All posts by Mychael Black

To a dear uncle…

I received a phone call today from my mother that shocked me. To be honest, I’m still in a state of denial. And that’s just how I’m feeling. I can’t begin to imagine how my stepmom feels.

Her brother Freddie was a truck driver, and one of the sweetest, greatest teddy bears I’ve ever known. They were very close as siblings, and Mama (stepmom is her partner of 20 years) loved Freddie like a brother. I felt close to him. Then again, everyone who knew Freddie felt a connection with him. He was open, loving, wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’d been through so much hell in his life, yet he managed to conquer his personal demons and became an inspiration.

This morning… he passed away. According to the New York Highway Patrol, his rig veered off the road, hit trees, and a fuel tank exploded. They don’t know if Freddie had a heart attack, a stroke–whatever. There will be an autopsy, though, and then he’ll be cremated and his ashes scattered around blueberry bushes in Decatur, AL.

Love your family–no matter how far they might be from you.

Top 10 Reasons to be a Druid

Top Ten Reasons to be a Druid:

10) Travel form is awesome! Who doesn’t want to be a cat??

9) You can be a bear when you want to tank, a cat when you want to deal DPS .*

8 ) By turning into a manatee, you can swim underwater without breathing!

7) DoTs ROCK! **

6) Kiting rocks even harder! ***

5) Treeform = excellent healing power.

4) Moonfire, for an early spell, is exceptionally useful.

3) Buffs (especially Thorns) are some of the best!

2) No one else gets a port to Moonglade.

1) Druids make excellent soloists!

~~~

If you haven’t figured out by now… this list has absolutely NOTHING to do with *real* Druidry. 😉 I thought we all needed a good laugh, and what better way than to show the pros of being a Druid… in WoW!

* DPS: Damage Per Second

** DoTs: Damage Over Time

*** Kiting is done thusly: DoT, Root, Nuke, DoT, Root, Nuke… rinse and repeat til creature is dead. 😉

~Mychael Black, Bonafide Gaming Addict

Low Income, But Not Low Spirit

Being an urban (well, rural now) pagan, I’ve lived in semi-cramped spaces off and on for most of my adult life. Add to that, I’ve been in the ‘low income’ bracket since I moved out of my mother’s house at the age of 16. I’ve often gone to other pagan houses and wondered how I could make my own space reflect who I am and what I believe, while on a next-to-nothing budget. Although I don’t have any professional tips and tricks, I can share what I’ve done to create a place of ritual and meditation.

I am a bargain shopper. I suppose it comes with the territory, but it’s something I learned from my mother. I’m not talking necessarily grocery shopping (though I bargain shop there, too). No, I’m talking about thrift shops, antique shops, dollar stores, yard sales–you name it. It’s amazing what sorts of treasures you can find in such places. My own brand of paganism is…well…a mish mash of a lot. I’m a Druid (of a primarily Welsh pantheon), but I also have taken bits and pieces of other religions–namely Christianity–and woven them all into something of my own design.

When I go to stores like the ones above, I don’t limit myself to specific items or symbolism. I’ve got pentacles, angels, crosses, goddess symbols, god symbols–all over my house. The Dollar Tree here in town is a favorite haunt–just for the little figurines and the candle holders.

Antique stores can be expensive, but if you look close enough, you’ll often find little things for a lot less that just jump out at you. I have a ceramic green bowl that I found at an antique shop for $6.00. It has an ivy motif–matching my bathroom (done in greens, frogs, and ivy) perfectly.

Thrift shops are another place to find little goodies. I’ve found more knick knacks and even tablecloths at thrift shops.

So being pagan–whether it’s urban or rural–doesn’t have to mean shelling out big bucks for decorations, ritual items, etc. Keep your eyes–and your mind–open, and there’s no telling what you’ll find out there for a few bucks.

Rituals in Detail

I’ve been mulling something over in my mind for a good long while now. One of my older (and I do mean OLDER) short stories once had a review in which the reviewer felt she was being “preached at” because I had a detailed ritual in the story. If there’s anything I don’t do in regards to religion, it’s preach.

So where do you draw the line? Or do you?

Since that review a few years ago, I’ve written rituals in stories, but nothing quite as detailed. Thing is, a lot of my men are pagan–and the ritual in the aforementioned story was integral to the story itself.

Do you write rituals into your stories? Do you enjoy reading them?

Reflections and searching for an artist

On Samhain of this year, it’ll be five years since I dedicated myself to Cernunnos and Michael as a Druid. I’ve been through a lot in those five years, good and bad, and through it all, they’ve both been with me, guiding me–sometimes gently, sometimes not-so-gently.

Cernunnos is my rock–the one who grounds me and keeps me steady. He’s the one to whom I pray when I need calm and peace, when I’m ready to scream from stress. When I feel him, I smell the earth, the rain, the heady scent of nature and masculine energy. The stag and pentacle are his symbols to me, hence my pendant.

Michael is my strength–the one I turn to when I need protection and strength for whatever purpose. When I need a miracle, when I feel threatened in any way, it’s Michael I look to for help. When Michael is with me, I feel hot, like I’m burning up from the inside out. I feel the softness of his emerald feathered wings around me, the strength in his arms when he embraces me. For me, his symbol is a cross (not a crucifix).

There is a drawing a Druid friend once sent me. He didn’t know who the artist was, and neither do I. If anyone knows, please tell me. When I can afford it, I’ll be getting it as a tattoo, possibly with a Celtic or gothic cross. To me, this is Cernunnos in all his glory.Staglord

My pendants…

Okay, found batteries for the digital camera and snapped a pic of my pendants. Not extremely clear, but you get the idea. I got the cross at a tiny store in a MCC church in Austin, TX. I bought the stag pentacle a few years ago at a pagan store in Dover, DE. You can find the necklace here, too: Stag Pentacle.

pendants

Howdy, howdy

*pokes his head in and waves*

Hey, folks!

I’m new to The Pagan and the Pen, but certainly not to writing or paganism. I’ve been writing professionally since 2005 as Mychael Black, but I’ve been a pagan since I was 13, about 19 years ago. (Wow, that makes me feel old…)

The first story I ever wrote and published was ‘The Holly King’ and it appeared in the free ezine, Forbidden Fruit. I’ve come a long way since then, and my writing has matured, but that story is still close to my heart.

For me, writing is a form of worship in my Druid faith. Every word is dedicated to my gods Cernunnos and Michael (yes, the Archangel, who was, incidentally, a Chaldean god), and ‘The Holly King’ was written specifically FOR Cernunnos, shortly after I started down a Druid path.

They (Cernunnos and Michael) tend to show up in my stories, whether by name(s) or not. Many of my men end up pagan (some even as Druids).

I’ve posted ‘The Holly King’ on my website, if you’d like to read it. It’s not very work-safe, but it’s also not overly explicit. Remember: it’s an older story, and not my best in terms of technical details, but it’s still very important to me. I even had a Druid friend once tell me that he printed it out and carried it in his wallet, reading it whenever he needed a pick-me-up. I hope you all enjoy it as much as he did.

The Holly King