Friday, September 23, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child



Gone are the days when one could expect to read simple scripts of new three- or four-act plays. With J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the reader is presented with a couple of dozen two-minute scenes for each of its four acts, featuring complicated staging and special effects, making it nearly impossible for anything less than a full Broadway production to do it justice. This is entirely due to Jack Thorne, Rowling's co-writer on the project, and it leads the reader to imagine the play as a theatrical production, rather than focusing on the underlying narrative.
The story revolves around Harry's son, Albus, a troubled boy living in his father's shadow, who forms an unlikely friendship with Scorpius Malfoy, equally troubled son of Draco. Draco himself has grown up emotionally since his time in the first seven books, but dark rumours persist about Scorpius' true parentage. In turn, the pair makes friends with Delphi Diggory, cousin of the doomed Cedric. In attempt to right past wrongs, and perhaps to prove themselves, Albus and Scorpius engage in a dangerous plan to steal the last remaining Time-Turner, return to the Tri-Wizard Tournament of Goblet of Fire, and attempt to save Cedric's life.
Predictably, this results in various paradoxes and butterfly effects common to time-travel stories (think Stephen King's 11/22/63). Harry, Hermione, and the ever-oblivious Ron must act when it's evident the boys have become involved in something far beyond their abilities.
The story of just whom is the "cursed" (or perhaps "accursed"?) child actually is, is left as an exercise for the reader. Albus, Scorpius, Cedric, and even Delphi are all likely candidates, for various reasons, although one in particular does stand out.
As a play, it makes for an imaginative read, but it may have done better if Rowling had put the work into doing a novella.  Rating: **1/2 out of 5.

October Events:
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times Mountain Daylight Time.

Sep 30-Oct 2: Calgary New Earth Expo at Big Four Building. http://thenewearthexpo.com
Oct 1, 7:30 pm:  COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca
Oct 8, 9:30 am:  New Age Market at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Oct 10:  Canadian Thanksgiving.
Oct 14-16:  Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival at BMO Centre. http://www.calgarytattoos.com
Oct 15-16:  HempFest Expo at Big Four Building. http://www.hempfestcanada.com
Oct 15, 11:00 am:  Calgary Kinky Flea Market at Forest Heights Community Association.
Oct 15, 12:00 noon:  Calgary Zombie Walk at Olympic Plaza.
Oct 15, 10:25 pm:  Full (Hunters’) Moon.
Oct 19, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches' Meetup.  Info on Facebook.
Oct 22, 7:00 pm:  Halloween Crystal Ball Party, hosted by Shadowdivination.
Oct 22, 7:30 pm sharp:  COGCOA Samhain Community Ritual.
Oct 25, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night at Dickens Pub, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Oct 28-30:  Calgary Gem and Mineral Show at Chinese Cultural Centre. http://calgarygemshow.com
Oct 29-30:  Hallow’s Eve in The Village (Godric’s Hollow) in East Village.
Oct 29, 10:00 am:  New Age Market “Booganza” at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Oct 29, 7:00 pm: Heathen Meet and Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Oct 30, 11:39 am:  New Moon. Gort/Ivy lunar month begins.
Oct 30, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Halloween Party at Rose & Crown, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Oct 31:  Samhain.  Happy New Year!

