I’m a bit of an occult nerd, or would you say magical tradition fangirl? However, I’ve always been far more interested in the magic practitioner than their magical practices. I don’t know why that is, but that is just the simple truth. A perfect example of this would be, for most “The Golden Dawn” by Israel Regardie would be the first Regardie book to spring to mind. Perhaps the one that defines Regardie for them. For me, my favorite Regardie is “Crowley’s Apprentice: The Life and Ideas of Israel Regardie” by Gerald Suster. That’s not to put down, or belittle Regardie’s own writings in any way, I just found reading about the man himself far more intriguing than reading his work.
I had read both “Applied Magic” and “Psychic Self-Defense” by Dion Fortune and as per usual was getting ready to move on to the next thing. This was years ago, back when I first got my fangirl crush on Regardie, and still thought I would miraculously stumble across THE BOOK that would finally get me to settle down and study one spirituality or magical system. Anyway, Fortune was about to be shelved when I learned about a book called “The Magical Battle of Britain”.
It turned out that immediately following Germany’s invasion of Poland, which resulted in Britain’s declaration of war, Dion Fortune began a series of letters to members of her magical order, The Society of Inner Light, initiating a magical operation designed to stop the Third Reich. Those letters ended up being put together into a book…..”The Magical Battle of Britain”.
As someone more interested in practitioner than practice I was thrilled. To get to read letters outlining Dion Fortune’s magical call to arms? Her instructions on how to do battle? For reals yo? I was bouncing off the walls with excitement, which then turned to banging my head against the wall in frustration to learn that the book was out of print.
Of course I’m a lucky lady with a wonderful husband and so I was surprised with a very good condition used copy of “The Magical Battle of Britain” as a gift at some gift giving occasion not too long after learning of the book’s existence. It has been a cherished possession ever since. It offers a unique perspective on the war, magical practices, and most important to me, different glimpse at Dion Fortune.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I am THRILLED to say that thanks to Skylight Press “The Magical Battle of Britain” is back in print! This book has really meant a lot to me and when I learned they were re-issuing it I knew I had to let you guys know about it. There’s just truly no other book like it, featuring Fortune or any other notable magical practitioner. If you’re interested in magical practices, I feel this book is a must own. It’s too cool not to have on the book shelf.
As most of you are aware, I am all about “Tastes from the Temple: Kitchen Witchery from the Temple of Witchcraft” by Dawn Hunt and the Temple of Witchcraft Community. I interviewed Dawn HuntandI hauled my lazy butt to New Hampshire to buy multiple copies of the book and make sure to get a signed copy for me and Jim. That left only one thing to do, finally try a recipe from the book!
It was tough to decide what to try. Due to some health issues on my end a lot of recipes were eliminated from the start. However, over the holidays I had become intrigued with the idea of cookies with dried cranberries in them. A friend of mine had been emailing me assorted recipes he’d tried or found on the internet, so it’s safe to say I’ve had cranberry cookies on the brain. Also Jim and I are always looking for unusual cookie recipes, ones that call for unexpected ingredients, and Jim always likes what looks like a challenge, so when I asked, “Do you want to make cookies that use tofu?” he was in.
So we tried Cranberry Solstice Cookies which was a recipe submitted by David Salisbury. The recipe happens to be vegan, but what interested Jim and myself more was the use of silken tofu, which is a type of tofu neither of us had used before, olive oil as the fat, brown sugar and no regular sugar, and of course for me dried cranberries. These cookies take a heavy hit of almond oil, and in our case due to a slip of the bottle, a very heavy hit, but to my surprise they bake up with just the right amount of flavor. They’re not overly sweet, but they still make an excellent dessert. Everyone that has tried them has enjoyed them greatly, and I suspect these guys may end up in our holiday cookie tins this year. (As an aside, Jim used the leftover silken tofu to make chocolate mousse which turned out awesome!)
What’s super exciting for all of you is that Copper Cauldron Publishing has given me permission to not only share the recipe with you, but all the associated content! This is going to give you a real peek at what makes “Tastes From the Temple” different from other cookbooks!
Cranberry Solstice Cookies Submitted by David Salisbury, Washington, DC
Cranberries are to Fall as watermelon is to Summer. Once the air cools and the smell of autumn leaves is in the air cranberries make their triumphant return. Here in New England we have cranberries by the barrel full; cranberry scones, cakes, sauces, chicken, stuffing. The list goes on and on. David shares with us his vegan recipe for tart and sweet cranberry cookies.
