All posts by jodilee

Jodi has been writing and editing professionally for the better part of a decade, dividing her time between her own WIPs and those of her clients via numerous outlets. Her work has appeared in Apex Digest, The Beltane Papers, The Blessed Bee, newWitch, Noneuclidian Cafe, Nocturnal Ooze, Night To Dawn and the Michelle Belanger-edited collection, Vampires - In Their Own Words. Her short horror has been included in the anthologies Echoes of Terror (Lachesis Publishing), Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths (Graveside Tales), Parasitic Thoughts (The Parasitorium Group), Tainted (Strange Publications), and The Black Garden (Corpulent Insanity). She has several new pieces coming out in late-2009 to early 2010 (magazines, anthologies). Currently she’s publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project.

The Lion Roared


I’m just sneaking this under the wire for my day at the blog… family issues came up and I’ve only just arrived home. Still, I wanted to get this story up for you all, and I certainly hope you enjoy it!

It has some disturbing and violent pieces, so I’m placing it behind a cut, if you’d rather not read a creepy-kid horror story… 😉
Continue reading The Lion Roared

Springtime? April Fool’s!


Now I’m not saying that it’s going to dump a foot of snow on anyone in the next 36 hours, but I am saying a large chunk of North America saw March come in with a lamb’s breath… and those of us ninnies that follow old wives’ tales like baby ducks know that means March is going to go out like a lion.

Here in southern Manitoba, the sky is clear, there is a nice breeze and most if not all of the snow has melted, leaving large puddles for the young ones to splash in. And it has been warm enough to splash without parkas! Sadly, my teenagers were splashing in the puddles so I know. All too well. Teenagers splashing in puddles are far more messy than toddlers, I’ve found.

Old wives’ tale or not, there does seem to be some truth behind it. March in the northern hemisphere has extremely changeable weather, it’s just common knowledge. I know of two old wives’ tales (besides the lamb and the lion) that my grandmother used to recite every year. It seems they play out, every year, too.

March winds bring April showers to help grow the young May flowers.

If it rains in March it will rain in June.

I know the origin of April Fool’s is not related to the Lamb/Lion tale, but really, how could one not see the correlation? Who doesn’t become relieved that winter is over, pack away the winter gear after weeks of sunshine and warmth, only to be fooled on April 1st (or thereabouts) by snow and ice? April Fools!

I’ll be back later today to share my Lion and Lamb story with you!

Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project.

Rural Vs. Urban?


What does being an urban pagan mean to me? I honestly can’t say, because I’d only lived in the city for 18 months before moving to a rural area again. At the time I lived in the city, I was so far into the broom closet, I was practically in the neighbor’s apartment. I did find having access to many books through a very large library system exhilarating, particularly since – at the time – the rural library I was a member of wasn’t able to put anything but books on Christianity on the shelves.

A few years after I came out here, I exited the closet and became very public and very vocal. That didn’t sit well, more so with the urbans than the rurals. Who was “I” to speak for “them?” I wasn’t planning on speaking for them, I was speaking for myself and my grove and our choices. I would not think to speak for others when they have voices of their own.

I have a long-standing dislike for city pagans in my area. Not all of them, I suppose, but having been looked on as a country bumpkin, a know-nothing nobody, an interloper (yes, that word was actually used when I began organizing non-urban festivals and open circles) and not taken seriously simply because I choose to live outside of the city by their majority, I have cut all ties to them.

It’s not for lack of trying to participate. In 1999, I attended an open to the public event for Beltaine, and my companion and I were totally ignored by the ‘regulars,’ approached only by other folks who were new. When it seemed as though only a small handful of people were going to step up to help dismantle the Maypole, my companion and I stepped up and helped. I should say – attempted – to help. Within five seconds of our approach to the pole, laying our hands on it to help steady it as it was brought down, a woman I came to know as part of the circle of disdain screeched that we should not be allowed to touch the pole. I’ve never attended that particular event again.

