A Forest of Bees and Ravens



Sorry for the silence.

Some fun stuff, though.

Your Review is a Forest

My favorite living poet reviewed my book!

Mind if I say that again?  My favorite living poet reviewed my book! (She actually beats out W.S. Merwin, by the way).

And she had nice things to say about it!  But mostly, damn.

My favorite living poet reviewed my book!

Your Face is a Discount

Sorry.  It’s 2am and I’m working a graveyard shift in a residential facility for formerly homeless folks and an alarm went off and someone threw a cup of water at me and I’m on hour 17 or so of overtime, so I’m a bit punchy.

But yeah.  The book.  I forgot to undo the discount on Lulu, and actually the book’s sold awfully well since then, so I’m leaving it indefinitely.

When it goes on sale elsewhere it will be the list price, but it will always be cheaper for ye’ on Lulu.

Apologies, by the way, for those who’ve been awaiting an eBook version.  I…hmm.  I suck at technology and cannot figure out how to preserve formatting in .epub.  A friend’s gonna help me, and I’ll update ye’ when that’s all figured out.


The Melissa, Rising

So, remember that thing I did in Newgrange?  That one thing, you know.  Involved a piece of cloth and the light of rebirth and stuff and then giving something to some guy outside?

So…this article’s kinda funny.  Apparently graffiti bees have been showing up everywhere in one of the neighborhoods in Dublin.

Not guilty, I swear.

Kindness to Ravens

That reminds me, though.

Know how I said I asked some giants for help with something and they said yes? I also asked some corvids for help and they sort of said yes.

But I could use some help, because I want to do something for them.

There’s…this day coming up.  It’s my birth-day, which is pretty cool.  I’ll be at Pantheacon giving a talk with Alley Valkyrie on Radicalism and Paganism that day in California, far away from the corvids I know personally.

Also, that day?  It’s the day of a beheaded saint.

Headless saints are an interesting lot.  There’s St. Denis, for instance, supposedly beheaded by Druids on a mount in Paris.  Denis is a derivative of Dionysos, and that mount is Montmartre (the mount of the martyrs).  The Christians tell of how Denis and his buddy Eletherius (that is, “liberator,” of the titles of Dionysos) were beheaded, and Denis walked down the hill hold his head and prophesying for six miles until he finally fell down.  And then grapevines came out of his neck.

There are other headless saints, too.  Like Valentine.

And there’s, well–this god I worship who likes Ravens and Crows and Jackdaws and all that.  And he cut off his head when he was dying so he could give oracles and then protect people afterwards.


I was kinda thinking that it’d be brutally awesome if lots of people were to feed their local corvids on Valentine’s Day.

‘Intention,’ I’ve noted, is a little overrated in Paganism.  It gives us the illusion that our wills are somehow supreme and other things must obey us, including, say, crows and ravens.  Or gods.  Or children.  None of that really works as much as we like to think.

So–if you were thinking it might be cool to help some tea-swilling punk druid writer guy by feeding crows on Valentine’s Day, you don’t gotta go do it with ‘intention’ or spells or rituals or anything.  Mostly, just throw some unsalted peanuts within sight of some black-winged friends.  You can say ‘hello’ to them if you like.  They like that, I think.

You might not have noticed any corvids in your neighborhood.  They’re probably around (they’re around most places).  If you’re game, it’s a good idea to start looking around your neighborhood to find ’em.  If you don’t normally do that sort of thing, you might be kinda awed to see how many birds there are around you, even in the winter.

And then buy a bag of unsalted peanuts.  They gotta be unsalted.  Also, awesome if they’re still in the shell (it makes it easier for them to hoard them safely in danger rather than eating ’em all at once).  Why peanuts?  Well, they like them.  Also, it’s a legume native to the Americas.  And legumes are associated with the dead in all sorts of places.

If you’re not in the Americas, I’m not sure what to recommend, but there’s probably a suitable native-ish bean in your area they’d like?

So, yeah.  You in?

We got’s a month.


26 thoughts on “A Forest of Bees and Ravens

  1. My dear, have we ever got corvids around here! One of my favorite people left San Francisco lately, after too much heartbreak and betrayal (on several levels), and corvid was part of her screen name. I was to give her ravens only in pairs, thank you!

    I love celebrating birthdays! Mine’s between now & PCon.

    Thanks for explaining why the peanuts. I’ll get some and pass them around. I can get you a bag, if you like, so that you don’t have to fly/drive with them.

  2. I don’t recognize the reference a god who likes corvids and cut off his head. Maybe I’ve missed a post or two– employment gets in the way of my web surfing. (Of course I’m not complaining.)

    Lots of huge black birds here. (Ravens, I think.) I’ll throw ’em a couple of peanuts on your behalf.

    1. Brân the Blessed. 🙂
      His name means Raven. He was a giant-god. In the Mabinogion, he’s a king who, after attacking the Irish (for great cause) and being mortally wounded, asks for his head to be cut off. He then talks to his companions for several decades on an island and then his head is buried to protect the islands from invasion.

  3. I’m on for peanuts. One of the things I love about living in a Northern city is the plentitude of crows. My birthday is the day after yours, so I can peanut for both……

  4. I suspect my local corvids (crows, lots of crows, and scrub jays, lots of them too; I see the jays bouncing around in my yard more than crows) may duke it out with the local squirrels over peanuts, but it’s a lovely idea! The jays and squirrels both spend time burying things in the garden beds, and digging around in them. Bad for my seedlings, but fun to watch from inside the house.

