E-cards and Grammar Worksheets Free at Oestara

TheBSLogoFor those of you thinking of surfing over to purchase Zollocco, let me tell of the “goodies” that are available free at Oestara Publishing, http://www.oestarapublishing.com/company.html. There is the quiz “How Wiccan Are You?” which is lots of fun. There are some free Pagan e-cards. There is an essay, “The Bardic Tradition’s Effect on Elizabethan Casting” which should interest the Pagan history buffs. Plus, there is a goodly amount of information on English grammar, complete with worksheets and answer keys all of which are free for your personal use. You will find lots to explore at Oestara Publishing, so surf there and have some fun.

No Violence as a Writing Challenge

Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe
Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe

An acquaintance reading Zollocco said, “This book has no sex, no violence, and no profanity, but it is a very good book! How is that possible?” That is a comment I am very pleased about because it was a writing challenge I had set myself. Good stories do not have to have violence, sex, or profanity to be good. Victorian literature, which consists of some of the world’s greatest stories, is notoriously free of graphic violence, sex, and profanity as are the wonderful novels of Jane Austen.  However, this does not mean I object to graphic sex in stories.  Not at all. I like a good erotic tale as much as the next lusty adult.  My purpose in writing Zollocco, though, was to create a story that has a different thrust than erotic stories tend to have. I wanted to write a novel where sex could be suggested and violence condemned to absence. In writing Zollocco I was interested in predicating a way of life that was inherently peaceful and in balance with Nature even in the face of threat, danger, and malicious manipulation. Therefore, not only did I eschew scenes of violence, I also forbade myself the many turns of speech that are based in violent metaphors. I found as I wrote that this was a difficult task because the American use of the English language is riddled with violent imagery: “We beat them!”; “When push comes to shove”; “Take a stab at it”; “Killing time”; “Kick around an idea”; etc., etc.

            As for profanity, it seems to me profanity has two main purposes: one, to relieve moments of stress, the other to insult someone. Here, too, I was trying to imbue the story with my peace-rendering  ideal. What sorts of words would be used by people to relieve their moments of stress in a world governed by forests? Insulting people, of course, is not such a good idea ever. So when my heroine was angry with someone I had her use a different tactic than insult. The antagonists, being less idealistic sorts could use insult all they wanted. I think these sorts of language choices helped to create the tone of Zollocco, at least that is what I was trying to achieve.

            Whenever I write, I set myself certain challenges. It is, for me, part of the fun of writing. I think you will have as much fun reading Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe as had putting my heroine and my writing to challenges.

Electronically Published Internet Connection
Electronically Published Internet Connection

Novel Writing as Trance Oracle

The Author on Her SF Novel
The Author on Her SF Novel

Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe

is about a young woman who becomes a forest priestess. As Pagans, I hope that has enticed you! To elaborate, Zollocco is about a young woman who, having escaped from a dying Earth, lands on a planet governed by sentient forests in the solar system Imenkapur. At first, the forest, called Zollocco, does not want her there, but slowly changes its “mind” after realizing that the woman is trying to live in harmony with the forest. She is captured by, and made the property of, the Toelakhan, an interstellar corporation not in agreement with the forests’ stewardship of the planets. She escapes, and runs from planet to planet, meeting other civilizations living in tune with the forests. She is made a priestess of the forests, but the Toelakhan is always one step behind her, wanting their property back…

            Zollocco has two stories behind the writing of the story. The first is that as I was growing up, I often had trouble falling asleep. So, I would tell myself stories which would put me to sleep. Eventually the stories kind of turned on me in that they would be so interesting they would keep me up all night. I would often go into this twilight sleep where the story would keep on going, but it would go in totally its own direction. Eventually, I found that one story which developed itself in my twilight sleep was so fascinating that not only did it give me many sleepless nights but that I decided I had to write it down: Zollocco. The second story behind Zollocco is that before I knew I was a Pagan I had this New Age boyfriend who told me that you could access any information at all through meditation. So I decided to put my New Age boyfriend’s assertion to the test and write a novel as a meditation to open to myself unknown sources of information. I wrote Zollocco, rooted as it was in my dreams, and it ended up detailing, metaphorically, my path as a future Wiccan High Priestess. (The High Priestess bit means I spent three years under the tutelage of an extremely gracious and knowledgeable teacher.)

