Beauty, music, bellydance, the Dark Goddess, Nature, magick, ritual-theatre, death and love.

compendium of Aepril's communications on art, beauty, bellydance, the dark, faery tale, nature, magick, ritual, theatre, death and love. The talk of a priestess and shaman of the Dark Goddess.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice!

Wishing all a very merry Yule, and a happy, healthy rebirth of the Light!

A Leaf From The Tree of Songs
 By Adam Christianson
When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike
Aglow by hearth and candleflame
From burning branch ot ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder
Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright 
As light and fire and music (sweet)
To warm the winter's night?

Friday, May 25, 2012

"K" is for Kabbalah

I have begun a study of Kabbalah. Or maybe, more accurately, Qabalah with a "Q", as it is the hermetic form of Kabbalah that interests me most.

As I am merely a beginning student (and will probably consider myself so even after years of study), I don't have many words of wisdom to impart! So  instead,  for this week's Pagan Blog Project entry, I post a few images of Kabbalah that caught my eye:

Friday, May 18, 2012

"J" is for: Is it My Job?

I’ve received many responses to my post  A Witch Who Cannot Hex, Cannot Heal, (“H” for the Pagan Blog Project). The majority have been supportive and positive. Some people have even said that they have felt liberated by what I said. Wow! Other people have disagreed, and that’s fine. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with the ideas in the post.

But one argument stands out for me as totally absurd: that I shouldn't write these things because  it will give the rest of the world the wrong impression about Witches; that it only confirms to the world that Witches are all about curses, people will take it the wrong way...Etc.

Oh, please! Why should I be responsible for what other people think? I can’t control that. It’s not my job to try. I don't represent all Witches everywhere, and though yes, I expect that my words could influence thought, its not my job to control the outcome of this influence. I am reminded  of what’s been said a thousand times to LGBT people by other LGBT people: that they should modify their behavior (i.e. not be too “flamboyant” or demonstrative) in order to be “accepted” by society. Oh yank, yank, yank. How does that usually turn out? The same has been said to every oppressed group in history, from women to African Americans, to indigenous tribes everywhere, to Witches.

For this week’s Pagan Blog Project post, I am inspired to write for “J”: “Is it my ‘Job’?”.

My job, and the job of Witches, is to answer to our higher selves, and to embrace our CALLING. Not to obsess about what the neighbors will think. I am not saying that sometimes it is not necessary to stay on the down low for self-protection. That is survival, and I get that. But to be less than oneself in order to “accepted”? Ha! News flash ya’ll: if you have to make yourself smaller for anyone, they’re not going to accept you anyway. That’s how it is, that’s how it’s always been, and that is how it will be. Don’t you think that the witches who were hung and burned thought about modifying their behavior to get along before they ended up on the stake or gallows? Don’t you think that many tried this to see if maybe they could be “accepted”? Besides, you’re not being accepted if you are changing who you are. Some charade that you are acting out is being merely tolerated.

I had a long conversation with Laurie Cabot the other day, as we were preparing for my interview with her about her days as a Bellydancer. (interview to appear in Belly Dance New England magazine soon!) We talked about this idea of one’s calling, and how it is essential that, in order to be truly empowered to answer a calling, one MUST NOT entertain the smallness of some minds. To do so is pointless and a waste of energy. Laurie Cabot is one who has sacrificed a great deal to be true to herself as a Witch, as an artist, and as a woman over many decades. Though she has paid the price, she still felt that it was essential, for true sovereignty over one’s life as a Witch and/or simply as a human being, that we not expend energy what “those people” say.

Jungian psychologist James Hillman, in his book The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, talks a great deal about the dangers of not answering the call that comes from within. He says that we are all born with an “acorn” (seed) or “daimon” (not demon, read carefully, please). He asserts that when the daimon within is thwarted for whatever reason (“acceptance” by society? “Sacrificing” for the “sake of the kids”?) the person becomes twisted up and passes this fucked-up-ness down into the next generations. He says that in order to have a healthy, empowered life, one must answer the calling fully. This is not a selfish act; on the contrary, it creates an empowered path to health that is then passed down to those who come after. And check it out: we then become the best elders and ancestors we can be! How about it? Win-win.

Whatever our stance on hexing and healing, I think that it’s a waste of time for any of us to hold back our ideas and feelings just because “we’re not accepted in society yet.” Seriously? How long should we wait? I’m not holding my breath. I’m going to set my intention to do my real job, which is to be myself, fully and lovingly. Acceptance starts within.