“This recipe is one of the very first I’ve ever tried making myself. Since I was young, my grandmother used to let me go to town with mixing up random baking ingredients and cooking them in the oven just for fun. Usually they came out mush but sometimes we’d get something edible out of it. This recipe started as a random conglomeration of festival ingredients that I like to have around the winter holiday months. Because of that, they remind me that wonderful things can be born of our fearless creativity and love.
“I am a Priest of the Firefly House, a nature-based church in Washington DC. I have been practicing the Craft for 11 years and have been vegan for nearly as long. I enjoy mixing up creative vegan baked recipes as well as animal-free herbal products.”
Preheat oven to 350. Combine tofu, oil, sugar, and seasonings into a mixing bowl.
Add in the rest of ingredients until it forms a dough-like mix.
Form into small balls and place onto greased pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
David shares his magickal uses for these cookies:
“Mostly listed in the content itself but in terms of specific correspondences, cranberries are related to the sun and mars. Cinnamon and ginger have both solar and earthen correspondences, which add a great seasonal flare to its meaning.
“These bitterly sweet cookies make a perfect snack for your Yule festivities. The cranberries align your energies to the growing strength of the sun and even look like tiny suns nestled in the cookies themselves. Cranberries are famous for being able to grow in areas that would otherwise be considered wasteland. When we eat food with cranberries, we’re bringing in a “survivor” energy that helps sustain us for the raging winter months to come.”
by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche (An Excerpt from “Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath”)
We have to recognize the nature of fear before we can experience fearlessness. We cannot simply run away from fear. We have to get close to it. We have to be intimate with it. Fear does not arise without cause. If we understand the nature of fear, we can move beyond it. We have to be patient and give everything some space.
Everyone has personal views. However, when you become attached to your view, you become very rigid, like plywood that will not bend. This disturbs your sense of equilibrium, and you lose your sense of humor. You no longer have control of your view; rather, your view has control of you. It would be analogous to a man loving his girlfriend so obsessively that she feels compelled to run away from him. He becomes far too close due to his loneliness, insecurity, and fear.
The Buddha taught us that the highest view is to be free from all views. This supreme view will not remain with those who are insecure or fearful. This view will not stay with those who are territorial. This view is confident and complete in its own place. There is nothing that is outside the perimeter of this view. Those who understand this all-encompassing view are always fearless. Due to the fact that this view is complete in its own place, it does not need any manipulation. This is the profound view.
This view is very naked and direct. Because it is so naked, like a live electric wire without insulation, you have to be cautious. You know what will happen if you touch it carelessly. If you are skillful and know how to handle the wire, you can harness its power and enjoy an abundance of light. In our tradition, it is taught that raw thoughts and emotions must be handled with awareness and skill. Otherwise, there is a real danger that we will hurt ourselves and others through careless and coarse indulgence.
Many of us are afraid to get close to this wire. We try to escape, rather than learning how to work with its power. There is an abundant supply of electricity, but not so many electricians. There may be many who are intrigued by this view, but only a fortunate few who learn how to benefit from it. If you are not interested in learning how to harness this power, do not be too hard on yourself. It’s okay. One can take a more gradual approach. There is a time and place for everything.
Everything we perceive, think, and feel emanates from this wide-open view. This is the fearless view. This view is absolutely unbiased. It is completely free from discrimination. We tend to think that we are better than others. We fabricate a hierarchy in our minds and place ourselves on the highest tier. This sort of bias does not exist at the beginning; it comes afterward. In timeless purity, there is no corruption and no judgment.
Light and warmth radiate from the sun. As the sun shines on the earth, it does so without discrimination, equally illuminating all. But if we lack the proper view, we might blame the sun for not being bright enough or warm enough. Perhaps the sun is too low in the sky or there are too many dark clouds. But the sun is always radiating, whether we can see its light or not. This is the absolute view. This eternally brilliant light exists within every individual. The wisdom that exists within you is the best teacher. This self-arising awareness is your ultimate friend and your dearest companion.
This wisdom is always pure, and this purity brings freedom. There is fearlessness in this basic purity. It is like a lotus flower. Although it is planted in the mud, the flower is always free of stain. It draws nourishment from the mud but is never tainted by the mud. When it blossoms, it is spotless and radiant. It is completely free from the mire that surrounds it. You do not have to reject what you have or start over. Just remain in the mud and grow. Draw on its moisture and nutrients for energy.