            Whenever I skim through Zollocco, I have found that there are many details in Zollocco which have proved to be prophetic. For instance, I described green roofs in Zollocco before any city built them. This makes me a little nervous about many of the other details, for Zollocco also grew out of my passionate concern for the environment. I wrote it as part of my effort to bring people to an awareness of the trouble the environment, all of Nature, is now facing.

            Initially, I found an agent who represented Zollocco, and though all the top sf houses liked it, none of them wanted to publish it. At that time sf that featured a female protagonist was not something that Marketing approved of. Further, criticizing large corporations for policies that create mass environmental destruction, as Zollocco does, was not welcomed, I think, by the big corporations which are the main publishing houses. Lastly, the message of Zollocco, that we must commune with and respect Nature’s Way, was not then fashionable. It took ten years before I found a small on-line publisher to publish it. This company went under soon after Zollocco finalled in the 2001 Eppies, an international writing competition for e-published books. I then decided to start my own e-publishing business, Oestara Publishing, and took back Zollocco and my other books to keep them alive. Zollocco, to me, is a very important book for all the reasons those long ago editors turned it down even though they liked it! (I still have their letters, so I can prove they liked it!)

            Zollocco has been “out there” for years; there are reviews at Eternal Night (an on-line reviewer), Midwestern Review (print and on-line review), The Romantic Times (print review), as well as reader reviews at Amazon. Yet, it is now that Zollocco is really pertinent. Suddenly the state of the environment is on everybody’s mind. These days Paganism, with its special appreciation of and communion with Nature, is the fast growing religion in the US and probably in other countries as well. These days, too, it is not seen as unbelievable that a young lady would have adventures—sf can have a female protagonist!

            You can read an excerpt from the first chapter of Zollocco at http://www.oestarapublishing.com/lgscifi1.html

            You can buy Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe at Oestara Publishing  (oestarapublishing.com/product-2.html), at Ficitonwise.com, and at Amazon.com. You may also be able to order it at some Barnes & Noble bookstores. If you buy it at Fictionwise.com or Amazon.com, I make less money on it, so please give it a ranking at Fictionwise or a review at Amazon. If you are list-mania sort of reader, add it to your list mania! If you buy the paperback directly from me at Oestara, I autograph the book for you. If you want the autograph in Theban, just let me know by e-mail.

            As a final note, let me say I am a big believer in e-books because they save trees. If you are an autograph collector, let me suggest this: buy an e-book version of Zollocco, and drop me an email to send you an autographed postcard. You can ask all your favorite authors who take advantage of the e-book format to send you an autographed post card or bookmark. You can make a scrap book of all these autographs that will eventually become a valuable piece of history. As we change our habits to accommodate the needs of Nature, we will find that many of the changed habits are really fun and beneficial to us. So read Zollocco as an e-book and enjoy yourself!

Where fiction and life meet

The pagan world is not a big one, and Druidry is smaller yet. That makes things intersting when writing stories set in the here and now. I know a bit about who is actually around, and doing things – in my local area and at bigger national sites. It creates something of a dilema. Should I write things as they are, or make up something innacurate?

The Gorsedd of Caer Abiri features in ‘A Gift of the Goddess’ and anyone familiar with that gathering, would recognise some of the faces. Published under my Mistress Nimue alter-ego, ‘I look into the darkness’ features a one off Druid gathering from some years ago. Not only was I there, but I couldn’t resist writing myself in! However, ‘The Warrior Vision’ although it uses real places (Rollright Stones) doesn’t have any real people in it, and the same is true of ‘Enchanted Waters’ (all available from www.loveyoudivine.com – shamelessplug). I’ve recently written a short story for Romance Divine – featuring a locaton I know is used by local pagans, but again avoiding ‘real’ people.