And as within, so without.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day! A Blessed Beltaine to you!!!

Blessed Beltaine to all my friends near and far! And a very blessed Samhain to my friends in the southern half of  Gaia.

I am loving this video slideshow of the Betaine Fire Festival  in Edinburgh, Scotland, and I intend to make it my business to be there next year!

Love and Eros,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

serpent moon

Please visit my dance and health diary, serpent moon. I write for one cycle of the moon, new moon to new moon, to create better habits and authentically chronicle my practice.

serpent moon:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hekate, and Aiming Above Morality

Tonight is the Dark of the Moon. It is Hekate's time.

I work with Hekate tonight. She has called me to that. Her call is unmistakable to me, like the time at Winter Solstice 2011 when I stood outside at the crossroads, the liminal space where all is possible and ghosts dwell. Here in Salem, there was an odd winter thunderstorm, and the thunder clapped and boomed, and lightning flashed. Hekate blew the wind through my damp hair, lovingly hissing that yes, change is coming, yes it is. Use your power. Do not pull punches now. Curse, elbow, cut, hex, do what you have to. I'm counting on you to find your way.

The Sun stood still.

And then the Son was born during the night, amid the thunder and wind and rain. And I, one person among billions in the world, felt the awesome power of this difficult birth. Hecate, goddess overseeing childbirth, merged with the Black Madonna for me. The Dark Goddess as One, they were, we were, the Night giving birth to the Divine Child.

We are all the Dark. We are all the Divine Child. We are always both, and contain both within.

The Dark Moon is tonight.Hekate's time.

 The dark moon is a perfect time for divination. And so I pulled a card from the Dion Fortune deck. It was the Ace of Wands, "ROOT OF THE POWERS OF FIRE". The caduceus is shining, with the Sun sitting on top. The card is inspiration and creativity, of living spontaneously and owning power. It is a symbol of psychopomp Mercury, who, like Hekate, is a liminal divinity.

I think of trickster Maude's statement in the 70's cult movie Harold and Maude, " Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully.".

I will go and be with this Goddess tonight. I like Her darkness, and Her liminality. I shall accept change, I own my power, and I aim above morality, so I may live more fully.

I leave you with this video by Hekate devotee Jade Sol Luna, called "Witch Moon". I appear in it as Hekate several times, dancing.

Hail Hekate!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Witch Who Cannot Hex, Cannot Heal ("H" is for Hexing and Healing)

“A Witch who Cannot Hex, Cannot Heal…”.
 This statement is often met with a sharp intake of breath, as though the utterance of the statement is in itself a curse.

  But don’t you know about the threefold law? I do know that some people believe in that law, but I do not. Experience has shown me that there are laws in Nature of cause and effect, that there is the power of intention and attraction, and that all things are interconnected. Nature is not moral; She just IS. She wants balance most of all.

 I think of Jung’s concept of The Shadow. We all have it; we all have dark unconscious material that exists inside the psyche, places that we cannot or will not accept. Places that we’ve pushed down, or shut out, or just don’t know are there, but guide and inform our actions nonetheless.

 I think that if one is to do magick well and with real ovarios, one must be able to truly see oneself authentically. Otherwise there is too much unconscious shadow in the working. If one sees oneself as a practitioner of Light and Healing only, then its almost 100% likely that there is a lot of shadow material present. No one is all light and goodness. To see oneself in this way is willful naiveté. It’s also dangerous. The brightest light casts the darkest shadow.

 I think that in order to be a powerful, empowered Witch, one has to be aware of, and accept, Shadow. We have to know that we have Shadow, and to embrace this part of ourselves. A Witch who is worth her salt must be able to travel into the Underworld and deal with the Shades and Shadows who live there. Like Persephone, we all must become initiated Queen in our own personal Underworld spaces.

 Part of the job of the Queen of Darkness is the ability to curse. It’s just a part of the deal. We must have the balls to use this power sometimes. Not a lot. Not every time someone gives us a hard time. But when it counts, we need to know what we are doing. And we can’t be guilty or ashamed about it. It needs to be owned.

 Because of the laws of Nature, we curse knowing that it will come back to us. "When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."--Friedrich Nietzsche. We lose innocence. Maybe more. But this is the part that takes courage. This is the sacrifice.

