The Magic of Wolves
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1d ago
(Nimue, review) This fascinating book by Robin Herne explores the roles of wolves in magic, folklore and spirituality. The content draws widely from European and Asian sources, and ventures into ancient Egypt. Robin is explicit that there is too much Native American wolf material for him to do it any kind of justice in a book like this, and that the same is true of African wolf lore. I think it’s really good when authors own their limitations and don’t try to represent material from cultures they don’t have enough insight into. Having followed Robin’s work for many years, I’m aware of him as ..read more
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Having better mental health
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
2d ago
(Nimue) Here we are at the end of Keith’s six week cancer treatment. Both of us worn and tired, both of us doing far better than anyone expected. I’m not going to be talking much about Keith’s experiences – he’s shared that with friends on Facebook, I’ve been bringing things to the blog that we both thought might be useful to other people. Ahead of Keith’s treatment we were both worried about how I would cope. My mental health has been a lot better since we’ve been living together, but this was always going to be a very stressful thing to get through and there was the risk it would wipe out w ..read more
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Telling partial stories
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
3d ago
(Nimue) How we tell stories is of course a significant consideration for anyone on the bard path. However, it’s an issue that affects everyone. What we miss out of a story is often as important as what we reveal. This can be considered both as a structural story issue and as an ethical issue. On the fictional story side, the gaps we leave are the spaces in which readers or listeners add bits of themselves. Stories are a collaborative process and it’s worth thinking about what space you create. This is why excessively tidy endings don’t always work. Sometimes its better not to explain everythin ..read more
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Pagan Fiction
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
5d ago
(Nimue) There are some hazy lines between Pagan fiction, paranormal writing, folk horror, historical fiction and urban fantasy. There have been many authors who have taken Pagan ideas to use in fiction without really conveying anything much of what Pagnism is like for those of us in it. The film The Wicker Man is a good example here – even though Summerisle is in some ways attractive, the story depends on the idea that being a Pagan cuts you off from modern sensibilities. At the same time, there was so little Pagan representation anywhere that this film was, for a long time, one of the few th ..read more
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The power of positive thinking
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
6d ago
(Nimue) I don’t subscribe to the idea that positive thinking will solve everything. Excessive belief in the power of positive thinking can be really harmful. Unfortunately one of the side-effects of popular but toxic ideas about positivity is that doesn’t allow much scope for nuanced discussion of what a positive mindset can and cannot do. I’ve been thinking about this of late in relation to my partner’s cancer treatment. There are people who will try to convince you that you can cure cancer with the power of your thoughts. This can put an enormous burden of shame and misery onto people who do ..read more
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Everyday romance
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1w ago
(Nimue) I used to say I wasn’t romantic. I don’t like capitalism dressed up as romance, and I don’t like anything reinforcing gender norms and sexual stereotyping. I don’t like cut flowers flown in from South Africa. I hate performative stuff and this is one of those days where people do showy things because it’s what you’re supposed to do. I did draw a rose, though. I did three hearts this year – one with tentacles for the Hopeless, Maine project, one with toadstools because goblins, and this one. This one’s arguably a bit romantic. It turns out that what I find romantic, is attention. It’s ..read more
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Visual art and AI
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1w ago
(Nimue) Right now we have sophisticated software that can draw data from a lot of images and turn it into new(ish) images. Defenders of the process say it’s just doing what artists do – learning from other artists. This is such an absolute misrepresentation of how to do art that I felt it needed tackling. One of the things missing here is the intense physicality of making art. We don’t learn to draw, paint or sculpt by looking at art. The first stage is to learn how to use a pencil – most of us learn the basics while learning to write as small children. We learn the fine motor control needed t ..read more
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Imbolc, blackthorn and elf caps
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1w ago
(Nimue) As the wheel turns from Imbolc to the equinox, blackthorn and elf caps are important seasonal markers for me. Generally elfcaps have a long season through the winter, but in my local area these cheery little fungi show up in February. This is also the time of year for blossom on the blackthorn. Blackthorn flowers before any other tree and at this point in the year, there are no leaves, so the flowers really stand out. These are plants that give me feelings of new life and abundance after the depletions of winter. One of the things on my mind as I write this, is the names we use for the ..read more
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Learning and Growing
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1w ago
(Nimue) Life delivers challenges, and we all get opportunities to try and turn difficult experiences into learning opportunities. I don’t think anyone should feel under any pressure to make something useful out of horrible things they go through. I also don’t think it’s an especially good way to learn. What we learn from trauma is often desperate and doesn’t apply well in non-traumatic situations. Learning and growing because there’s the space to do so is a far better experience. I’ve really been seeing this in my own life in recent months. Having the space to explore my own feelings, and the ..read more
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Reading and the creative process
Druid Life
by Nimue Brown
1w ago
(Nimue) One of the defences of ‘AI’ is that artists learn from other artists, writers learn from reading. Therefore (so the theory goes) AI learning by scraping other people’s data is just replicating this process. While this is in some ways true, it also misses out so much of the process as to be wrong. I’m going to talk about reading, but I think much the same principles will apply to all kinds of creativity. It’s also worth noting that most creators don’t simply draw their inspiration from other people who were making the same thing. Art, music, drama, stories, poetry and the rest all impac ..read more
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