The hardest story in this regard turned out to be Late Night Sessions http://www.amazon.com/Late-Night-Sessions-Bryn-Colvin/dp/1934446076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246457932&sr=8-1 which includes a strong folk element as well. I haven’t named all of the festivals and clubs featured in the story, but anyone in the West Midlands folk scene could potentially, figure it out. There are some real people featured – all folkies, mostly musicians, and I sought their permission. Writing that aspect without real people just didn’t work. But the pagans who appear are all fictional and it didn’t seem a good idea to me to use real celebrants or local figures.

It comes down to privacy. What happens at public events – be that folk festivals or public ritual, seems like fair game, from a writing perspective. These are people who have put themselves somewhere visible, so I don’t feel like I’m compromising anyone (although I tend to seek permission anyway). Much of the pagan scene is more private, most people don’t put themselves forward. So when I’ve written about ordinary pagans, I’ve made them up, rather than drawing on my knowledge of actual communities.

Much of the available pagan fiction is fantastical in nature (mine included) but I do like trying to reflect how life is, for people on a pagan path as well. It remains a juggling act, rooting the fiction in reality without compromising anyone, and I can only hope that I get the balance right.

Pagan YA Fiction

One of the questons I’ve most frequently been asked is whether I can recomend suitable fiction for youg people who are involved with paganism. So, here’s a list of books to suit young adult readers (eight upwards). These are all books I have read and enjoyed, that are well written, and help to place a young reader in their own pagan context. These books draw on pagan themes and some may inspire readers to seek out the original myths.

Alan Garner’s books are excellent. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath and Elidor are all good. My favourite is The Owl Service, which should (I think) be accompanied by Kevin Crossley Holland’s retelling of the Mabinogian – very accessible, and after Garner’s intruduction to Blodeuwedd, its necessary reading.

Witch Child, by Celia Rees is a beautifully written tale, perfect for a young witchy girl, but with wider appeal as well. There is a sequel I think, although I’ve not read it.

The Green Man – tales from the mythic forest, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Winding is suitable for slightly older readers. Its a collection full of magic, mystery, pagan gods and forest power.

The Sunminers, Kevan Manwaring (available from www.lulu.com) is mythic, full of relevant themes, and will introduce younger readers to a man whose adult fiction they will want to explore later on! I’m a big fan of Kevan’s.

Tales of the Celtic Bards – Claire Hammilton – again this is one for slightly older YAs, but once they have a taste for myth and legend, this is a good book to pick up – accessbile and beautifully crafted, it makes some of the key Celtic stories available.

I would also suggest Brian Bates The Way of Wyrd. It’s a more grown up book, I was about 11 when I read it – and it affected me deeply.

Happy reading! If you can, find an opportunity to hear storytellers as well. The sharing of stories used to be about oral communication, in person and that’s a radically different, and very powerful experience.

“Marriage”–What? Why Can’t Gays Get Married?

One of the largest arguments denying people who live a Gay lifestyle the right to be married is the controversial matter of marriage itself. Many who serve up this argument claim that by letting a Gay couple marry, it belittles and brings demeaning to the sanctity of marriage.

I found this curious since these people seem to hold a religious stance, particularly Christianity or Catholic. Now this isn’t an attempt to bash their faith but the evidence that I found seemed to clash with today’s views. Why?

Well, it seems marriage predates Christianity and what‘s more important, the Church opposed it.

The word marriage derives from maritare, a Latin word. Marriage, the ceremony and act is older than the Church–Pagans seemed to be doing it first, or so that is what I am led to believe. Yes, I know that the rituals and supporting facts can be debated but it is actually the stance of the church in it’s early years that caught my interest.  In fact, the idea of the Goddess having anything to do with this Pagan ritual, marriage, disgusted the early fathers of the Church so much that they voiced it, were quoted in saying it, and often preached about it.

Here is what they said:

Origen was noted saying, “Matrimony is impure and unholy, a means of sexual passion.”

Saint Jerome said, “The primary purpose of a man of God was to cut down with an axe of Virginity the wood of Marriage.”