 Scorpio, the 8th sign of the Zodiac and ruled by Pluto (Persephone), is the sign that deals with both hexing and healing. Scorpio natives are known for being the best in the Zodiac at seeing deeply into any situation. When unevolved, Scorpio can be all too ready with her stinger when she feels crossed. Then, maybe the need for a new way to handle things comes along, a need to integrate the dark psyche to become more whole emerges. There can be resistance, swinging the other way, a time of going through a “no, not me, I only use MY powers for good!” denial stage. But when evolved, she soars above resentment and denial, and uses her deep powers for knowing the right time for the right medicine.

 We all have Scorpio somewhere in our astrological charts, representing the area in which these transformations can happen.

 “Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.”--Carl Gustav Jung

I think of the veterinarian who has to euthanize the 4 legged. Or the surgeon who must cut into the body to get to the cancer. The friend who must tell the friend about the infidelity. The Fall that takes away the Summer, and the Winter that must give birth to the Spring. Where does the healing end and the hexing begin? And vice versa? They are two sides of the same thing.

Published as a participant in the Pagan Blog Project. This week's theme is "H". 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"G" is for Gwyddion the magick dog

Photo by Pamela Joye

Gwyddion has been a part of our family now for over 6 weeks. A rescue dog from Arkansas, Gwyddie has taken to his New England digs like a fish to water.

A slippery fish at that! Gwyddion was aptly named for the Welsh Trickster-Magician-Hero of Welsh mythology. He is a tricky little fellow, part Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) and, we think, part Pointer. He is quite a joker, clowning at every opportunity he can get, hiding my things, throwing his tennis ball for himself, running faster than the speed of sound, disrupting everything I try to do around the house, highly curious about everything, and even disappearing once or twice.

Photo by Pamela Joye

Gwyddion came to us with the name "DC", short for "Diamond City". His Foster Mom tells me that he was found after he approached the mayor of Diamond City, AR, at their annual Fall fair. (Right to the top!) The mayor was kind enough to take him in, but by law she had to pass him onto the city pound in order to give his "owners" the opportunity to claim him.

They didn't.

Photo by Pamela Joye

So, after 15 days, Gwyddion, aka DC, was released to the rescue group Ozark Homeward Bound. He remained in his foster home with his foster mom Jacki until he was adopted by us!

And how did he end up being found by his parents in Salem, MA all the way from AR?

I was perusing rescue sites online looking up Blue Heelers for adoption. And there was his face! I knew right away that he was the boy for our family.

Deep in contemplation of the wonders of nature in the Salem Woods

I emailed OHB, and they sent me more info about him, along with the phone # for his foster mother. Jacki and I had one of many long conversations about "DC", partly in order to determine if we were a good match.

It seems we were. The day that DC/Gwyddion was transported here from AR (covered as part of his adoption fee along with neutering and shots) is one of the high points of our lives! Michael and I couldn't be happier, Gwyddie brings us so much joy!

And Gwyddie has helped heal our hearts after losing Coda, our infinitely beloved wolf-dog who passed away a few years ago. although I can't help but wish that I had the both of them with me forever. Big and little, King and Jester.

He loves to be chased--and to chase!

And as a public service announcement, I'd like to say this: PLEASE, before you decide to go to a breeder for a dog, please consider adoption from a shelter or rescue group. So many of the Goddess's creatures are sitting in kennels, waiting to be adopted, hoping that they might be the ones to go home with someone special. Rescue dogs and cats are the best! We cannot preach about loving the Goddess and Her great earth while we ignore the possibilities that await us in the love of an animal who has already been born. Why should anyone have to feel rejected, or, worse, face the possibility of death just because no one stepped up and took them home, preferring a new puppy, bred to be bought, over them?

Many organizations will transport a four-legged right to you from far away. Salem, MA, where I live has a great shelter. (For whom the bellydance community here just raised over $1400!) so if you see a dog online and have the intuition that this may be the one for you, ask about transporting.

I can't tell you how much I LOVE GWYDDION! Our magick dog.

I have posted this as a participant in the Pagan Blog Project. This week's theme is the letter "G".

Photo by Pamela Joye 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What is Theatrical Bellydance?

I've been involved in many a discussion about what makes Bellydance "Theatrical".

Let me put forth the Wikipedia definition of theatre, and go from there:

"Theatre (in American English usually theater[1]) is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance. Elements of design and stagecraft are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience."

There has been a trend in Bellydance in which many dancers call themselves "Theatrical" Bellydancers. I am very glad for this! But, I do have one condition for my gladness: that the performances that self-described Bellydancers do are indeed "theatrical". 