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Remembering Margarian



By now, I’m sure many of you have seen Dodie Graham McKay’s lovely tribute to Margarian in “The Wild Hunt” blog.  Since there’s been little else for me to write about this month, here’s a slightly edited version of my pagan biography of Mar that became part of that article:
Margarian Bridger, writer, adult educator, and Wiccan priestess, died suddenly from heart failure on August 6, 2016.
Margarian was born in 1957 in Regina, Saskatchewan; grew up in Toronto, Ontario; and lived in Calgary, Alberta since 1980. She graduated from University of Toronto, Victoria College, in 1979 with a B.Sc. in Geology.
Active in science fiction fandom in Toronto and Calgary, she was influenced by the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Katherine Kurtz, among others.  Margarian began studying witchcraft in 1991 as an early member of the Calgary-based Covenant of Gaia Church of Alberta (COGCOA), and was initiated in 1992 into the Black Ring lineage of Branwen Stonecipher.  She received her Black Ring Third Degree in May, 1998, founding Evergreen Tradition together with her husband, Stephen Hergest.  Their article, “Pagan Deism: Three Views”, appeared in The Pomegranate, Issue 1, February, 1997, and contributed to the discussion of the concept of Deity in Wicca.
In January, 1992, Margarian founded and edited HexAPA, an amateur press association modelled on the APAs of science fiction fandom, which ran for 28 issues to Spring, 1997. She led rituals and taught workshops in ritual leadership in Calgary, Red Deer, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa.  She served on the board of COGCOA during the 1990s and early 2000s, and also on the Calgary Inter-Faith Community Action Association board in the early 2000s. She was briefly a Solitary Elder in the Covenant of the Goddess.  Since 2002, she was focused on developing Evergreen Tradition as a balance of Traditional and progressive witchcraft.
Margarian fell ill in 2008, and was diagnosed in 2011 with kidney failure. She was hospitalized in August, 2012, moving into a nursing home in 2013.
M. Macha NightMare called her “a shining light in the Calgary Craft community”.  Deeply mourned by her Craft family, a semi-public pagan Requiem will be held for Margarian Bridger on Friday, September 16 at 7:30 pm.

September Events:
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times Mountain Daylight Time.

Aug 26 – Sep 5: Calgary Pride Week 2016. Info: http://calgarypride.ca
Aug 27, 1:00 pm: Calgary Heathen Meet & Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Aug 27, 4:00 pm: Psychics, Henna and Fashion Show Fundraiser. Info: Gaia Gathering on Facebook.
Aug 30, 7:04 am: Mercury Retrograde to Sep. 22.
Sep 1, 3:04 am:  New Moon. Coll/Hazel lunar month begins.
Sep 3, 9:00 am:  Calgary Highland Games at Springbank Park for All Seasons. http://calgaryhighlandgames.org
Sep 3, 7:30 pm:  COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca
Sep 4, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night at Rose and Crown, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Sep 4, 11:30 pm:  Rocky Horror Picture Show at Globe Cinema.
Sep 5:  Labour Day.
Sep 10, 10:00 am:  New Age Market at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Sep 14, 7:15 pm:  Calgary Witches' Meetup. Info on Facebook.
Sep 16, 1:07 pm: Full (Harvest) Moon.
Sep 16, 7:30 pm: Pagan Requiem for Margarian Bridger.
Sep 17, 7:30 pm sharp: COGCOA Mabon Community Ritual.
Sep 18, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night at Cat ‘n’ Fiddle Pub, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Sep 21, 11:31 pm:  Mercury Retrograde ends.
Sep 22, 8:21 am: Autumnal Equinox. Fall begins.
Sep 24, 10:00 am: Calgary Pagan Pride Day at Banff Trail Community Hall. http://calgarypaganpride.ca
Sep 24, 1:00 pm: Heathen Meet and Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Sep 24, 7:00 pm:  “Witches’ Night Out YYC” Costumed Fundraiser for Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. https://witchesnightoutyyc.wordpress.com/
Sep 30, 6:13 pm: New Moon. Muin/Vine lunar month begins.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokémon GO and Magickal Thinking



Given its release in Canada this month, like so many of my readers, I’ve been caught up in the Pokémon GO craze, even though the original game was after my time.  One of my acquaintances on Facebook recently joked about “when your coven goes to meet in a park and wind up playing Pokémon GO...” , and  I quickly realized that there’s a profound truth hidden in that.  I think the game encourages magickal thinking, and so makes a nice fit (or distraction?) for anyone on the Pagan path.

A word on maps.  Think about GPS (Global Positioning System) applications such as Google Earth, and the maps we carry in our own heads. These are comprised of layers consisting of  topography, borders, lakes and rivers, roads, buildings, parks, etc., etc. Add to these the layers that are more personal to each of us, but of which others may not be aware. Depression-era hobos used tagging to indicate which houses gave good handouts, and which would run you off with a shotgun. Criminal gangs have their territories, as do panhandlers, buskers, and bottle-pickers. And I’m sure each of us has their own mental map of destinations and the routes to them. Skirmishes, wars and global conflicts begin when the boundaries on these mental maps don’t agree. 