Saint Ambrose said, “Marriage was a crime against God, because it changed the state of virginity that God gave every man and woman at birth. Marriage was prostitution of the members of Christ and “Married people ought to blush at the state in which they are living.”

Tertullian claimed marriage was a moral crime, “more dreadful than any punishment or any death.”

St. Augustine–my favorite of all bitter people, bluntly claimed that marriage was SIN.

Tatian said marriage was a corruption, a pollution and foul way of life. By his words, Syrian Churches made a law that only celibate men could be a Christian and that no married man or any who had been married could even be baptized.

St. Bernard claimed that it was easier for a man to resurrect the dead than it was to live with a woman endangering his soul.

St. Paul damned marriage saying to marry was at least better than burning–I Corinthians 7:9 (not by much) but later on his followers became even more bitter and against it.  They even dragged Jesus into the mix:
Luke 14:26–If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he can not be my disciple.

Jerome took this and ran with it. He used it to destroy marriage and the Family especially since Jesus renounced his in Mark 3:31-35. Jerome claimed that any man who loved his wife passionately was guilty of adultery. He was disgusted by motherhood, “the tumefaction of the uterus, the care of yelling infants, all those fond feelings which death at last cuts short.”

I am confused…did the Amazons snatch these men up, beat them retarded and then vomit them back into the world? Talk about chauvinistic, women hating, bitter little grumps.

Now I am not out to belittle every Christian or God fearing person’s marriage but I am attempting to damage the ridiculous claim that people of different lifestyles can not marry because it belittles the sanctity and institution of marriage. That it goes against the meaning of marriage based on the church and bible. I can’t even say I am sorry because what I have researched doesn’t support that claim.

I mean as if this argument alone is fair and reasonable play: Why does someone else and the way they choose to live their life affect and demean yours? If two leprechauns and a purple dog get married then why does that make a straight man and his wife’s marriage mean less? Why are you allowing the actions of others define what something means to you? And obviously it doesn’t mean a lot since people get married just for the hell of it and then divorced because someone left their socks on the floor. Marriage at this point in time is not sacred (in general) and no one is yelling about that…as long as it isn’t being taken seriously by straight couples right? That’s demented, in my opinion and perhaps might be the problem. I mean how hilarious would it be if the divorce rate of Gay couples were less than those of straight couples?

I think the argument and battle refusing any person the right to get married is a waste of breath. I don’t think there should even be a legal fight about this. Who are we to dictate the lifestyles of other people? Who are we to say who can marry, who can adopt, and who can be with who? We need to stay focused on our own lives, our own home, and our own business. Do we believe that if we deny a Gay couple the right to be married that they won’t exist? News flash, Gays  have been around since the dawn of time because love is what it is. It has no boundaries, period, and sometimes I think that people who are blessed with that, are happier than any of us.

Marriage is a decision decided by two people…it means what it means to them…God, Goddess or whatever they believe in. Be secure in what it means to you and stop using it as a means to control the actions and desires of another. We should mind our own business I think.

This is actually an interesting subject so I’ll be doing another on Pagan customs concerning marriage–vows used by the Angelo-Saxons, Greeks, and other Ancient Cultures.

Resources for the above:

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets by Barbara G. Walkers

Interesting material


Pagan Calendar– Holidays & Desktop Wallpaper July 2009

Below are all the days I could find for July. The Calendar is an eclectic one. It features Roman Holidays, Celtic, Welsh, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, etc. Now there is also a Pagan Calendar to use as a Desktop Wallpaper.

Preview (SMALL size–do not right click & save as– Preview. This will not fit on your screen)

Links to various sizes. Just follow the link you want, right click and save as.

Desktop Size: 1680×1050

Desktop Size: 1680×1200

Desktop Size: 1024×768

Desktop size: 800×600

Note: On the Calendars for Desktop, I can only fit but so much information. So, I added 1 holiday per day plus moons. For more information concerning the days, make a copy of the information below. Let me know if you like them and I’ll keep making them.  If you recognize these calendars from a year back, they are the same ones made by Beloved Isis, a screen name I used for years.

