“First of May” (Song of the Week, Beltane 2011) [NSFW]

To my pagan friends, and anyone else of good will, I wish you all a happy Beltane.

I had hoped to celebrate properly this year, as in the Jonathan Coulton song below, but ’twas unfortunately not to be. I hope your day is more enjoyable.

“Wild Soul – Nature, Civilization, and the Ecological Spirit” (Now Available, Just 99¢)

 

JUST 99¢!!!

My essay “WILD SOUL – Nature, Civilization, and the Ecological Spiritis now available from Amazon as a Kindle download for 99 cents.

In the near future, it will be going up at other online venues, in other ebook formats. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read Kindle books with free programs downloadable from Amazon, like Kindle for PC. I read Kindle books on my iPhone and desktop computer.)

Traditional tales across the world describe mankind’s joyful rise in a wild paradise like the Garden of Eden. But they also tell of our fall from such lives of bliss and natural grace.

Our technology, our cities, our toys, our wealth, all have done nothing to ground us as individuals or as societies. If they had, we would live in a near Utopia, rather than the reelingly chaotic and violent world-on-the-brink around us, for surely our affluence and level of comfort is greater than it has been for any people in the history of the earth.

Is Eden forever lost, or is there a way back?

Can we access that marvelous, mythic place in our souls, find a path to its joyful, natural wonders? Or have we slumbered so long in civilized ways that our vital selves are banished for the rest of time?

Can we reclaim the power of the primitive without denying ourselves the comforts and wonders of the modern world?

Exploring sources ranging from the Old Testament and Eastern mysticism, from poetry to popular fiction, from ancient fable to contemporary deep psychology, novelist Tim Byrd finds the prescription for our ills.

We need to live and love more fully, and do things that matter.

We need a renewal of a sense of sacredness towards the natural world, and intimacy with that world.

We need wild soul.

Of Forests and Men

There is some spectacular and gorgeous footage of forests in this video. Which is apropos, as it’s about forests.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand was appointed by the United Nations to produce the official film for the International Year of Forests.

Following the success of Home which was seen by 400 million people, the photographer began producing a short 7-minute film on forests made up of aerial images from Home and the Vu du Ciel television programmes.

This film will be shown during a plenary session of the Ninth Session of United Nations Forum on Forests (24 January – 4 February 2011) in New York. It will be available to all from February 2 – for free – so that it can be shown worldwide.

goodplanet.org/​forets

What’s Eating Your Head?

I only just became aware of the new fashion accessory called a SpiritHood, and while it appeals to me on a certain paganistic, carnal level (and I am generally quite paganistic and carnal myself), I have to say I have yet to see a picture of a guy wearing one in which said guy doesn’t look like a tool.

Women, on the other hand, can be pretty damn sexy in these things.

This picture sorta makes me want to start sleeping with a teddy bear again…

Want To Enjoy A Sacred, Raunchy Holiday Season?

‘Tis the season to remind folks of a holiday staple around the Byrdcave, the Santa books of Robert Devereaux. These incredible works of fantasy are both moving and filthy, sacred and profane, and guaranteed to awaken parts of your brain you might not even be aware of.

The first, Santa Steps Out, has been out of print lo these many years, but Devereaux recently regained the rights and has made it available as a Kindle download at Amazon. The second, Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes, is available in paperback and Kindle format.

I reviewed both here, and you can read the entries at:

Santa Steps Out

Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes

An evil elf also recently told me there’s a third Santa book on the way, and a likely hardcopy set of all three by next Christmas.

With Thanksgiving Done…

It is now acceptable to start talking about Christmas.

It is also acceptable to talk about “the holidays,” Hanukkah, the Solstice, Kwanzaa, Yule, Ashura, the New Year, December, or Thursday.

Don’t take it personally.

Good Memories of 2009, Day 7: Avatar and Avatar

Avatar & Avatar

This was a year in which I got to enjoy two creations called “Avatar,” and how often does that happen? Perhaps it’s a sign.

The first was the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender

The second, of course, was James Cameron’s science fiction epic Avatar, in theaters now earning a billion plus dollars.



Let’s talk the Cameron film first, saving the best for last. Continue reading

Santa Claus Conquers The Homophobes

Not long ago, I shared my review (and recommendation) of a great and blessed bit of splatterpunk profanity called Santa Steps Out, by a writer named Robert Devereaux. I got my hands on the Leisure paperback of that book back in 2000, and loved it so much I gave it as a Christmas gift to all my closest friends.

