HUGE ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR JUNE 2010

We have loads of new stuff coming your way at The Pagan and the Pen. First, let’s get the regular goodies out of the way, shall we?

I am very excited to announce that we have an interview today called:

The BDSM Lifestyle: An Interview With Author Dena Celeste by Rie McGaha

This concerns a Lifestyle that is very controversial because many people write or say they live it, representing it wrongly. So, as we took on a new writer sometime ago who actually lives the Lifestyle of BDSM, I was very happy when she decided to correct the wrongs, throw us some rights, and even a little glossary by allowing our FABULOUS Rie McGaha to interview her.

BIG BIG NEWS–Dena has agreed to do a monthly column with Pagan and Pen. Think Taboo with Dena C.

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If you dig the (Free) Desktop Wallpapers, then June’s is ready!

Free Desktop Wallpaper Calendar June 2010

AND AND AND!!!!

Free Desktop Wallpaper by Tom Brown

Don’t miss June’s Pagan Artist of the Month either that Brandi Auset did the interview for. I am thinking Brandi has a true talent for this…

June: Pagan Artist of the Month: Willow Arleana

Now, some announcements & free stuff from our Authors:

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Angela Brown has a new release HERE. The title is Forever and it’s a Paranormal erotic, not erotica, romance short story.

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Ancient Blood releases on May 31, and there’s still time to get in on the contest and win copies of Blood Line, Ancient Blood, an Ancient Blood T-shirt, and poster signed by the author! Go to Rie McGaha’s Website for an excerpt, contest rules, and how to enter!

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Lost Bards and Dreamers s

Brynneth has a poetry collection coming out – very druidy in tone – Lost Bards and Dreamers. Cover art by Tom Brown, and it’s coming out very shortly with Alpheratz as an ebook first, and then on paper.

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Noble Wyntress Nyght 200x300

C.H. Scarlett’s book Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack: Exes & Hexes (Book One)is set to be released on June 14th, 2010 by Noble Romance Publishing. The book is a zany, supernatural shot for those who need their Paranormal fix. If you adored shows and characters like The Addams Family, Munsters, Elvira, Buffy the Vampire Slayer– then this series may just be for you. I warn you, though, no two bones about it…Wyntress Nyght can be a handful…and she knows it!  For more information click the title or check out C.H. Scarlett’s Website!

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Now, for some more good stuff concerning the blog!!!!!

Because so many readers have contacted us or have posted , we now have COLUMNS!!!! BASED ON THE SUBJECTS YOU WANT!!!!

Writers have set out to bring you the articles you crave, concerning the issues you desire, and hopefully, in the end, we will leave you happily stuffed!.

  • Daily Columns

    

  • Bi-Monthly Columns

  • Monthly Columns

  • Click on the links above to discover what to expect from those Columns. We are trying to cover all of the issues–Ancient celebrations, Women, GLBT, Pagan, Druid, Divination (Dear Spirit), Movies, Religious, Abuse, Controversial, the life experiences of William Maltese (who can entertain the masses easily), Men and Women relationships/differences, etc–  that you find interesting. If we are missing one, then please, by all means, let us know and we will see if we can find an Author to cover it.

    The BDSM Lifestyle: An Interview With Author Dena Celeste by Rie McGaha

    Rie McGaha interviews Dena Celeste

    Warning: This article is Adult rated (as so is our site) and may not be suitable for all audiences, particularly those under the age of 18.

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    Rie McGaha: Welcome to The Pagan & The Pen Interviews, Dena Celeste. I am thrilled to be able to chat with you and get the low-down on this whole BDSM lifestyle. First, let me apologize if my questions seem silly, but this is new to me and I find it quite fascinating!

    Dena Celeste: Thank you! No question is too silly, honestly, and everyone starts at the beginning. *smiles*

    Rie McGaha: What is BDSM?

    Dena Celeste: BDSM is an acronym that stands for a few different things: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism/masochism. It’s really a catch-all term, an umbrella that covers everything from light bedroom play, to 24/7 power exchanges.

    Rie McGaha: Most books that include BDSM make it seem like a violent act of abuse. What’s the difference between fiction and reality?

    Dena Celeste: The difference between BDSM and abuse involves consent from all parties. There are two acronyms in the Lifestyle: SSC and RACK. Safe, Sane and Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink. I prefer the latter acronym because everything in life has risks, and acknowledging them is better than thinking everything is perfectly safe.

    Rie McGaha: How old were you when you first “knew” this was something you wanted to try?

