February 21, 2012

Biography of Isaac Bonewits is in the works

I came across this website where someone is writing a biography about Isaac Bonewits. Certainly, Isaac had an important influence upon the Henge and upon Keltrian Druidism.  I hope that Seligman's book focuses upon Isaac's impact upon the Druid community as he suggests it will.  I'll be interested in reading the book when it comes out.

The Argothald Journal - A Biography of Isaac Bonewits
My name is Bill Seligman. I am writing a biography on the life of Isaac Bonewits. I intend to tell the story of his life; how he influenced the Neopagan, Druid, and Wiccan communities; and to include a generous share of "Isaac stories." It will be a biography, not a hagiography; I don't think he'd want his image to be polished (nor tarnished!) from anything other than what it was.

Please share this web page (http://bit.ly/IBbio) and my e-mail addresses ([bonewits.research] of [gmail.com] or [william.seligman] of [gmail.com]; sorry for the obfuscation) with anyone you know who is strongly connected to Isaac's life.

New Discoveries at Stonehenge?

Archaeology Magazine is one of the magazines I subscribe to, so I am always pleased to see when they run bits about western Europe, particularly the Celts or megalithic monuments. They're reporting "new discoveries" but I'm not sure what is new in their report.
  • There is evidence that there may have been alignments between specific stones and posts at the solstices.
  • Some of the bluestones were quarried in Preseli Hills in West Wales.
It is techno-cool that they apparently figured out where one of the stones was quarried to within a 6 by 15 foot area, but I'm not sure that is is really "new."  Anyway, glad to see a bit about Stonehenge.

From the Trenches - New Discoveries at Stonehenge - Archaeology Magazine
Stonehenge and its surrounding area continue to offer new information about how the prehistoric site was used. A ground-penetrating radar survey led by Vincent Gaffney of the University of Birmingham has revealed evidence of two large pits that, when viewed from the Heel Stone, a small standing stone near the entrance to the site, align with sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice. The pits may have held wooden posts or standing stones, and the area between them and the Heel Stone may have been used for summer solstice rituals.

Some of the stones from the site were the subject of a different study, by geologists Rob Ixer of the University of Leicester and Richard Bevins of National Museum Wales, to determine where they came from. The researchers used a technique called "petrography," a common tool for geologists for more than 100 years. It involves looking at extremely thin slices of rock under a microscope and describing the way the minerals that compose it blend with one another to form a unique texture—as distinctive as a fingerprint. By comparing rock fragments from some of the site's "bluestones" (a generic term used to describe stones outside the site's iconic center) to samples from a rhyolite outcropping at Preseli Hills in West Wales (above), Ixer and Bevins were able to narrow down the area where at least one stone had been quarried to a six-by-15-foot space. The information could lead archaeologists directly to the places where Neolithic people cut the rock that was made into Stonehenge up to 5,000 years ago. The geologists have examined about 700 pieces of rock from Stonehenge but have only completed analysis on a few pieces of rhyolite. "I've been at this for 20 years," says Ixer, "but it is really just the beginning."

February 16, 2012

Remembering Pamela Colman-Smith

Pamela Colman-Smith was born on February 16th, 1878 and passed on September 19th, 1951.

She was an artist, illustrator, writer, and editor. She edited the short-lived magazine The Green Sheaf that included material from Yeats. Yeats introduced her to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. There she met A.E. Waite. Her collaboration with Waite inspired her most famous and enduring work -- the Waite-Smith Tarot. That work, republished and recolored became know as the Rider-Waite Tarot, is the standard for most tarot readers’ collections.

I, like many interested in the occult and alternate spirituality, studied and practiced the Tarot. Of course, I began with the Rider-Waite Tarot. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the artist/illustrator of the work in my early learning. It was several years later, and familiarity with many more Tarot Decks, that I grew to really appreciate the work that Pamela Colman-Smith did. Her work had endured like few others and is the standard by which all other A.E. Waite based tarot cards are judged against. Although I’ve grown to use another deck when I do tarot readings, I still can use the Pamela Coleman-Smith drawn decks.

Today, on the 134th anniversary of her birth, I remember Pamela Colman-Smith and give thanks to her as an Ancestor.