As Pagans, every time we create sacred space, we add another layer to that map, and by doing so, alter our consciousness. The steps of a Wiccan circle-casting - banishing, purifying, and cutting the circle, inviting in the Elemental powers, and the Goddess and God – are done with our minds, so that we “enter” that map, and “leave” it when our work is done and the circle opened. The more experienced of us can do it without all those steps, but the mind-work is similar.

Niantic, the makers of Pokémon GO, used map-layering based on an earlier product in the creation of the game. As you probably know by now,  Pokéstops and Gyms in the game are real-world locations – parks, churches, sculptures, signs, and other points of interest -- but with the additional augmentation of  being landmarks in, okay, call it PokéWorld or PokéLife.  In Pagan terms, every time we play the game, we access a spirit world, a parallel of the land of Faerie with its own landmarks, populated by strange elemental creatures. But without the ritual of creating a circle, the simple opening and closing of an app on a cell phone can suddenly throw us into and out of a parallel and magickal world, and if we’re not properly grounded, that can cause real-world problems.

The first thing I discovered playing the game is how easy it is to trance out if you’re focused on the PokéWorld in the screen rather than your own surroundings.  Hence the warning displayed every time the app loads to be alert and stay aware.  As has been well-reported, people have been injured or worse walking into traffic following the trail of an elusive Pokémon; even if you’re driving to locate a Pokéstop to load up on Pokéballs, it helps to have a navigator in case you forget to shoulder-check, or to access a Pokéstop on the corner of a busy intersection (assuming the GPS has caught up with you).

The three teams – Instinct, Mystic, and Valor -- seem to be elementally based, which may be a factor for those reaching Level 5 and trying to choose a team, although the relationship is a bit fuzzy. Valor (Red) suggests Fire to me, perhaps similar to Gryffindor in Harry Potter. The description of  Mystic (Blue) as careful and analytical suggests Air or perhaps Earth to me, even though the colour is indicative of  Water; I think of Hufflepuff in the Potterverse.  To me, Instinct (Yellow) suggests Water, or perhaps aspects of Fire, and reminds me of Ravenclaw, but its alignment is “Electric”. Interpretations may vary; this will undoubtedly be a good topic for discussion.

Pokémon GO is certainly the phenomenon of the summer (we’ll see how it fares in a Calgary winter), and I can see it as a launching point for long-term technological GPS applications.  But it’s also a psychological phenomenon, and for those of us in Pagan communities, a magickal one.


August Events:
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times Mountain Daylight Time.

Jul 29 – Aug 6:  Calgary Fringe Festival. Info: http://calgaryfringe.ca
Jul 30, 11:00 am: Inglewood Sunfest. Info: http://inglewoodsunfest.ca
Jul 30, 7:30 pm sharp: COGCOA Lammas Community Ritual. http://www.cogcoa.ab.ca
Jul 30-31:  Didsbury Days of Yore.  Info: http://mountainviewartssociety.ca
Jul 31, 7:00 pm:  Paranormal Pub Night Kensington, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Aug 1:  Heritage Day (Alberta).  Traditional Lughnasadh, or Lammas.
Aug 2, 2:46 pm:  New Moon. Tinne/Holly lunar month begins.
Aug 6-7:  Brooks Medieval Faire. Info: http://brooksfaire.com
Aug 6, 7:30 pm:  COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. See Jul. 30.
Aug 12:  Perseid Meteor Shower peaks before dawn.
Aug 13, 10:00 am:  New Age Market at Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
Aug 17, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches' Meetup. Info on Facebook.
Aug 18, 3:29 am: Full (Sturgeon, Bear, or Corn) Moon.
Aug 18, 7:30 pm:  Calgary Witches’ Full Moon Circle, in SE Calgary.
Aug 26 – Sep 5: Calgary Pride Week 2016. Info: http://calgarypride.ca
Aug 27, 1:00 pm: Calgary Heathen Meet & Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
Aug 27, 4:00 pm: Psychics, Henna and Fashion Show Fundraiser. Info: Gaia Gathering on Facebook.
Aug 30, 7:04 am: Mercury Retrograde to Sep. 22.


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