Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Owen Glendower --What Could it Mean?

Pagans have different ideas about whether the Goddess is calling her children back to earth to help heal her and the life she supports. While I have not have not closed my mind to this idea it strikes me as a too-easy way to justify the growing Pagan population worldwide. Some of the Pagan authors and researchers I know believe in this return and I respect their opinions, but I have never been able to form my own.

At Beltane 2007 I was finally given reasons to reexamine my thoughts and decided to share them with you today.

At Beltane 2007 I was at the Florida Pagan Gathering sharing a cabin with longtime friend and author Ann Moura and also with Janet Farrar. Janet is an amazing woman. She and her husband Gavin Bone are incredible researchers and I know Ann and I learned a lot. But it was the conversations that occurred in our cabin after the main ritual, and later that summer at other festivals, that rocked my world.

We on Cabin 5 had invited our friends--both old and new--to join us in fun and drink in our cabin. My friend and high priest of The Coven of the Raven, David Owen Norris, was there. He got his middle name because it was a family name and he likes using his full name. He was talking with Janet and she revealed her maiden name had been Owen. In the full dramatic voice only Janet can manage, she pointed at David and said, "Owens are many but Owen are few."

This caught the attention of everyone, including a young woman dressed as a faerie who came bearing drink and proceeded to wilt into sleep slumped in a chair. Janet went on to tell those of us who were conscious that all Owen (with no 's' at the end) are descendants of Owen Glendower, the last Arch Druid who stood against the foreign armies invading the the one remaining Druid stronghold on the isle of Anglesey off the coast of Wales. His clam symbol was a raven.

David and I looked wide-eyed across the room at one another. David loved ravens. He is not only the high priest of the Coven of the Raven but also one of the founders of the RavenMyst tradition. (For info on the trad please check out www.ravenmyst.org.) This in itself was fascinating enough, but Janet had a second surprise.

Janet quickly discovered that she and I shared a past-life on the American great plains. We died as a young girl from snakebite. We pulled up our ritual robes to reveal the same fang scars on the inside of our right heels. I have two bumps there which are raised and white and they often irritate me. The sense that we were somehow connected seemed proven, but there were still more surprises ahead.

At that same FPG Beltane I met the indefatigable Selena Fox who invited me to Circle Sanctuary to do some workshops for the Green Spirit Festival which corresponds to Lammas. After the hectic excitement of the festival was over Selena and I allowed time just to sit on a beautiful rock outcropping overlooking the Sanctuary and just talk. She asked me what I knew about the RavenMyst trad because she was unfamiliar with their history. I filled her in and then mentioned the strange coincidence of Janet Farrar and David Norris being connected through the Owen line.

Selena said, "I have Owen ancestors too."

"Owen?" I asked. "Not Owens?"

She nodded. "Owen."

Over the years I've learned to expect many interesting revelations from attendees at Pagan festivals. They are places where the collective consciousness and its attendant energy feel like an electrical charge you stay plugged into for days. The Owen connection was interesting, and after Selena's revelation I began wondering how many Pagans have Owen blood. Of course, we are talking about someone who lived many centuries ago and, since populations tend to expand exponentially, there could could be many, many millions. The estimated number of Mayflower descendants in the United States alone is already 34 million.

I put thoughts of Owen Glendower on a backburner of my mind and, after my last commitment of the year to the New York Witch Festival, I spent some time online double checking my family's ancestral records in Ireland against what my elders had written on yellowing paper that had been passed down to me. The reason was because Janet had invited some of us to visit her and Gavin in Ireland. Several of us planned to go and we wanted to scatter and do some geneaological research for ourselves. (The economic slump squashed our plans.) I was thrilled with the amount of information to be found on the web related to ancestry. On a whim I decided to try to find Demarius McCoy, an ancestor of my maternal grandmother who loved that name and tried unsuccessfully to name her daughter or her granddaughters Demarius.

I knew Demarius came to the American colonies sometime in the 18th century but it did not occur to me that she would have come with a husband and that her birth name was not McCoy. When I found the entry for her I just stopped and stared at my screen. "Demarius Owen McCoy" was the name of my foremother.

After I tamped down the goosebumps I e-mailed David who really didn't sound too surprised by this revelation, but I have thought a lot about it over the past two years. There may be more Owens than Owen out there, but we are talking about a relatively common Welsh name, so I had to consider that had I been at a Christian gathering of people with roots in Wales that a few Owen would have appeared. At the same Beltane festival it also came out that author Gavin Frost and I were likely related through another Welsh line of Pryce or Price.

My opinion remains firmly on the fence on this idea of the Goddess calling us back. I would love to converse with anyone else who has an opinion or has had a similar experience. Are you an Owen? Do share other interesting names with Pagan friends? What do you think? Drop me an e-mail at edain_mccoy@yahoo.com. I am very interested in knowing what you think.