Happy Pagan Holidays!
C.H. Scarlett

Pagan Calendar July/2009 Holidays


*Kalends of July
*Nostradamus fulfills his last prophecy on this day by dying exactly when he predicted.


*Rome-feast of expectant mothers


*Dog Days-ruled by Sirius–Dog star
*Egypt honors Goddess Sophet–Goddess of the Dog Star
*Greek festival for Goddess Athena
*Welsh- Today is sacred to Cerridwen


*Roman festival for the Goddess Concordia
*The Day (in Rome) despite the Festival is dedicated to the Roman Goddess Pax and the Greek Goddess of peace, Eirene


*Today the Earth’s orbit is farthest from the sun.
*1st of 2 festivals in Rome–Poplifugium
*Egypt- This day is sacred to Ma’at


*Rome: Today is the Remembrance of Julian–Roman Emperor –Flavius Claudius Julianus 331-363
He actually restored Rome to its Pagan roots and traditions after Constantine I and his supporters handed it over to Christianity. Julian rebelled, having his own legion which made him Emperor..when Constantine I died shortly after, Julian took his place. He died in Battle sometime later, without wearing armor. He was that sure in his skills and himself.


*Roman festival of Consus–God of Earth.
*Also–Roman festival of Handmaids
*Also honoring Goddess Juno–the 2nd feast of Roman Poplifugium
*Nones of July
*Celtic Tree month of Duir Ends


*Norse- Observance of Sunna
*Celtic tree Month of Tinne Begins


* Greater Panathenaea- Greek Festival in honar of Anthena
* Rome–Vestalia: Honor of Vesta


*Lady Godiva rode naked on this day in protest of her husband’s steep taxes
*Norse celebration of Skadi or Skadhi
*Month of Rosea Ends


*Honor of Theano: She was married to Pythagoras and was one of few women who contributed to mathematics.
*Goddess month of Kerea Begins


*Egyptian Holiday for Sokar
*Egyptian Festival of Ptah


*Magician, Astronomer, Alchemist, & Hermetic Philosopher John Dee was born on this day in 1527
*Birthday of Egypt’s Ra
*At Sundown–marks the feast of Cerridwen–Welsh


* Birthday of Osiris –Egypt
*Runic ½ month of Ur Commences


*This day is sacred to the Norse Rowana
*Greece–Scirophoria–Festival in honor of Athena
*Ides of July


*Egypt–Birthday of Set, Seth


*Egypt–Birthday of Isis


*Egypt–Birthday of Nepthys


*Midpoint ½ year of Adonis‘ presence in world marked by wedding to Aphrodite
*Egyptian New YEAR
*Egyptian wedding anniversary of Isis and Osiris


*Feast of Thoth–Egypt


*Remembrance of seeress Damo–daughter of Pythagoras
*Egyptian Birthday of Aten


*Rosicrucian–On this day a document was published verifying and proving the existence of the Rosicrucian. Before this, it was only speculated.


*Rome-festival of Neptunalia & Salacia


*Festival of Hathor


*This day is sacred to the Roman Goddess Furrna


*Norse festival of Sleipnir

*Honoring Queen Hatshepsut


*3 day festival of Chrom Dubh


*Norse –Thor is honored by a festival
*Runic ½ month of Thor begins


*Final day of Chrom Dubh


*Norse Observance Loki & Sigyn
*Celtic observance for Oodche Lugnasa
*Lammas Eve

C.H. Scarlett

Web site: http://chscarlett.net

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CHScarlett

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/chscarlett

Blog: http://chscarlett.wordpress.com/

Updates Blog: http://apps.chscarlett.net/blog/

***Art used under Free Use Act. No copyright infringement intended. All artists (that I could find) are embedded on their piece of work I used. If you like the art then please go buy it from the sources. These Calendars are FREE. You may share them and you may add your own information to them if you have the software but please, when sharing, share the original. You can also share the information concerning the days but please be kind and link back to this blog as the original source.***

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