Photo by Alison Perkel
By the definition above, one with which I mostly agree, theatricality involves the creation of an experience for the audience and the performer. And I would say that it involves communication, the creation of an "event" through which the participants can be transported to another place and time. Or, conversely, or even simultaneously, become more aware of, and deeply involved in, the present. 

To me a truly successful Theatrical performance makes the audience (even other bellydancers!) forget about the technical aspects of a piece; that they become wholly engrossed in the performance, in the story and the emotional experience.

I recently had a discussion with a lovely student of mine about what constitutes "theatricality". She had mentioned how much she enjoyed Theatrical Bellydancer Anasma's performances, in that they have a story with a beginning and ending, and that her work is inspiring in that way. (I, too love Anasma's work.)

Ruth St Denis
Narrative theatre is one way to express oneself as a Theatrical Bellydancer, and one of my favorites (and one of the most difficult to do well.). I think, too, that there are other ways. There is also "Ritual Bellydance", which has its overlapping areas with Theatrical. Ritual can be a theatre event; indeed, it is the oldest form of theatre, transporting us back to ancient Greek and Egyptian ritual-theatre. The public was able to live out the mythical stories of the Gods and Goddesses through the theatrical-ritual performance of the actor-priest/esses.

There is also cabaret style theatricality, which does not necessarily have a ritual or narrative element, but embodies a character on the stage none-the-less. Through watching the Theatrical cabaret performer we are brought into her world, maybe made to laugh, or cry, or become conscious of our own sexuality or foolishness or grace, or inspired to dance ourselves.

I sometimes see performers calling themselves "theatrcial" when they are not. Let me make a few fast friends here: it is not enough to write a great performance intro to be read by the MC stating that one is the goddess such and such doing a shamanistic ritual theatrical piece about the myth of such and such and then get on stage and do the same Tribal schtick that one always does. No. that is not theatrical. Nor is it Theatrical to get dressed up in an elaborate costume and say one is (Fill in the Blank) and then do a bunch of super-duper moves without meaning. Costuming is important but it is only part of the art form.

No. Theatre is an fine art form in itself. It has technique, theory, history, etc. Many dancers (particularly, eh-hem, Tribal Fusion dancers) will complain that Theatrical dancers are not demonstrating enough "technique" in their performances; that they are "resorting" to "tricks" instead of really "dancing". Oh bullshit. (Though maybe this is true sometimes with an unskilled actress) Again, Theatre itself has a technique, a technique that takes years to learn. And, when done well, it can make the difference between dance that is truly art, as opposed to dance that is a series of skillful moves, which  is craft.

A successful Theatrical piece has both excellent dance form and technique as well as dramatic skill and technique. It also requires an extra element of heart and soul in order to create the magic needed to bring the audience into the experience of the piece. 

To do good Theatrical Bellydance: keep going to Bellydance classes. Study form. Do your drills. But also, study Theatre. Take a class. Try improv. And maybe most important of all: study yourself. Study your psychology. Learn what moves you. Define what you want to express. Take the chance at being emotionally authentic. Be vulnerable. Be bold.

Aepril will be teaching her workshop "A Look Beyond: The Art of Costuming and Male-up for Theatrical Bellydance" on Friday at 6pm at Lumen Obscura in Santa Cruz, CA. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

“F” is for the Goddess Flora, and Flowers.

Spring has come early to Salem, MA. Its only March, and we’ve had many summery days already.
Next week I will be having artist Sharonn Bradbury of Witch City Ink complete my tattoo of flowers along both side of my hips and belly. We chose to do Lilies, a flower of remembrance, grieving, beauty, and also of the Goddess Lilith.

Last fall, my sister died. Not long after that, my friend and fellow bellydance artist Jeniviva Mia passed away. Both were about the same age. It was a devastating time, and my heart still hurts.

My flowers are for the mourning.

Both sister women had memorials, but in different ways. My sister was memorialized in the Black Forest of Germany during a trip where I taught and performed at Tribalfestival Offenberg. I was honored to have the support of a group of people who worked with me on a Samhain ritual. We honored the Dead by the fires in the night in the Black Forest.
Article about the ritual in hagalla Magazine.(in German)
My blog post about Germany and the Black Forest.

My friend was memorialized through a bellydance show and public ritual here in Salem, where she had twice came up from NYC to teach and perform.

My flowers are for the Dead.