Bless├ęd Be!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MySpace, Facebook, & Classmates.com

I want to repeat what I said in my former blogs about MySpace, Facebook, and Classmates.com for those who have not read them and are waiting for responses.

I closed my MySpace page and my Classmates accounts when they began eating up too much time. Face it, both of them are much more fun than working. Facebook and I had issues over how many friends I was permitted to add in a given time period and I bailed on them. Those of you who are not getting friend responses to Facebook are not being shunned, I simply refused to pick and chose what few people I could add each day. Punishment for adding too many friends--which I thought was the purpose of the site--was having it blocked to me for up to a week. I may return to MySpace someday, but for the time being writing, going to grad school, teaching, and taking care of my family and pets has me in a time crunch where something had to go.

Thanks and BB,

Best Laid Plans... ?

Merry Meet Again!

Here I was all set to blog on a regular schedule when both my mother and brother came crashing down onto my plans with illnesses and surgeries. In fact, I had to cancel a Mabon festival, the first festival I've ever had to cancel in order to take care of issues at home. I felt awful doing so, especially with the Mountain Mysteries Mabon organizer was so understanding. Deb Striker, thank you for not making me feel worse than I did.

Then, to my horror, I was rudely reminded that non-organic objects also get sick. Yep, the hard drive on my less than 2 years old computer burned out and had to be replaced. Thank Goddess that I learned long ago to back up everything and to do it in more than one location.

Now that the "missing Edain" explanations are out of the way I can discuss my mixed feelings for blogging, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and all these other "stay in constant touch" devices. A few weeks ago while sipping my morning coffee in front of the Today Show (I can't take hard news first thing in the morning) one of the hosts declared all these devices to be the "most narcissistic tools" ever developed.

She pinpointed my problem faster than a sharp shrink. The constant updates we feel we must share with the world have always made me uncomfortable. I love socializing at Pagan festivals, I enjoy my friends, and anyone who has seen my website knows I have two passions: dogs and dance, the latter being a definite social event. Many years ago someone commented that I was a very private person. I couldn't wholly agree with that assessment either, but just to prove her wrong I added a "photos" page to my website showcasing my life. It made me uncomfortable to share pictures from my childhood or of my hobbies. I couldn't understand why anyone would care about my life outside of the subject inside a book I had written. I remain astounded that I receive many e-mails from readers who love that I "share so much of myself" with my readers.

I suppose that is the point at which I realized we all have a curiosity about the person behind the byline. Politicians and actors have put up with the world knocking on their private lives since the advent of legislature. Before that people looked to the rich and famous for their prurient curiosities. I try to see the positive in all things, so I will be grateful I never have been, and probably will never be, a target of the relentless media, and pleased to know there are readers who want to know about me as I want to know about them.

So I return to my blogspot in hopes that I can post something of interest at least once a week.

Currently I am co-authoring a book on Latin American magick in English-speaking North America with another author. This is the first writing project I've been honestly excited about in a long time. There is a lot of information, variation, ideology, etc., within these magick traditions that one author could never have enough personal experience to capture them all. Between Denise Dumars and myself we cover a broad range of these practices. We've also done our interviewing and research to fill in as many gaps as possible. As with some EuroAmerican Pagan traditions, secrecy regarding specific practices are not revealed until a sincere initiate has reached a specific level of practical experience. Denise and I have made the trek up the ladder of some of Latin American practices, stopping halfway up at some points, and continuing the climb in others.

We want the book to be a practical guide as well as an informative one. Even in our proposal we inserted popular spells from different traditions and look forward to using more in the finished project.

And just in case you think this interest in magickal traditions is only flowing from south to north, we can tell you from experience that we meet many Euro-based Pagans calling themselves Witches or Wiccans than ever before. More "Wiccan" books are being published in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Madrid for the Spanish-reading markets in the Amrericas. This blending of yet more aspect of our lives in the Americas often irritates--even angers--our European friends. Many do not understand how we can take Celtic myths, toss in a few Nordic practices, include a Native American ritual element in our sabbats, and still use the word Wiccan to describe ourselves. And just try calling this mish mash an Irish, Scottish, or Norwegian tradition and watch your inbox flood with messages that are sincerely outraged.

I've begun using the terms Scottish-based or Nordic-based to try to be more PC, but, trust me, it does no good to compromise our semantics. Eclectic Wicca may be an unacceptable term in Europe but, here the bottom line is that we in the Americas love our spiritual diversity. Like a big family we may squabble among ourselves from time to time, but just let someone from another family come after one of us and insist we are doing things "wrong" and we will band together faster than cold fusion.

Until next time I wish you many blessings and a joyous Mabon!