As last Christmas neared, I decided to point other folks toward the book by putting my old Amazon review on the blog. While visiting the book’s page on Amazon, I made two discoveries, one bad, one good.

The bad was that the book is no longer in print. [UPDATE: As of Dec 2020, the book is available from Amazon as a Kindle download] At the time, I think there were some reasonably priced used copies listed, but I just checked and saw that the only available copies on Amazon are all priced to screw the buyer enrich the seller. Searching Alibris, I found pretty much the same, but doing a search on Google Shopping, I managed to find some reasonably priced copies for under $15, including a “worn” copy at Powells for $2.50. So if you want to read this book, with a bit of detective work you can find a copy without buying a pool table for some schmo. Hopefully Devereaux will find a new publisher for it, or at the very least take advantage of the many print-on-demand possibilities available to make the book more easily available.

The good discovery was that Devereaux has published a sequel, Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes. I immediately ordered it, just finished reading it, and can recommend it almost as highly as the first book.

In this tale, Santa and his holy brood become disgusted at the hatred and violence being perpetrated, in the name of the sacred, upon those born with homosexual proclivities, and they decide to take action. To go into any real detail would rob you of the book’s many, many pleasures, but rest assured it’s a rousing story, masterfully told, full of wit and wisdom, and consistently moving.

This book isn’t nearly as profane and transgressive as the first (and may therefore be an easier read for those with tender sensibilities), but it is full of notions that challenge the status quo in forthright and rich ways. Poppy Z. Brite said about the first book “The only two rules in Santa Steps Out are that everything is sacred and nothing is sacred,” and that is absolutely true about both books. They boldly rip apart the things civilized folk consider proper and sacred, but at the same time wholeheartedly embrace that which is truly sacred, both in the religious sense and the humanistic.

Devereaux is a wonderful writer, and constantly amazes with his inventiveness. His treatment of what you might call the mechanics of wonder, the way magic actually works in his literary world, is earthy in its matter-of-factness and lovely in its effects. His characters are full-bodied and layered, his depiction of the sacred both accessible and transcendent, and his allowance for redemption for any and all entities, no matter how saddled by personal weakness they may be, is more truly spiritual than any boxset of Touched By An Angel could ever be.

Santa Steps Out and Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes are masterworks of fantasy and sacred fictions. Devereaux has crafted a literary universe unlike anything else on the shelves, and it’s a universe I’ll revisit any chance I get.

santa

Santa Claus Is Coming…

santa1
There’s a very special Christmas story I would like to share with you, but it’s a story some of you should probably stay very far away from. It’s called Santa Steps Out, and was written by a gifted fellow named Robert Devereaux. Here’s the Amazon.com review:

In the opening lines of Santa Steps Out: A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups, we learn that God the Father had to “cut His vacation short” and is in a “towering rage” about it. It appears that while the archangel Michael was running things, the world got pretty screwed up. “Michael…you know that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are never to cross paths. It’s one of our Father’s most solemn injunctions.” Ah, that Tooth Fairy. She’s also got her hooks into the Easter Bunny.

Robert Devereaux is a master of vivid scene setting, especially gory scenes and sex scenes. There is a lot of sex in this book–mostly happy, lubricious sex that is sometimes downright amazing. Prepare for a strange and stimulating ride when you hop in the sleigh with Santa and witness all his adventures. Prepare to see childhood figures–figures known principally for delivering gifts in the night–in a whole new light. Devereaux is exuberantly polytheistic and well-grounded in Greek mythology, so along with the horror and humping, you’ll be entertained by some notions about where all these immortals may have come from in the first place.

I’ll leave it up to you whether you can take, and even enjoy, what this story has to offer. Me? Well, this is my own short review of the book from way back in 2000, when I gave it as a Christmas gift to a bunch of people:

I Want To See This In Claymation

This book IS over the top, and will easily offend those who offend easily. That’s fine. But the pleasures of this book don’t stop at its provocative nature. It’s also a genuinely creative, nigh brilliant, meditation on human sexual/romantic relationships, through a lens of cunning myth and trounced commercial archetypes. At the heart of the book, even at its most horrifying, is a nearly spiritual regard for the place of the carnal in our lives, and the spiritual enrichment that comes from the joys of the flesh…however you might find those joys.I highly recommend this. It’ll crack you up, it’ll keep your attention, and it might even stir your mind.

The book is unfortunately out of print, but easy enough to find used online. It deserves to become a holiday tradition. UPDATE: as of  Dec 2010, the book is available in Kindle format from Amazon at this link.