Within this purity, everything is accomplished and complete. We can develop unwavering confidence in this view. Wherever there is mind, there is the potential for actualizing this unblemished view. We can share our warmth and kindness with everyone — there is more than enough space in this primordial purity. This view is not narrow or limited in any way; it is vast and expansive. So we can explore, and we can look far beyond our limited views. Then we have the ultimate view, and there will be fearlessness in every moment of our lives.
About Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche: His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche is the spiritual guide of Shyalpa Monastery in Kathmandu, the founder of the Tibetan Refugee Childrenʼs Fund, and the heard of Ranging Yeshe, Inc., a nonprofit that organizes teachings and retreats throughout the United States. Buddhafield, in Millerton, NY, is the future site of the Center for Enlightenment and Rinpoche’s seat in the US. He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Wesleyan, and the Naropa Institute. He lives in Nepal and New York. www.shyalparinpoche.org
Excerpted from the book “Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath” Ó2012 by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche. Printed with permission from New World Library.
Very rarely I’ll receive an email from a music promoter about a solo artist or band. Rarer still, will said email catch my interest in any way. The last time this worked I was introduced to the wild and wonderful world of The Gypsy Nomads (now known as Frenchy and the Punk). However when I received an email about a band called The Brute Chorus that said their music is a, “wild blend of garage rock, blues, and folk music with lyrics populated with characters from Greek mythology and Grimm’s fairytales” and it also mentioned they have been support for Ida Maria (whose album, “Fortress Round My Heart”, you may remember I LOVED), I knew I had to see what the heck this was all about.
Let’s talk about truth in advertising! The Brute Chorus album “How the Caged Bird Sings” fits the bill to a tee.
“Could This Be Love?”
I liked what I heard so much I went ahead and picked up the 2009 live album too because…..
“All the Pilgrims”
But the big news for The Brute Chorus and for the United States is that they’re coming here for the first time ever for several showcases during the SXSW festival in Austin, TX! The thing is, they’re in indie band in Britain, so getting to Texas is a pretty big task. If you like what you’ve heard, why not hop on over to iTunes or Amazon.com and download their albums? They’re both under $10 each. Better still, if you’re really inspired you can check out their fundraising page on Indie Gogo. There you can contribute cash toward Visa interviews, hiring a van, getting their instruments through customs, and more, and be rewarded with signed CDs and t-shirts!
To learn more about The Brute Chorus, you can visit their website.
By now I suspect most of you have realized it’s Valentine’s Day. I can’t tell you how happy I am that over 10 years ago Cupid took aim and shot my husband Jim with his arrow. I’m happier still that when Cupid’s arrow struck me, and in Monty-Python-esque fashion I proclaimed it merely “a flesh wound”, that Cupid rounded up some cronies and proceeded to bludgeon me about the head and neck until I came to my senses. Now Jim and I are a happily married couple, generally annoying others with our continual high levels of marital bliss, although we’ve yet to ever be able to come up with pet names for each other, so still lacking in some aspects of annoying couple-ness.
So how does this awesome couple spend Valentine’s Day? In a surprisingly unromantic fashion. Each year Jim makes me an Italian Horseshoe, but with my stomach issues he’s replacing it with the Canadian Horseshoe. We’ll be making sure to log into Arkham City on the PS3 to visit the Calendar Man, you know, with today being a holiday. We’ll be watching our copy of “The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros” on DVD so we can check out all the commentaries and special features. You may remember I got to interview the creator of the series, Avi Glijansky, who was a totally cool guy. Lastly, I’m making sure to take a moment to wish all of you a very Happy Valentines Day!
When you go to a movie, you willingly suspend your beliefs for an hour or two. I’m only asking you to suspend them for a few minutes. This has to do with your happiness, so do pay attention.
You don’t exist. At least not in the way you think you do.
Oh, you’re a human being, alright, a physical contraption with a sophisticated brain that guides you step by step through your earthly journey. You had a mother and a father and perhaps a sibling or two. You’re married or you’re not. You have children or you don’t. You eat, sleep, have sex and recreate. One day you will stop breathing and either be incinerated or put into the ground. At your memorial service a lovingly arranged photo collage will capture the story of your life.
But was it really your life?
This sense of propriety is merely an illusion. The “you” that emerges as you rub the sleep from your eyes in the morning is a waking fantasy. While the figure reflected in the dresser mirror – the one sitting on the edge of a bed wearing a sleepy expression – is real, the idea that it is an independently functioning entity with a “you” manning its control center is a delusion. That “you” is pure fiction. “You” don’t control your actions any more than Homer Simpson does because neither of you exists beyond the borders of your imagination.
