The Pagan & the Pen Need Reviewers!

Well, while our list of Reviewers has grown, we still need more. Rie McGaha just signed on with three Publishing houses and we are slammed with books! While we are excited, we are also opening our doors again for Reviewers. Do you have to be a pagan to review for us? No…you can be whatever you want to be or nothing at all.

The only requirements are:

You have to love reading, be able to choose your own books of interest, give the said book thought, and write an unbiased review.

So, if you are interested, please contact Rie at : thepaganpen(at)gmail(dot)com

What are you waiting for????? Run to your emails!

Inspiration and Motion Sickness

I’ll start pointing out that this probably isn’t good “how to” advice at least not in a direct way. But people often wonder how a writer comes up with story ideas and sometimes the “training” to think creatively comes in unpredictable ways.

I’m prone to motion sickness. I can get seasick in a rocking chair or on a swing set. Growing up, we took lots of car trips and I spent lots of time with my eyes closed trying to focus on anything to keep my mind off being car sick. I was also an avid reader, but attempting to read in a car wasn’t a good idea. So, I told myself stories. Lots and lots of stories. They weren’t polished stories by far, but over the years anything spotted outside the car window became fodder for a story.

I still suffer from motion sickness, but fortunately not when driving myself. But the day job always involves a commute of some sort. These days it’s under 30 minutes. But that drive time is always a great time to think about story ideas. Trust me, it’s less distracting than the people I see chatting on the cell phone or texting while driving. Or the person who was actually reading the last Harry Potter book by propping it on the steering wheel while driving down the interstate.

Now, I don’t recommend learning how to become seasick as a way to seek your muse, but there is a lesson I’ve learned from it. Inspiration can’t always be planned but sometimes you can plan to allow yourself some unplanned thinking. Time to let your thoughts drift and not to worry about forcing the direction. If you have trouble letting your thoughts wander, meditation classes, yoga and other activities can help. I’ve found weeding the garden is a great time to let my thoughts drift and story ideas to surface. Besides it’s much more pleasant than car sickness.

Nourishing your Inspiration

Nothing grows or thrives without being fed. If you want to be creative, then you must have the time and energy to support it. This means getting enough sleep for your brain to work properly. Drinking enough water and eating well will also help you. Exercise is great for loosening up the brain. It’s very easy to get into vicious circles of feeling exhausted, harassed and miserable, not having the energy or vision to make changes to improve that, and by not changing it, being stuck in an uninspired place where it seems there is no way out. If your life feels that way, it is vital to take radical action. A few days off and some proper sleep makes it possible to move on.

To seek inspiration you need both peace and challenge. Quiet time in which to formulate and imagine is essential, but you also need things to motivate you. You can set the challenges yourself, around life improvement, causes, or any issue that speaks. Battling against challenges all the time burns people out, while an excess of tranquillity makes us indolent. We need balance in order to thrive. If your life is unbalanced, then your creative journey begins by addressing that.

I spoke in the previous blog post about honouring the sources of your inspiration, knowing them and learning to work with them. I also pointed out that there must be balance in this relationship. How you respond to the sources of your inspiration is part of the way in which you nurture your own creativity. By caring for the source, you protect and encourage it. For example, if you are inspired by the natural world, then time given to litter picking, tree planting, conservation etc not only balances what you have gained, but will very likely add to your inspiration. If a book inspires you, or a teacher you might choose to make that inspiration known so that others will benefit. The consequence might well be another book from the teacher. There is a cyclical pattern here, and we should be mindful of it.

Where we give, we also receive. If a person is blocked and finds it hard to create, then it is a time for generous action, for giving and offering to others. We can be replenished in this way.

It is also really important to offer your creativity and the fruits of your inspiration. You might choose to share your work or ideas with other people. That can result in all kinds of feedback, positive and negative. Both are potentially beneficial. By sharing your creativity, you may inspire others to attempt creative things, and to bring that back to you in the future, which will in turn nourish you.

There is also the option of offering your work to the gods. I find that playing music outside, to the sky, is incredibly powerful for me. Offering your creativity to a place that inspires you, can be deeply affecting.

Inspiration is not something you can horde. Trying to be mean with it, to drip it out slowly in case you run out, is to stifle it. Keeping it to yourself in the hopes of financial gain, or avoiding criticism, will not, ultimately, serve you. The more we give, the more inspiration and creativity we pour into the world, the more there is. Where we are generous, others will very likely respond in kind. Whatever you make or do, let it be known, so that others can respond to it, draw inspiration from it and respond in their own ways. In those responses you will very likely find much of the support you need to keep you working with your ideas, and to keep the inspiration flowing.

Pagan Holidays for April 12, 2010

Today Rome will honor their Goddess Ceres who began her cult around 496 BCE, or rather the Romans did following the orders of the Sibylline Oracle. We see that Rome has practiced a few habits of the Greeks. One, they have as many celebrations as possible—perhaps keeping the people happy–and two, they make their own version of the gods and goddesses of Greece.

The festival of Cerealia, honoring Ceres should be seen as no different. Ceres, said to be the Roman version of Demeter clearly expresses why. She was the Goddess of grain and agriculture and if we notice throughout ancient civilizations, that was VERY important. Because without food, people would…well starve.

Now, while Rome is throwing down another festival, they will also mark on their calendars the return of Proserpine—their version of Greece’s rise of Persephone.

C.H. Scarlett