Samhain 2019

Halloween is the only time of year witches are in vogue.  Suddenly everyone is interested in black magic, spell craft, hexing their neighbor, and a host of other things that bear little resemblance to actual Paganism.  Despite the annual autumnal uptick in interest in all things occult, Halloween isn’t a Pagan holiday.  That doesn’t mean we Pagans won’t dress up in costumes and join our Christian brethren in unholy revelry, general debauchery, and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but we do have our own holiday to celebrate, Samhain.

Samhain translates as sam, “summer,” and fuin “end.”   With fluttering leaves in shades of copper, amber, and crimson, there can be no doubt that summer is truly at an end.  To Celtic peoples the Feast of Samhain is a fire festival that marks the first day of winter and the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Continue reading


Autumnal Equinox 2019

The timing of the Harvest Festival is a tricky one for Pagans, as harvest occurs at different times in different regions.  There is no specific date across Celtic culture that corresponds to a harvest festival, despite the fact that such festivals very much did exist.  Herodotus first mentioned the Celts in 5 BCE and noted that they principally lived along the upper Danube River.  At the time, their principal festivals, Imbolg, Beltane, Lughnasad, and Samhain, marked the changing of the seasons.

The connection between harvest and the autumnal equinox traces its origins back, not to Celtic, but to Germanic traditions.  Roman historian, Tacitus, first described Germanic people in 98 CE, placing them in upper Germany and Denmark, in an area which bears the name Angeln.  Like the Celts, the Anglo-Saxon Pagan year also contained four holy days to mark the changing of the seasons: Yule, Lencten Efniht (lengthening equal-night), Litha, and Haerfest Efniht (harvest equal-night).  Eostre was not recorded in the place of the Lengthening equal-night until the 8th century. Continue reading


Monsters Published!

After many delays, sabotage attempts, efforts to censor the book, and having endured intimidation tactics by school administration officials, the SFCC Pullman Campus Creative Writing Club is pleased to announce that this year’s anthology, Monsters, has finally been published.

In an email dated March 7, 2019, I learned that Dean of Student Services, Cynthia Vigil had gone so far as to contact the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington, who is reported to have told her she could not censor the anthology.  Attempts to do so violate the students First Amendment rights.  However, that did not prevent Ms. Vigil from pressuring students and faculty alike, nor is this is the first time faculty and staff have attempted to censor student work.  (See: “Concern, condemnation after Spokane Falls student newspaper reports on sex scandal.” Seattle Times.  April 5, 2018.)  Ironically, both censor attempts were for the same reason, the administration does not like being reminded that sexual predators are monsters. Continue reading


Book Cover 101

We’ve all heard the admonishment, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Whoever said that clearly wasn’t trying to sell books in the 21st century.  Regardless of whether it’s consumers, bookstore buyers, or the folks making nominations for the Worst of Amazon, everyone is judging books by their covers. Why? The simple truth is, a great book with a horrible cover won’t sell, but a horrible book with a great cover will.

Authors and self-publishers need to put as much thought into their book’s cover as they do the content between the covers.  The smartest thing to do is hire a professional cover designer.  This is because every book requires multiple cover files, how many depends on how the book is distributed.  The best recommendations for cover artist come word-of-mouth.  If you attend an author event and see someone with a cover that catches your attention, ask for the name of their artist.  Most authors are happy to share that information. Continue reading


The Trouble with FTEs

FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which in academia represents an imaginary student enrolled in 15 credits.  The problem with claiming that funding should be distributed according to FTE and not based on what students actually pay in tuition and fees is that not all FTEs are created equal.  Imagine a situation where a community college has both a main campus and a branch campus.  For the sake of this exercise, assume that both campuses have 4 FTEs, meaning that students are enrolled in a total of 60 credits at each institution.

According the funding equation set forth by CCS Administrative Procedure 5.05.01-H and the Student Services and Activities Committee, students pay $11.28 per credit for the first 10 credits they enroll in, then $6.56 per credit for the next 8 credits, and pay nothing for any credits taken beyond that.  The breakdown for our imaginary 4 FTEs is below:

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Toxic Workplace

Sometimes you just encounter a really bad boss.  The kind of boss that has no respect for your time or for you as an individual.  After two years of giving my supervisor the benefit of the doubt, I have come to the conclusion that I have a bad boss and have been existing in a toxic work environment.

Today, my supervisor started our meeting with the phrase, “I’m not going to apologize,” and ended the meeting by telling me, “You should be grateful.”  There was a lot of not listening, platitudes, talking over my concerns, or brushing them aside in the middle. Continue reading


Palouse Writers Guild, 2019

The Palouse Writers Guild is an independent collective comprised of several local writing groups who banded together in order to bring professional development opportunities to the Palouse. Since first being formed in 2016, the Palouse Writers Guild (PWG) has grown from 15 members to serving over 200 area writers today. As a result of this overwhelming response, we are launching our own PWG webpage.

www.PalouseWritersGuild.org

The Palouse Writers Guild’s goal is to facilitate literary education by supporting writers’ groups, author readings, workshops, writing contests, and conference attendance.  Membership is open to writers of all genres and media, regardless of publication status. Anyone interested in free writing, critique, participating in writing exercises, attending literary events, or just socializing with groups of like-minded people is welcome to join.

Benefits of Membership Include

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Imbolg, 2019

This year, Imbolg falls on February 2nd, as that is the mid-point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  This is the time of the Rowan Moon, when we long for winter to be over and begin seeing the first signs of spring.  Nowhere is this more evident than the lambing barns, where in the depths of winter the ewes bring new life to the world.  The word Imbolg roughly translates as, ‘the time of lactating ewes.’

This year I complied some information on Imbolg for my Study Moot.  Some of that information is presented below.

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Laughter and Libations, 2018

There is nothing like bawdy, irreverent, and satirical drinking songs to put you in the holiday spirit.  This year’s edition of Laughter and Libations includes more songs and new recipes for favorite winter drinks.  Those interested in trying their hand at culinary delights will also find two alcohol infused recipes for “Figgy Pudding” which are sure to be crowd pleasers.

In addition to the new recipes, revilers will find three categories of songs: Continue reading