Since you no doubt fancy yourself to be a freewheeling individual, this can’t come as good news, at least not at first. Such a notion challenges the validity of your most basic assumptions about life.
The idea that there was a “you” controlling your actions was instilled at an early age. You were praised for smiling and burping, and not long after that you were scolded for throwing your food and pulling the dog’s tail. Well what else were you supposed to think after hearing all that contrary feedback except that you were choosing your actions instead of simply acting? It’s an idea that stuck, and since we were all babies once, we all grew up harboring the same illusion.
As you got older, your identity as an independent doer was corroborated by any number of sources. The concept of individual choice serves as the cornerstone of civilized societies, and why shouldn’t it? Lines governing social behavior have to be drawn somewhere, and individual choice is as good a concept as any to draw them around. If you steal someone’s car, you deserve a stay at the graybar hotel.
And then there’s the continuous drone of happiness gurus telling you that “you “should feel good about “yourself,” as if there are actually two of you squeezed into the same body – one enlightened and one clueless – in need of relationship counseling. That this split screen self-image breeds unhappiness seems to be lost on even on our most esteemed self-help experts.
So if you don’t control your actions, then who does? Why, Mother Nature, of course.
Evolution fated everything in its path, including you, who are but one of 5000 mammals within a larger group of 1.7 million known species. Your brain may be more advanced than a monkey’s, but all that extra horsepower doesn’t always translate into brilliance. How bright is it to conclude that human beings somehow subverted the will of the universe and wrested away control of their own destinies? Science fiction is a feeble substitute for science when probing for answers to life’s big questions.
Relatively speaking, of course, you make choices every day. You choose your hairstyle, your brand of toothpaste and the toppings to adorn your pizza. In the absolute sense, however, this is all a bittersweet fairy tale. You may think you’re choosing pepperoni over anchovies, but it’s your genes and environmental conditioning that are doing the choosing for you. There is no “you” apart from these natural building blocks. Free as you are to will what you do, you cannot will what you will. Like most mothers, Mother Nature insists on retaining some level of control over her children.
What’s all this got to do with your happiness? Only everything.
The source of so much of your unhappiness is your entrenched belief that we’re all choosing our behavior, and often choosing poorly. This belief is a stone in your shoe as you hobble through life judging everyone in sight.
You judge smokers for choosing to damage their lungs. You judge adulterers for choosing to destroy their families. You judge drug addicts for choosing to live in abandoned buildings and eat out of dumpsters. You judge distraught mothers for choosing to drown their children. You believe these people consciously chose tragedy over happiness. Of all the choices available to them, these miserable fates were the ones they really had their hearts set on.
And then you point your finger in the other direction. You judge yourself for choosing to eat too much, exercise too little and set your personal goals too low.
You drive yourself up a wall convinced that we’re all squandering our ability to make better choices.
Well now you can drop your distressing theory of human behavior and replace it with a new one: everyone’s doing the best they can with what life has given them.
It’s straightforward, compact enough to slap on your refrigerator as a reminder, and at least as plausible as any theory you’ve dreamed up so far. With that irritating stone removed from your shoe, you’ll discover a lightness in your step. You’ll stroll through life feeling grateful for what you have been given and sympathetic toward those who have been given less. Freed from the bondage of judgment, you will live in a perpetual state of forgiveness.
If all this is a bit too much for you to swallow – and it probably is, given how long you’ve been clinging to the idea that “you” are in control of your life – don’t despair. I’ve got a Plan B that will afford you the same life-enhancing benefits. Adopt the idea that we’re all doing the best we can as a philosophy. Live as if “you” mulled it over and decided it was an idea worth acting on.
About John Ptacek: My life has been enriched by the teachings of wise men and women, and my essays attempt to demystify these sometimes cryptic teachings so that more may be exposed to their wisdom. They appear on my website, On Second Thought, www.johnptacek.com. I live in Wisconsin with my wife, Kitty.
I don’t know how geeky this is, but it’s High Ranking Weird. UK Ministry of Defense evacuates a village in England and uses it for pre-Normandy Invasion training. Except the village is still “abandoned” today.
Photography using long exposure times can be interesting, but usually that time is measured in seconds, at most minutes. Here’s a picture of Toronto with a 365 day exposure:
Random Band Names
I don’t know what the point of this website is, other than the obvious, but it’s cool and geeky, no doubt. John Scalzi, renown scifi author and blogger extraordinaire has created/helped with/designed (?) a random band-naming web thing:
Scientists are genetically modifying silk worms to produce something more like spider silk, which is stronger than steel.