    Dena Celeste: I was 16 when I first discovered BDSM as BDSM, but some parts of it went back further than that. The thoughts and urges as I discovered myself confused me for a long time. I didn’t do much about my discovery besides research it voraciously, since learning new things was something I loved to do, and I didn’t want my age to get anyone else in trouble. I also knew that I wasn’t ready to do more than just research. After I turned 18, I joined a variety of websites and began to get involved in the wider Lifestyle community.

    Rie McGaha: Did you meet someone who introduced you to BDSM or did you look it up on the ‘net or is there a listing in the phone book? LOL

    Dena Celeste: *grins* I read a book, actually, and it really made a light-bulb go on in my head. “So that’s it! That’s what I’ve always wanted and haven’t been able to put into words! And there are other people who need this too. I’m not alone!”

    My experience has been guided by a few different people who I came to know and trust. I was recently released by my Master of 5 years, but my connections in the community do go beyond him. I am grateful for the gifts of love and knowledge that he gave me while we were involved.

    Rie McGaha: You were released from your “Master”, what does this mean?

    Dena Celeste: This means that he released ownership of me and dissolved that aspect of our relationship. He’s still my friend, but we are no longer together that way.

    Rie McGaha: Earlier you mentioned “lifestyle,” can you explain that?

    Dena Celeste: For many kinksters, BDSM is more than just play in the bedroom. It becomes a Lifestyle, one which permeates everything else. Those with Dominant or submissive tendencies tend to know from a young age that they’re different. Goodness knows, even I had that knowledge at a young age. Discovering the wider community is a tremendous gift. Still, even those who only like one aspect, even spanking, can include it in their lives. It becomes a Lifestyle.

    Rie McGaha:  It sounds like something you live everyday, does that mean you are constantly dressed in a leather bustier, tied to the door waiting on your partner to spank you?

    Dena Celeste: LOL! No, it doesn’t mean that. I am a slave. It’s something I am every day, something I’m always aware of, the same way I’m always aware of my gender or my heart beat. It’s a part of me. But that doesn’t mean I’m a doormat, nor does it mean that life halts for kink. When I am with a Dominant who I consider worthy of owning me, I can show my submission in a variety of ways. Do some include being tied up at the door? Sure! But life doesn’t always cooperate with those plans.

    Rie McGaha: I’m sure you know there a lot of misconceptions about the BDSM lifestyle. What do you think the biggest false belief is?

    Dena Celeste: Probably that Dominants are abusive, selfish assholes, and that submissives and slaves are doormats just waiting to be walked on. There are some who fit those definitions, but they are the exceptions. There are all kinds of people in this Lifestyle, with all different kinds of energies and personalities. There are demure Dominants and sassy slaves, as well as demure slaves and bold Dominants, and every other shade in between!

    Rie McGaha: In your opinion, is this because people are afraid to explore their sexuality?

    Dena Celeste: I definitely think that’s part of it. The explosion of the Leather and BDSM communities has helped with many misconceptions, and has helped to educate many people about what the realities of the Lifestyle are.

    Rie McGaha:  You mentioned to me earlier that someone you knew heard a radio personality talking about BDSM as something a person needed psychological help for. What do you think about that comment?

    Dena Celeste: I think that there’s nothing wrong with therapy. Do some people need it, or would they find it beneficial? Absolutely. But the kind of needs that BDSM can fulfill aren’t a disease, and the APA has even gone so far as to remove those urges from the list of mental disorders! Maybe some people try to use BDSM as a bandage for a wound that needs some kind of psychological help, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practices BDSM does that. And it would be a temporary bandage at best. The kind of relationship where BDSM flourishes is a STRONG relationship.

    Rie McGaha: I know you belong to LAC. What is this and what are the benefits of belonging?

    Dena Celeste: I do belong to the Lifestyle Alternatives Center of Palm Beach in South FL. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to create community for kinksters, and to educate those who wish to know more about the Lifestyle! The benefits of belonging are knowledge and fellowship with people who respect the rights of others to choose their own lives.

    Rie McGaha: I have to go back to the term “lifestyle.” Isn’t this just really about having rough sex?

    Dena Celeste: Hehe, rough sex can be part of it. That’s great too! But it’s not just about that. It’s about exploration, pushing limits, acceptance and self-knowledge. We are who we are!

    Rie McGaha: And aren’t the people who participate in this activity sexual deviants and perverts looking for a willing accomplice to allow them to live out their demented fantasies?

    Dena Celeste: If so, there are lots of us out there! These needs and fantasies are natural, and we find consensual ways to fulfill them with as much safety as possible. Some people will always think that this is wrong, or perverted, or demented. That’s their right. But I own who and what I am, and I’m not ashamed. I will continue to learn about myself as life goes on, and help others learn to accept who they are.

