated with butterflies and flowers. Upon learning her people were eating cactus leaves,…

  • Monthly Columns

    Teachings of the Mythic Past

    Fairies and Plants in Slavic Folklore and Spirituality The ancient Slavs worshiped and believed in a broad range of magical creatures found in nature, and various perspectives on the male and feminine facets of divinity. Folktales from all across the world contain fantastical beings that sometimes resemble people and animals, and sometimes both simultaneously. Folklore holds the key to the numerous stories of giants, people, fairies, animals, and so on. We have referred to these stories as “fairy tales” for generations due to the relevance of these widely known and popular creatures. These beings are sometimes referred to as fairies, faeries, fey, or fae in modern English. In Slavic folklore,…

  • Monthly Columns

    GoodGod!

    Meet the Gods: Coyote Brother One of the gods associated with Samhain is Coyote Brother, a well-known figure in the myths and legends of many indigenous peoples in North America. Many tribes credit Coyote with gifting fire to humans and teaching them useful skills. Coyote Brother is most often considered “the trickster god.” He can be fearsome or funny, foolish or cunning. Many believe he brings winter, death, and all things evil. In northern California, he is portrayed as greedy, reckless, and deceitful. While that causes problems for those around him, his impulsive, often foolish behavior creates suffering for him, too, and sometimes even death, although afterwards he always manages…

  • Monthly Columns

    Teachings of the Mythic Past

    The Snake, The Goddess, The Underworld & Their Connections to Samhain – How To Connect with the Ancient & Mythic Past When you generally think of Samhain, snakes, and the underworld – you would not usually think of them as being interconnected. Not at first at least. However, in this fantastic universe that we live in, somehow all things are indeed connected. Snakes are some of the most misunderstood yet feared creatures on Earth. They embody mystery. They are symbols of life, death, and regeneration; some are even poisonous and venomous. What these sleek and slithery creatures all have in common is their ability to stay low to the ground…

  • Reviews

    Book Review – Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs

    Book Review Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs Publisher: Andrews McMeel Pages: 384 Rerelease Date: August 23, 2023   Storyland is a collection of tales about Britain, from its origins to much more recent times. This book started as a collection of illustrations, then became a series of articles for Country Life magazine. Those original illustrations have made it into the book, and what illustrations they are! Striking images of otters and boats and giants hauling rocks make this volume a stunning visual feast. Unsurprising, considering that in the introduction the author explains how her experiments with linocut printing were inspired by illuminated medieval manuscripts. I agree…

  • Monthly Columns

    Teachings of the Mythic Past

    Animals in Slavic Spirituality, Part I: Heroic Hedgehog, The Practical & Prickly Protector “If wits were pins, the man would be a veritable hedgehog. – Frances Hardinge “The Fox knows many things-the hedgehog, one big one.” – Archilochus   Animals often make an appearance in folklore as symbols of the traits they are thought to embody. People have had a strong relationship with animals since the dawn of time. Among the many critters found in stories of yesterday, the hedgehog is more relevant than you may initially have thought – especially in Slavic spirituality and folklore. One tale tells the story of a hedgehog poking holes in the black of…

  • Reviews

    Book Review – Staff of Laurel, Staff of Ash: Sacred Landscapes in Ancient Nature Myth by Dianna Rhyan

    Book Review Staff of Laurel, Staff of Ash: Sacred Landscapes in Ancient Nature Myth by Dianna Rhyan Publisher: Moon Books 192 Pages Release Date: June 1, 2023         In her attempt to convey her thoughts of how Ancient Nature Myth is reflected in our current landscape, Dianna begins to reference ancient myths early in the book. The prologue refers to and includes quotes from ancient gods. Several quotes and references to the ancient are repeated throughout the balance of the book. Dianna’s approach to articulate the synchronicities of these two worlds is to take us on a “hike” through the lands that she finds reminiscent of the…

  • Monthly Columns

    Good God!

    Meet: Liber   Liber may well have originated as a native Italian god of fertility, vegetation, and wine. He is also associated with intoxication and was known for throwing wicked parties. The Romans later merged his identity with that of the Greek god Dionysus. Like Dionysus, Liber represented uninhibited freedom and the subversion of the powerful. He was a patron deity of Rome’s plebeians – the largest, least powerful class of citizens – who rejected the civil and religious authority of the ruling class elite. Before being adopted as a Roman deity, Liber was a phallic deity and a companion to two different goddesses in two different archaic Italian fertility…

  • Monthly Columns

    Good God!

    Meet: Mercury   Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, protected travelers and transporters of goods, as well as shopkeepers and merchants, especially those dealing in grains, who would pray to him for large profits. He is chosen for this issue because Lughnasadh is the grain harvest. Mercury was the son of Jupiter, king of the gods, and Maia, goddess of the plains. He is one of the twelve major gods of the Roman pantheon. The World History website explains, “He is frequently depicted holding the caduceus, a wand used to reconcile conflicts, and winged sandals for quickly carrying messages for the gods. The wand had been given to him by…

  • Monthly Columns

    Good God!

    Meet: Prometheus     Prometheus is the Greek god of fire, intellect, and champion of mankind. He and Epimetheus, brothers and both Titans, were tasked with creating man. “Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure,” according to greekmythology.com. The Olympians banished most of Prometheus’ family to Tartarus, leading Prometheus to love man more than the twelve Olympians – so much so that he tricked Zeus who had demanded man sacrifice a portion of all foods to the gods. The story is told that Prometheus wrapped bones in fat, and hid the best meats inside a hide. By choosing the bones, Zeus had to…