Money quote from the scientists, when asked about concerns that the modified silkworms might escape into the wild: “It’s hard to see how a silkworm producing spider silk would have any advantage in nature.”
Around the World in 5 Minutes
Guy quits his job, grabs his camera and travels around the world, taking pictures. Watch an amazing set of time-lapse photos from his trip.
D&D 5th Edition
Yes, Wizards of the Coast is talking about a new edition of the venerable RPG. Woo!
A real, available-now 3D printer that you can buy off-the-shelf, fully assembled (or as fully assembled as any printer ever is when shipped). Also, they use corn-based plastics which are fully biodegradable, so when you’re done with your doohickey, just toss in your compost heap. Still, it’s $1800 (not including shipping, I presume).
One Camera, One Picture, Infinite Focus
Imagine taking a picture, just one, and from that picture being able to refocus on anything in the picture AFTER you’ve taken it. Sound like someone drank a little too much something and then watched that scene in Blade Runner over and over again? Well, not quite. By “refocusing”, I don’t mean having an infinite zoom ability — just the ability to focus on something in the foreground or the background using the same image data. How does it work?
The latest in interactive fabrics — now in a rug!
Apocalypse Later, Surf Now
It’s stunning what you can do with a waterproof camera and some digital effects software. And a boatload of talent, of course.
The Serial Killer Formula
Not a way to write novels or movie scripts. Actual scientists have developed a theory about when a serial killer is likely to kill next, or indeed in some way why they kill. Read on for the math and the neuroscience.
How to Format Your Text for Gibbering Madness
You just know this has to involve Cthulhu in some fashion, and it does! The following are the instructions for how to typeset any text so it looks like it was written by a madman.
About John: John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).
Geek Credentials: RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee. Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993 Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983 His Blog:http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com
Yes yes I admit it. I love to do seasonally themed items; especially ones that are simple, lower cost and can be done as a family activity.
I had to rack my head a bit thinking about Imbolc and the early part of spring. This is a time of year where I’m out of sync with a lot of the county. I live in Florida so we’ve already left winter completely and are now moving back into Spring temperatures. I asked my peeps on Google + and on Facebook what they associated with Imbolc. I was flooded with many ideas after that.
The idea of white flowers stuck with me and I just couldn’t shake it. I love to work with felt. It’s a very forgiving material, can be inexpensive, and is great for people of all skill levels. What else do we all love? Something pretty to sit on the table or our altars.
The result of all this pondering is that today I bring you a simple felt flower candle holder.
Warning: Do not leave candles unattended. Styrofoam melts when hot and felt will smolder. This is for decoration or short periods of time under supervision only.
• 2 inch Styrofoam ball
• Felt in white, yellow, and green. (Small quantities of the yellow and green)
• White yarn
• Aluminum foil
• Marking pencil
• Taper candle
• Hot glue gun & glue
• 1/2” Clover Pom Pom Maker
What to Do
At its core this is a Styrofoam ball covered in felt flowers with a place to stick the candle. I did 6 different types of flowers and I’ll show you each one. Not all of them are original to me. I promise to show you my inspiration.
First I cut off the bottom of the Styrofoam ball so I had a solid base.
I then used the tip of my scissors to carve out the hole for the candle. I inserted a small piece of aluminum foil into the bottom. This helps to keep the candle nice and tight. I now have the base to attach all of my flowers to.
I started with a strip of 1 1/2” x 6” white felt. I scalloped the edges to make the petals. Not shown in this picture (but it is in the following one) is I found I needed to make the down cuts larger. Only a 1/4” from the edge.
I cut 2 thin pieces of yellow felt about 2 inches long and first glued them to the far left. I then rolled the piece up using hot glue as I went.
I pulled down the exterior petals a bit to shape the flower.
I also cut two thin green pieces of felt and added them to the sides.
Generic White Petal Flower
This flower was also inspired by the Creative Jewish Mom.
First cut out three flower like shapes. One larger than the other two.
For the two smaller shapes add a bit of hot glue to the center and squish the flower together a little.
Now add a large bead of hot glue to the center of the large shape and stick the two squished ones into it. Arrange so it until it looks nice.
White Loopy Flower
This flower is entirely of my own thought.
I took a piece of 6” x 4” white felt and folded it in half. I cut from the fold towards the end in small slits making sure to leave about a 1/2” inch uncut.