Almost 5 months later, It is now Spring. The Goddess Flora is here with us already. Though her time is not “officially” until Beltaine, she is still popping up everywhere in the warm New England weather. Flora is a goddess of sex and pleasure, as well as flowers. She also has a history of honoring the Dead.

Flowers are for Death…and Eros and Rebirth.

My flowers are for the knowing that all are reborn. And all acts of Love and Pleasure are the rituals of the Goddess. That beauty is found everywhere, even–or especially--in grief and broken hearts. The flowers will move on my belly as I bellydance, continuing to explore the Mysteries of sex, love, death, transformation, spirit, beauty, darkness and light, through my art.

I have created this post as a participant in the Pagan Blog Project

Friday, March 16, 2012

“F” is for Forest Witch

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

I am a Shamanic Witch, and my love is the Forest. 

The Forest is symbolic of the unconscious and its mysteries. It is an entryway into the Lower world, the world of shadow and transformation. In fairytales, the heroic Princess often has to travel the forest to transform herself. She meets here the Baba Yaga, the challenging Hag, the Evil Queen, the Dark Goddess, The Black Madonna, Our Lady of the Dark Forest, Our Lady of the Great Place Below…

As I continue to explore in life, I am the naïve Princess, still. And, as an initiate of the Mysteries of the Descent, I am the dark challenging Witch as well. Both sides of me roam the Wood, in the daytime and the Night, under the New Moon, the full, and the Dark. 

 I am Raven totem; the photos posted here by Pamela Joye show a ritual done in the Salem Woods under the influence of the Crow Moon. I wear a skirt by Wings of Sin depicting the Full Moon with the Black Corvid Goddess. I am The Morrigan.

 The Moon that day was in Virgo. Virgo is Virgin, “whole unto the self”. I am the Black Madonna, Our Lady of the Black Woods. She is "black, but comely", as in the Song of Songs. The unknown one. 

Spirit of Wind blesses and clears

Calling the Quarters
Bowing to the Black Madonna

I chose this time to do Magick that protects and heals, that clears away that which no longer serves, that purifies. To this end, the Great Wind Spirits, element of air, blew with mighty force, clearing away all that was destructive to this Wood. 

 The Witch of the East pulled off my hair ornaments and blew them away, challenging my vanity. 

I walk the Forest; I hold my hands in prayer for the dispossessed, the ones who can’t speak for themselves. The Coyotes who live in this Woods, raising families and hunting for food. They are vilified, but they are here because they belong; they take the place of the Wolf who once lived here. It is the absence of the Wolf that has caused the debilitating Lyme’s disease; the Wood has its lessons, if we but listen. It is the Black Madonna that holds the Coyote and Wolf close in Her arms, protecting, respecting, cherishing.

I speak with the Spirits of the Invisisbles, the Ancestors who lived in this Forest as Natives to this land. I can only guess at and envision your powerful magic and medicine.

Also to the Fae, who live and play in this Wood.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child"

The Dark Lady is also Mother to the Swans and Geese at the Forest Estuary. She protects and provides for them. And the singing birds in the trees. And the trees themselves; it is said that those who understand the trees, understands herself.  Here is where the World Tree lives. All of us ARE the World Tree, and we do best to protect and love the Forest and Her gifts, to love ourselves in our complexity. 

The Forest is a kind of sanctuary, a place to become whole again. Entry in the Online Etymology Dictionarysanctuary Look up sanctuary at
mid-14c., "...set apart for holy worship," from Anglo-Fr. sentuarie, from O.Fr. sainctuarie, from L.L. sanctuarium "a sacred place, shrine"... . General (non-ecclesiastical) sense of "place of refuge or protection" is attested from 1560s; as "land set aside for wild plants or animals to breed and live" 

Many Blessings on you, O Great Forest!

Friday, March 2, 2012

E is for Eris

Eris is known in mythology as Goddess of Strife and Discord. She opposes Harmonia (harmony) and stirs things up, making gods and humans alike very...well...upset.

But Eris does not show up for no reason. She is a goddess, after all, and therefore Her functions are sacred. But she is dark, and She could be thought of as the darkest goddess of all.