    Rie McGaha: What would you like people to take away from this interview?

    Dena Celeste: I hope they take some knowledge and acceptance, for themselves or someone they know. I hope they come away with questions and feel free to ask them.

    Rie McGaha: Is there a place where they can contact you personally with questions?

    Dena Celeste: Absolutely! They can email me at DearDenaC@gmail.com, or leave a comment on here with an email address.

    Rie McGaha: No matter the subject or misconceptions, education and knowledge is the key to understanding. Do you have any plans toward this end?

    Dena Celeste: Well, apart from becoming even more active in the wider BDSM community (Just this year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Beyond Leather [an internationally renowned event!] and present at the Fetish School during Fetish Factory’s 15th Anniversary weekend!), I plan on answering questions on this column here. I will also write about all different kinds of aspects of BDSM, such as different dynamics, what consent is, the differences between the terms used in the community, and much, much more.

    Rie McGaha: Thank you, Dena for your time and for putting up with all my questions. Now, where can people find your books and other information about you?

    Dena Celeste: People can find me at:

    Website

    Twitter

    Facebook

    Myspace

    Also, for anyone who is interested in learning more about LAC, they can go to http://lifestylealternatives.org

    And just for fun, I’m including some terms people may be interested in knowing.

    Glossary of Terms:

    BDSM:

    BD Bondage & Discipline, D/s – Dominance/submission, SM Sadism/masochism. Can also be referred to as “the Lifestyle” by many.

    Collar A formal collar may take the form of neck, wrist, ankle, and other kinds of jewelry (like piercings). It may be metal or leather or even cloth. It denotes that a person is under training or owned. It is also a fashion statement for those who are not into BDSM at all.

    Safe wordA word not commonly used during a scene, play or sex so that one can protest (say no, or stop) without play ending. A common version of this is to use traffic light colors. Red means stop right now, yellow means to slow down.

    SceneA scene is a formal play atmosphere where the roles have been pre-negotiated.

    Play May involve two or more people, where BDSM activities such as bondage, spanking, use of toys such as floggers, whips, rope, etc. can occur. Does not necessarily involve sex!

    House A House is a formal BDSM family. Started by one or more persons, it can extend protection, mentoring, ownership, and a variety of other things to those who request it. Rules and requests differ from House to House.

    Protection Often a more experienced person in the community will take someone of less experience or of a submissive role under his/her wing. This person may vet out play partners for safety, provide an anchor for support and advice, and teach a variety of skills in the role as protector. It differs depending on the relationship.

    ConsentA person who can consent is above the legal age limit, and not mentally impaired drugs or alcohol, or some diseases that can affect the ability to give consent.

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    Books by Dena:

    MastersGiftFinal WinterKissesFinal (2)

    Review of Her Master’s Gift:

    This is easily one of the best BDSM stories I’ve ever read.  I love the way the characters are developed, and…read more:

    Reviewer Top Pick: Her Master’s Gift by Dena Celeste

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    Looking for Meaning

    Some druids are rather existentialist in their outlook, not feeling there is any external source of meaning, and that the relevance we find in life we make for ourselves. Others feel that existence is full of inherent meaning and that the world of spirit is constantly trying to communicate with us.

    When huge events unfold in your life – especially hard and painful ones, it’s reassuring to think it serves some kind of purpose. Christians will talk about God having a Plan and needing to trust that it is all for the best. That’s very difficult to do when you are reeling in pain, shock and grief. Some people end up feeling like God’s Plan isn’t remotely benevolent. You can’t really have external sources of meaning without external arbiters of meaning – usually deities, watching over things, keeping score, cranking the gears of reality so that experience Means Something.

    Moments of wonder, awe and beauty can also suggest meaning. Stood on a Portland beach, my arms around Tom’s waist as we looked out at a double rainbow, seemed laden with meaning. I’ve never seen two rainbows like that, with so low a curve, and one bow inside the other. Knowing we were soon to be parted, those two rainbows seemed meaningful, like a good omen. But then, we both wanted, needed a good omen.

    The druids of old apparently were able to divine the future from natural phenomena, and for as far back as we have had stories, people have searched for meaning in the movement of stars, the flight of birds, the death throes of sacrifices, and other random events. If all things are connected, then one thing can provide insight into another, right? Even if that is so, the meaning derived from it depends on human insight. A shooting star the night before a battle cannot be a sign of victory to both sides, after all.

    I think about those twined rainbows. To a person recently bereaved, they might have offered a very different interpretation. To a woman longing for a child, a different story again might have suggested itself. Each person brings their own history, need and expectation with them, so that many people all viewing the same event can understand it in radically different ways. It’s not a good idea (I think) to imagine that reality is laden with personal messages just for us. That can get crazy very quickly.