  5. HI Rhyd, this is my first time posting. I follow your blog (and your column on Wild Hunt) and love your writing. The call of the crows (about the only birdsong I can easily identify) weaves through the day for me, in London. I need to hear them: not sure why, but it seems to matter. There’s a small park close to where I live where a lot of them hang out. I’ll take myself to my favourite bench and feed them unsalted peanuts on 14th.

    PS. I emailed you via the contact form about a month ago as I’m not one for posting as a rule. If you didn’t get it, it said – in a nutshell, minus the gushing one gets to do in an email! – what an impact your piece ‘Against the Impossible’ on 2nd November had on me, as well as your Wild Hunt column, ‘The Violent and the Dead’, from the day before. Please keep writing! Your words are important.

  6. Hi Rhyd,

    first time posting. I love your blog (and also your column at The Wild Hunt). The call of the crows (one of the few bird calls I can identify) weaves through my day where I live in London and I need it to: not sure why I need it to, but it matters. There’s a small park near where I live where I see a lot of crows hanging out. I’ll sit on my favourite bench in that little park on 14th and feed them unsalted peanuts.

    PS. I emailed – via your contact form – about a month ago, as I’m not one for posting as a rule. If you didn’t get it, I I said – in a nutshell, and without the gushing one can comfortably engage in via the privacy of an email! – how much I love your writing and what a strong impact your ‘Against the Impossible’ posting on 2nd November had on me, as well as your column The Violent and the Dead’ the day before on The Wild Hunt. Keep writing please! Your words are important.

    All the best to you.

  7. Aargh..apologies for double-posting. I posted directly via your website (see comment from me above, Josie, which is my actual name), but when I did so, wordpress made me sign in and it looked like my comment was lost….Anyway, ended up re-posting from within my wordpress account, hence the second comment from ‘hollycane19’ (my wordpress username). Feel free to delete the second comment (the hollycane19 one) as it’s identical. And this one too, for that matter!



  8. Hi Rhyd,
    I would love to feed some corvids on your birthday! That was also my grandma’s birthday, so that’s pretty cool. There are plenty of crows in my neighborhood and I’m guess they’ll be happy for something to snack on since there’s not much growing here until April or so. Your writing means a lot to me so I’m happy to help out.

  9. One of my questions for you in the near future was going to be: what days should certain Welsh deities have rituals in their honor, and Bendigeidfran was one of the biggees (so to speak–!?!), and now it seems we have a very good answer. The usual feast-day of St. Denis is Oct. 9th, so perhaps that would be a good day to honor him on a yearly basis? Hmm…

    Also, I hope to review your book soon as well…I’ve read it, and I loved it, but I just don’t quite have the useful words worked out yet to praise it. I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.

    1. Also, “Your Face Is A Discount” reminds me of something that happened in London, actually, not long after I went to the Tower of London, that involved purchasing a bondage harness and getting a discount for cuteness…that’s never going to happen to me again, but anyway. 😉

      (When I did a link to your book on my blog a few weeks ago, I think I said, “If Your Face Is A Forest, does that mean my arse is a mountain? I apologize…I can’t help it!)

    2. “One of the biggees…” Teehee. 🙂
      St. Denis was the day I ended my first pilgrimage (and, ha!, started it on St. Eleutherius!).
      Some Druids have Fearn/Alder being the path between Imbolc and Beltaine; Valentine’s got no connection to Wales, of course (nor Denis), but one during that period ‘sounds’ right-ish.

      1. You know–just a thought, but that connection of the post-Imbolc period to Alder may be all the more reason for you to become one of the “dogs of Gwern” by being a Lupercus for us on Sunday at PantheaCon (and also bewaring of pierced thighs in the process, which I’m sure we can prevent without the use of special equipment)…but, I’m just sayin’. 😉

  10. No ravens around here, but lots of crows and magpies. The magpies often come to the birdtable for nuts etc. (they’ll even eat cat food if the cats’ bowls are put outside) but the crows don’t come as near. We also get alot of gulls who are fond of chips from the local chippy!

  11. crows tend to live in the giant tree right outside my bedroom window. (Some of them, in spring, are kind enough to wake me up if I’ve slept in too late. They also taunt my cats – Remy has smacked face first into the glass trying to catch their shadows.). I’ll have to leave some peanuts on the ledge and roof for them. ^_^

  12. So I read in the Sydney Morning Herald that approximately 200 dead crows had been found near Broken Hill, NSW and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.

    They had a Bird Pathologist examine the remains of all the crows and he confirmed, to everyone’s relief, the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu! However, he determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, and only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.

    The Broken Hill City Council then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine the disproportionate percentages for truck versus car kill. The Ornithological Behaviourist determined the cause very quickly.

    When crows eat road kill, they always set up a look-out Crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger.

    His conclusion was that all the lookout crows could say “cah” but none could say “truck”!

    Blackfella’ law say that when hunting koala for tucker, the animal is not to be skinned and the head must be buried. Amazing to contemplate that all over Australia koala skulls have been planted for…oh….40,000 years.

    I’ll see your Bran and raise you a coogee bear!

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