I cut two thin pieces of yellow about 3” long.
Now I added some hot glue between the two pieces of felt at the bottom for stability then rolled it from left to right adding hot glue along the bottom edge as I went.
Pom Pom Mums
The only flower I did that doesn’t use felt. This is done by simply making Pom Poms with white yarn. I used my Clover Pom Pom Maker to make mine.
This is a very simple felt Rose. I got the instructions from eHow.com. It just starts by drawing a circle on the felt and then drawing a spiral into the center. Those are the cut lines.
Once the spiral is cut out I started out the outside, glue gun in hand rolling the rose up and gluing as I went.
These are another of my own thought and there isn’t much too them. They are circles that I freehand drew and cut out.
I then added a spot of glue and pressed the circle together to make four petals. The blue you see is the marking pencil. I actually liked how it looked so I didn’t try to remove it.
Putting it all Together
I made multiple of each type of flower. The final numbers was:
• 6 Iris Type
• 2 Generic
• 6 Loopy Flowers
• 4 Pom-poms
• 2 Roses
• 7 Filler Flowers
Now I just glued them to the Styrofoam ball as I thought looked nice. I could have fit more also. I think they look best when they are really tight together.
These flowers could be used on all sorts of items, from hair accessories, brooches, bags, wreaths or other home decorations. They’re simple, easy and a great craft for children who can confidently use scissors and/or hot glue.
This could be done with regular craft glue but you would need to secure the flowers while they dry, rubber bands would do the trick.
I’d love to see some of the final projects of others who make these. Let me know by joining into the Flickr group, or posting it to the Facebook Fan Page.
Please come back and check out my blog, Treegold and Beegold. I’m currently working on a cute little sheep tutorial I’ll be debuting soon.
1. For my readers who may not be familiar with it, can you tell them about “The Further Adventures of Cupid & Eros”?
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CUPID AND EROS is a fantasy romantic comedy about two love gods (the titular Cupid and Eros) trying to set the world and their own love lives right.
While it’s commonly believed that Cupid and Eros are two names for the same god, in our world they are in fact colleagues, each the god of love in their respective pantheon. They still match up mortals and do their best to stem the tide of infidelity and divorce, but besides their common mission they are as different as night and Day. Cupid is the original “nice guy”; sweet, charming, but constantly in the “friend zone”. Eros on the other hand is sexy as hell, and irresistible to anything with a pulse—Mortal, God, or anything in between. He’s the ultimate romantic, she’s the ultimate personification of passion and unbridled sensuality.
When we first meet Cupid he’s still depressed from being dumped by his girlfriend Psyche. Eros has just about had it with his moping and her plans to help him recapture his confidence are what kicks the story off in our first season.
2. Where did the idea of Cupid and Eros doing their job in our modern times come from?
I’m a big nerd. Well OK, that’s not the entire answer, but it’s a big part of it. Ever since I was little, myths (not just Greek, but myths and legends from all cultures) were some of my favorite stories… right next to episodes of The Twilight Zone and just about any comic book I could get my hands on. I guess all that stuff kind of swirled around in my head and I found myself constantly intrigued by the idea of what these mythic figures would be like if they were walking around today.
The thing that set me off towards what would eventually become C&E was actually a panel from a SANDMAN comic by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman presented this banquet with representatives from different pantheons and folklores. I loved that idea of these different mythologies interacting directly… and I thought ‘OK, so Gaiman puts them in a palace, at a banquet… I’m going to put them in a gymnasium at what amounts to an awkward high-school reunion’ That idea, which would eventually become the Inter-Pantheon Mixer we see in episodes 5 and 6, was the beginning of Cupid & Eros.
As for why I chose focus on Cupid… At first it was simply because I thought it’d be funny to show a Cupid who can’t get a date himself… from there… well, lets just say I can relate (perhaps a bit too well) to his plight.
3. In future episodes can we look forward to them coming across competition from other love based deities like Aphrodite, Ishtar, Venus, or Qetesh?
I wouldn’t call it competition exactly, but I do want to feature a lot of those gods you mentioned. Aphrodite and Venus figure prominently in our heroes’ stories… If you go back and read some of those myths (not the least of which is Cupid & Psyche) you realize Cupid’s relationship with his mother was about as neurotic as they come.
And because in our world the different pantheons co-exist, I see different gods of the same thing as being like cops from another precinct… there’s some competition but there’s also the need for cooperation. I have a story I want to tell where Cupid ends up having to work with Kama (or Kamadeva, the hindu god of love). Kama is also an archer so there’s no way the two wouldn’t have a bit of a professional rivalry.