    Life is full of weird coincidences, inexplicable setbacks, powerful moments of beauty. We experience them, or we tune them out depending on our own natures. Moment to moment we can find richness and hear the voice of spirit trying to guide us, or we don’t perceive that way. We can take every experience we have and discard it as meaningless, abandoning all hope of self knowledge and control. I think it is important to know what we have shaped, and what experiences come back to us from our own actions. Some people don’t. We can stray too far the other way, convinced that the secrets of the universe are coded into the raindrops on the window, paralysed with the need to understand what is inevitably beyond us.

    I believe that we make our own meaning, but we do not do so in isolation. The world is full of other self aware things, spirit is present and perhaps sometimes it does wish to communicate with us. I try not to assume too much in either direction, holding to my own ability to find, or create meaning out of the experiences I have, and to accept when I can’t. Sometimes the meaning I ascribe comes down to ‘shit happens’. I don’t imagine for a moment there’s any right way through this, although I think the extremes of avoiding or seeking meaning are dysfunctional. What I think is important is conscious engagement with experience, taking each one as it comes, and being able to accept it as part of your life, regardless of its impact. Whether you find inherent meaning or not, that’s ok, but pretending something isn’t happening to you really doesn’t work at all.

    Ancient Calendar: June 1, 2010

    Willow - abundance

    June: Pagan Artist of the Month: Willow Arleana

    Happy June 1st!!!!!!!!!!!

    Boy, the months just slip away the older you get, don’t they?

    And unfortunately, the 1st of every month is a BUSY time for me at the Pagan & the Pen…but let me goof off some by dragging you down memory lane and take a look at what our Ancient Ancestors were doing.

    Yep, so far it looks like a busy time for them too.

    Ready to step back in time and take a look?

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    Let’s give a shout out to all those who are and were Celtic! Because in Celtic lore,  they would have honored what is called the Hamadryads. The Hamadryads were actually spirits that lived in Oak Trees. The name actually came straight out of Greece with a somewhat different meaning. In Greece, the Hamadryads were actually Nymphs (the Greeks loved their Nymphs) that were born with attachments to a certain tree. According to their beliefs, if the tree died, then so did the Nymph. And don’t think about running off to cut one down to see if it’s true, either, because the Gods are said to punish anyone who maliciously hurt a tree and or Nymph. (The Gods, like the Greeks love their Nymphs).

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    Jumping the magic carpet over into Rome, we see that they were having a festival for two so-very-fabulous Goddesses named Carna and Cardea. Carna overlooked doors, locks, while Cardea overlooked the hinges. Also, Carna protects the larger organs of the body…while Cardea protects the innocent while they sleep from Strigæ. Who were they? A type of Vampire (even though they didn’t use that word back then) who sucked the blood of their victims while they slept. I keep telling people Vampires didn’t begin with Bram Stoker, but no one wants to believe me. *eye roll*

    Today is also their Kalends of June.

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    Leaving Rome, we go to the land and culture of the Norse, as they are honoring one of my favorite Goddesses named Syn (actually named a cat that when I was a kid and then was shocked to find out later–in life–that the name belonged to a cool goddess). Anyway, back then, Syn hung out and aided Fridd, but was also a protector, who would do so if one simply invoked her. Later on, she came to be known as a protector of those in need of justice AS WELL AS those who are on trial.

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    Checking out Egypt, we have one more celebration going down involving Ma’at and Ra. As this is the day that THEY go forth in secret. (sh-sh-sh don’t tell anybody).

    Oh what the hell, run on out and tell the whole world!

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    Hope you enjoyed today’s Ancient calendar. See you all tomorrow for another look into Ancient History.

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    Want more? Ancient Calendar.

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    ©C.H. SCARLETT

    www.chscarlett.net

    Coming   Soon from Noble Romance Publishing Click to Purchase

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    June: Pagan Artist of the Month: Willow Arleana

    Interview by Brandi Auset

    Willow - Fairy Tree

    Willow Arleana is an artist, healer, energy psychotherapist, and proprietor of the Dancing Willow Tree Mystery School. Her artwork can be found in metaphysical shops and galleries across the country, and she is the co-creator of the immensely popular Tarot of Transformation. You can view her portfolio HERE.

    I had an opportunity to connect with Willow, and discuss the beauty and wisdom behind her art and practice.