She causes discord when She is left out, uninvited, or scorned. She is an aspect of the sacred feminine that is mistrusted by patriarchy. Daughter of Nyx (Night), it is Her job to bring out the dark raw sexy taboo bad-assness in any situation. She is likened to the 13th fairy of the Sleeping Beauty story, the Wise-Woman who is pissed because she was not invited to the party to give her blessings. She then instead curses Sleeping Beauty with a coma-death at age 15, when she is to prick her finger (and bleed) and fall asleep. As in the Persephone story, Beauty is pulled into the dark Underworld at the moment of her sexual awakening. The unconscious (night, dark, underworld) is to become conscious through crisis and strife.

Eris also deals with Libran themes of beauty/ugliness, vanity/humility, peace/justice. She appears wherever there in disingenuousness and bullshit. She is often depicted as ugly or course, but She is also associated by some with seductively sexy Dark Goddesses like Lilith. Her personage is demonic, hot, fiery.

Wikipedia has the following passage about Eris’s vengeful role in the Iliad:
“She therefore …tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed  Kallisti – "For the most beautiful one", or "To the Fairest One" – provoking the goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. The hapless Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the most beautiful by Zeus. Each of the three goddesses immediately attempted to bribe Paris to choose her. Hera offered political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued.

Eris can also be a catalyst for women standing up for themselves. Her original name as an astrological body was "Xena", as in the warrior princess played by Lucy Lawless. An active Eris archetype denotes the ability to tell the truth, to stand up and fight for what is just, without needing to please or keep peace. She could be heard to say Libra’s mantra “No Justice, No Peace!” Eris, with all her sexuality and psychic power, will not be ignored. It is sometimes through strife that equilibrium is established.

 I believe that we need to welcome some Eris energy now, considering the current political climate towards women. My friend and fellow astrologer Thomas Canfield, author of Yankee Doodle Discord
A Walk with Eris though US History, has the following prediction for the upcoming Vernal Equinox on Mar 21:

“In the chart for the Vernal Equinox, Eris, the dwarf planet of discord, is going to be exactly conjuct Ceres, the dwarf planet of motherhood and fertility. My interpretation is that this is going to be "Pearl Harbor" day for the war against women. Events may finally galvanize millions of non-political women, awakening them to the fact that they may be relegated to the status of second-class citizens unless they take a stand. March 20 is the day of the Illinois primary, and the rhetoric may be especially harsh since it is Obama's home state. Watch for some heavy Freudian slips.”

Wherever Eris is, it is sure to be exciting.

Aepril wrote this blog today as a participant in the Pagan Blog project, in which participating authors post on Fridays with an agreed upon theme. This Friday's theme is "E". 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Grey and the Shadow

I am a Wolf mother. And I am pissed.

I just heard today about the release of a movie called The Grey. It stars Liam Neeson and is about a group of men who brave the Alaska wilderness and are attacked by a pack of Grey Wolves.

I understand that like all fictional movies, it is supposed to be fantasy. So here is what I have to say about this particular fantasy: it sucks.

Over the last few centuries wolves have been terribly persecuted, tortured, killed, and used for all sorts of reasons, including entertainment. At one point in the continental United States there were only 200 wolves left after many thousands were wiped out. For such a huge area of land that's a pitiful number. While Native Americans lived harmoniously with wolves, learning from them with respect and honor, white Europeans generally did not. In some instances wolves were captured and  their mouths wired shut and re-released into the wild to die a slow, excruciating starvation death. At one point in the Western United States there was a road made of wolf skulls. Right now there are only 2000 wolves left in the United States and they are fighting for their very survival.

In truth wolves are loving and family oriented. They shy away from humans in the wild and you'll rarely even see a wolf even in wolf country. Attacks on humans are very, very rare. At a time when they are in desperate need of our support, the release of this movie is highly irresponsible and mean.

Like women and people of color, wolves have had to bear the projection of Shadow onto them. They are depicted as dangerous, vicious, cruel, wiley, the qualities that I would say actually belong to the Sarah Palins out there who enjoy hunting them. But that's what shadow projection is, it's the pot calling the kettle black, it's a way to deny that one has qualities that they don't like to see themselves. And it's easy to project the shadow onto the voiceless. So it is up to those of us who love wolves to be their voice.

Please make your voice heard and sign the petitions by White Wolf.

And make your voice heard with your wallet, too. Do not pay to see this movie.

And as I am finishing this article, I have heard an even more gruesome thing about the harming of wolves in relation to this movie: Liam Neeson stated in an interview that he ate wolf meat as part of his preparation for filming The Grey. Read more here: Liam Neeson and ‘The Grey’ Cast Ate Wolf Meat

Whoa. Anybody still want to say that this is just "fantasy"?