4. In the first episode it’s revealed that Psyche left Cupid for a dermatologist. How did you decide that out of all the occupations that would be the one of Psyche’s love interest?
Well, Psyche’s beauty is so central to her myth, but I figure if your boyfriend’s mom is Venus… after a while wouldn’t you start to worry that you might not live up? And wouldn’t you constantly look for ways to preserve that beauty both in the godly realms and on the mortal plane?
Also I lived in in NYC up until 2006 and there’s a dermatologist whose subway ads are legendary… in my mind that’s who Psyche is currently shacking up with 🙂
5. I’m a big fan of the deity Quan Yin (Kwan Yin). I think she’d be an excellent “straight man” in a comedy setting, any chance I could see her in a future episode?
Believe it or not, a version of her is actually present at the Inter-Pantheon Mixer! If you look very closely at the name tag on the young goddess who Cupid mistakenly believes is smiling at him, you’ll see it actually reads “Guan Yin,” one of the alternate spellings for Quan Yin. I liked the idea that a goddess of mercy would unintentionally shoot down our hero… and I figured she’d be the kind of goddess Cupid would be drawn to. Plus there’s a real treasure trove of legends about her and ways in which she’s been presented. I think you’re right she would be a great addition to the cast.
In fact, almost every single extra at the mixer is actually tied to a real deity that we wanted to potentially bring in to the show in the future… but we did take care to be a bit vague about it so that we would have some flexibility down the road.
6. Are there any particular deities you’re fond of that might make an appearance in future episodes?
Oh man, there are so many. As mentioned, Venus, Aphrodite and Kama all figure into stories I want to tell. And Neikea, our villain at the end of season 1, has a whole family (not least of which is her mother, the goddess of discord Eris) who aren’t too fond of love gods.
I love the Egyptian and African pantheons and would love to bring them in. As much as I love putting modern spins on the Greek/Roman pantheons part of the fun of the show is calling attention deities that most westerners really don’t think about.
7. You’re the creator, writer, and director of “Cupid & Eros”. Can you describe the process of taking your ideas and ending up with an episode?
Things changed a bit episode to episode, but the basic plan of attack remained the same.
I started by writing our scripts. In all but one case I knew who my actors would be so I could write with them in mind. It’s one of the perks of having so many insanely talented friends. What’s more, my key crew – Director of Photography Jefferson Loftfield, Production Designer Vicky Chan, Gaffer Edwin Kim and Costume Designer Tera Struck – had all come on board as I was writing our first few episodes. Because they were with me from the beginning, I knew that we were all on the same page even before we shot our first frame of footage.
I wrote all of season one in 3 episode story arcs, so after I had a draft of each arc I would send it to my co-producer Andy Wells. Andy would then look at the draft, and in addition to making any story suggestions, he would identify areas that might have been problematic for our budget. One of Andy’s strengths, and one of the reasons why I was so fortunate to have him at my side, is his ability to figure out ways to stretch every dollar to the max. He was the definition of the creative producer.
Once our scripts were locked Andy would handle most of the details organizing the shoot so I could concentrate on working with my cast and crew on the creative side of things. One of the great things about working on something episodic like a web series is that we all grew with the show as the shoot progressed.
Yes I always had final say, but I knew that my colleagues understood the show, its world and its characters just as I did. A director is only ever as good as his crew and I truly believe I worked with some of the best.
Once production wrapped I moved to the editing room. I’m fortunate to have a phenomenal editor, Matthew Smith (who also edits The Guild, a web series created by Felica Day that is largely considered the mark by which other web series are measured). I would do a first cut of each episode and then Matt would come in and take my ideas and polish them, often suggesting even better ways to structure a scene or pace an episode.
While we did our best to stay ahead of the curve, we often found ourselves working right up until the night before an episode was due to go live. All in all we were actively in production and post production from roughly February of 2010 to February of 2011.
8. Where can our readers go to see episodes of “Further Adventures of Cupid & Eros”?
Our home base is at www.cupidanderos.com There you can watch all of our first season, learn more about the show and the people behind it, and get updates on screenings, new content, etc. This month you’ll also be able to go there to buy our Season 1 DVD which is going to be filled with not just our 9 episode first season, but all our additional content, photos, and audio commentaries.
9. Do you have other projects our readers can look forward to? Can readers look forward to more episodes of “Cupid & Eros”?