    Brandi Auset: Are you Pagan? Do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

    Willow Arleana: I believe that all spiritual traditions can lead to an experience of the divine, so in that sense, I am a Universalist. I spent many years in the Buddhist tradition, and a result of all that meditating was awakened to the life force flowing through nature, and to the intelligence of the beings of nature. I began to channel nature spirits and do energetic healing with nature spirits. This led me to research Pagan mythology, particularly of the goddess traditions. Currently I am writing and illustrating a book on The Seasons Around the Tree of Life based in the lore of the goddess. It will probably take me 3 or 4 more years to finish it. Many of my images are inspired by the beauty and wisdom of Nature. If I had to define my spirituality, I would say I am a Universalist with a strong Neo-Pagan/Buddhist focus!

    Brandi Auset: Could you tell our readers a bit more about the book you are working on?

    Willow Arleana: The working title is SEASONS AROUND THE TREE OF LIFE: AN ECLECTIC JOURNEY ROOTED IN THE GREAT GODDESS TRADITION. For many years I have lead rituals following the Celtic cycle. For these rituals I began researching goddesses from around the globe. At one point I realized that almost all god and goddess archetypes emerged from the energy of nature. When we look at the world’s religions from this point in time, they all look very different from each other. If we look at them from their origin, they are all quite similar: they all grew, like branches, from a culture’s relationship to the natural environment around them. In addition, every tradition that I explored had a myth about the Tree of Life, that is every tradition had myths about the mystic center and the life force emerging from it, usually symbolized as a tree. Likewise, every tradition experienced the cycle of the seasons and other cycles. Even traditions based in the tropics or desert where the yearly cycle is not so pronounced worked with the lunar cycle and the daily cycle. I came to the conclusion that the expansion and contraction of the flow of life force energy, which cycles around the mystic center, and one’s relationship to both the cycle and the mystic center, are the fundamental concerns of religions. My book will be a user’s manual for people to find a greater attunement to the seasons. I describe goddesses from numerous traditions, as well as significant god archetypes that emerged in the pagan world and grew in prominence dung the patriarchy. I also provide meditations, awareness practices and journeys for each season.

    Brandi Auset: When did you first discover your talent?

    Willow Arleana: I knew if fourth grade that I was going to be an artist. I have been an artist in many past lives and mastered many artistic skills then.

    Brandi Auset: What is the process behind most of your art? What mediums do you use?

    Willow Arleana: I have worked in many art and craft media, including watercolor painting, fiber wall hangings, costume making, mask making, and jewelry making. I have always been interested in ceremonial or mythical content. For the last 20 years or so I have used acrylic painting as my primary medium, embellished with hand-made paper collage for the textural element. It took me many years to develop my painting technique that utilizes layers of translucent paint.

    Brandi Auset: What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?

    Willow Arleana: When I was first developing my art I wanted to incorporate the fluidity of Van Gogh, The transparency of various mystical artists, and the decorative design of ethnic art. Later I added the feminine line quality of Art Noveau. As far as musical inspiration, I tend to listen to mellow New Age or World Beat music. Lorena McKennit or Snatam Kaur are often playing in my house. I like music that sooths my nervous system and creates a sense of flow that I can ride upon as I paint.

    Brandi Auset: If the world was created in the image of your imagination, what would it be like when we woke up tomorrow and seen it with new eyes?

    Willow Arleana: The world would be luminescent with high-frequency colors and shimmering light. Objects would be transparent, because they are more energy than matter. Spirit beings could be seen. The sound vibrations emanating from life forms would create rippling patterns through the colors.

    Brandi Auset: If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you? What are you open for—Book covers, Graphic Novels… what?

    Willow Arleana: All of my images and contact info is on my website . I am open to book covers, divination sets, mystical logos, soul paintings, etc.

    Brandi Auset: You also run the Dancing Willow Tree Mystery School in Colorado. What exactly is a Mystery School, and how did the project come about?

    Willow Arleana: In ancient times spiritual practitioners would gather in schools to study and experience the workings of subtle energy and other dimensions of consciousness. These mystery schools were highly secretive, or esoteric, because their knowledge could be dangerous in the wrong hands. In these times this esoteric knowledge is available for all that are interested. I started my school because the many offerings I provided could fit under the umbrella of a mystery school. I offer local and long distance psychic readings, Archetypal Energy Psychology, coaching, various energy awareness practices and other related mystery studies. For more information about DANCING WILLOW TREE MYSTERY SCHOOL, visit www.designsbywillow.com

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    Everyone at the Pagan & Pen would like to thank Brandi Auset for another fabulous interview AND Willow Arleana for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be our June 2010 Pagan Artist of the Month. Through this month, we will be showing sample works by Willow Arleana –here or there—with out daily Ancient Calendar posts. So make sure to keep a look out and be ‘wowed’ by her wonderful talent!

    For more Pagan Artists, check out: Artists of the Month