I did try to become involved after I signed on with Pagan Pride in 2000. We invited city folks out to meet with us, and their immediate reaction was contempt, and a demand that we allow them to make decisions and have the initial event in the city. We refused politely, and most of us were snubbed from then on. A couple of us went out of our way to attend circles and gatherings in the city, only to be turned away at the door. Our group held our event to the constant complaints of the city people who demanded that the next one be held in the city, and several of our members were ripped off by ordering items from the city vendors which were never produced later on, and no refunds were given or even offered. The pot-luck dinner was scorned by them, and they brought in their own meals from Subway. The non-perishable food donation (which DID go to THEIR food bank) had five items from those seventy-five people. The rest of the items were from our group alone.

At our last event, I refunded table rental money to two vendors because we’d ended up boycotted (I refused to move an event meant for local people to the city, and was then told no one would come out) and only fifty or so people from the local towns came out.

At one point, after having been scammed out of money I couldn’t afford to support a group in the city that hosted a national gathering (I purchased fundraiser items that were never sent), I very nearly cut ties with everything pagan except my group and my family. Those city people were in fact the main reason I left Pagan Pride in 2007 (yes, there were other reasons). When I was verbally assaulted by a member of the planning committee for that national gathering over whether or not I (at the time I was the national director for Canada) should be on a panel specifically for Pagan Pride, that was it.

I quit.

I got tired of trying to fit in with them, of trying to change myself to suit them, of even making an attempt at being civil. Recently, I realized I’d set myself to ‘no-mail’ on all the pagan groups I belonged to, except two which are run by pagan elders in the US. When I had to change my mailing address, I unsubscribed from all of them. I’d been on no-mail for at least two years, and hadn’t missed a thing.

Sadly, my encounters with the urbans have soured me – as if that wasn’t obvious – and I have made the conscious decision to not mingle outside of our group anymore, at least offline. Should we have any interaction with other pagans, it’s usually those that are also in our area, most of whom have also experienced what we have. This works for us; we’re rural, and we like it, ladybugs, big bonfires, green grass and all.

Please consider helping to support The New Bedlam Project by checking out a list of gently used pagan books for sale on my blog: Downsizing to Your Benefit?

Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

All That Dies Shall Be Reborn


Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall live again.

I never thought I’d be saying those words for a close friend who was not that much older than myself. James passed through the veil on January 17th at the age of 41. A healthy, active man for most of his years, it came as a huge shock to all of us who knew him.

I met James in December of 2003 on the advice of a mutual friend. He and I hit it off and began a relationship that never quite might it into fully romantic. We shared some common interests but the spark just wasn’t there. I was still hooked on someone else, really, and thankfully James was understanding about it. He helped me get through that loss by listening, by being there with a shoulder to cry on, by making me dinner and helping clean out two huge closets that contained a lot of miscellaneous crap from my marriage and past relationship. He helped me move on, just as much and in some ways even more so, than anyone else. He was the first one to step up and put paid to my never-ending divorce by rounding up some others and holding a ritual the night before I was to appear before the judge.

I introduced him to another friend, Mel. Despite a slight difference in their ages, they did hit it off, and she moved to BC when he got a job out there. They married secretly in 2006, a ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace with only the secretary and a passerby as witnesses. Swept her off her feet, he did. Mel has always said (and I tend to agree) that their spur-of-the-moment elopement was extremely romantic. The pair of them introduced me to S. not long after and that began a complicated long distance relationship that to this day I still hold very dear and still haven’t quite figured out.

Later that same year James, Mel, S. and myself formed a writing circle under the pseudonym Rhada McKai. At the present time we have one novel and a handful of short stories that were in the ‘Work in Progress’ file. When Mel is ready, we’ll talk about continuing our work in James’ memory. For now, Rhada’s only appearance will be in Courting Morpheus (currently in progress for publication with Belfire Press).

The wake and passing ritual were held Sunday night, and memorial service on Monday. S. recited a poem by Mary Frye used at both pagan and Christian ceremonies alike:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

As I lit my candle last Monday after receiving word of James’ passing, I spoke the following words, which began the healing process, and I hope helped give comfort during his passage to the Otherworld.

Nephthys, carry James swiftly and gently to your realm. Hold him as dear to your heart as we here have held him as dear to ours. Give him the strength to meet the next life with happiness and health. So Mote It Be.

James’ favorite novel was Watership Down. I ended my personal blog with this same phrase, finding it fitting for one such as he.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.

Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.