I hope we get to do more “Cupid & Eros” but at present we’re on a bit of a break. Our first season was completely self-funded and the stark reality at the moment is that I don’t have the resources to do that again… not without either dropping the quality of the show or asking my cast and crew to work for free, both of which I’m simply not willing to do.
We’re using what we have to build our audience (which is why I’m so thankful for chances like this) and hopefully we’ll soon get to a point where we can move forward with season 2. I’ve got a lot of stories left to tell and the next two seasons are already plotted out, so it’s just a question of finances (as it often is with independent filmmaking).
To that end, if people dig what we’re doing they can help by spreading the word far and wide. Following us on twitter/liking us on Facebook. Subscribing to our channel on YouTube or Blip.tv. If people wish, they can also donate directly to the show via our website. But the most important thing people can do to help is just watch and encouraging others to do the same.
In the meantime, I do have other work out there. My other web series The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventurers Club ( – co-created and directed by my C&E Editor Matthew Smith) has it’s first episode out and can be seen at www.slbaac.com. Some of my short films are available online and can be seen at my website www.highway9pictures.com or on my Youtube page, youtube.com/user/aglijansky
10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question!
You already mentioned your affinity for Quan Yin, what other gods or goddesses would you like to see re-envisioned for 2012? I promise to give you credit if we steal… I mean, borrow your idea 🙂
Oh geez, don’t ask Mom to pick a favorite! Of course here on the website I’ve gotten to discuss a lot of my favorites already, that’s the joy of having your own site! We already mentioned Kuan Yin. I haven’t gotten to her on the site yet, but I have an affection for Kali. I tend to have a soft for figures who have been misunderstood or who have gotten a bad rap, so I list Set, Pandora, and Haephaetus amongst my favorites. I love Pele because in my opinion, what woman doesn’t? And I could go on, and on. But a real favorite of mine was technically an actual woman, but in my mind she is as legendary of a figure as an mythological character of her era, and that is Phryne, the courtesan of ancient Greece who lived a life larger than perhaps the Gods themselves.
About Avi Glijansky: Avi Glijansky is an independent filmmaker living in Los Angeles, CA. He is the Writer and Director of several short films including OCEAN CITY (Haig Manoogian Post Production Award, NYU; Opening Night Film, Cape May NJ State Film Festival; Nominee Best Student Short, Ashland Independent Film Festival, First Glance Philadelphia Film Festival, Rehobooth Beach Film Festival; Nominee Best Dramatic Short, Ohio Independent Film Festival). In 2005, a draft of his feature film screenplay, 30TH STREET, took 2nd place in the “25 and Under” category of the annual Set in Philadelphia Screenplay Competition organized by the Philadelphia Film Office. In 2006, Avi and his producing partner, Adam Spielberg (Ramin Bahrani’s PLASTIC BAG), were among the final 15 filmmakers considered by Jonathan Lethem when he held a contest to give away the option to his novel YOU DON’T LOVE ME YET. Avi also adapted the novel MESSIAH, by Gore Vidal, for producers Mark Petracca (WILDWOOD DAYS) and Michael Butler (HAIR). From January 2007 through January 2009, Avi was a Production and Development Executive at Los Angeles-based Upload Films. During his time at Upload, Avi was intimately involved in all of the company’s projects including SHOTGUN STORIES, THE BABYSITTERS, PRINT, and DROOL. Avi is the Writer/Director/Co-Producer of THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CUPID AND EROS, an original web series about the love god Cupid and his terrible love life. Season 1, which features guest appearances by Bradford Anderson (GENERAL HOSPITAL) Jeff Cannata (THE TOTALLY RAD SHOW) and Taryn O’Neill (COMPULSIONS), had its finale on Feb 28th 2011. The show was one of six winners of NYU’s Inaugural Web Series Showcase and has received great reviews from Tubefilter, Eguiders, ThoseVideoGuys, Indie Intertube PopCultureMonster and tVadio. Most recently, Avi, co-created, co-wrote and produced THE SILVERLAKE BADMINTON AND ADVENTURERS CLUB which won the judges prize at the Celebrate the Web 4: Raising the Bar Web Pilot Festival.
Hey Folks! Rebecca here. I told Avi that I was going to embed the first episode, “I’m Fine”, of “The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros” here at the end of the interview. I told him that after my readers saw the first 5 minute episode they wouldn’t be able to resist watching the rest of the series. So go ahead, give it a try. We’ll talk in the comments after you watched the rest of the series. 🙂