Jedi – shamans they are not

My-beloved-the-ex-neuroscientist-shaman has posted a concise thought-piece on the mysticism of the Jedi in Star Wars 1-3. As she’s a practicing curandera, she’s got a good point to make. Plus, I sat through those three movies with her… so it’s good something of benefit came out of that!


As I watched the movies, I kept track of how many times Anakin Skywalker violates some of the basic principles of being a shamanic apprentice – and of how Obi-Wan Kenobi fails to correct him in any meaningful way. I had a whole rant prepared about how the Jedi aren’t shamans, but upon further reflection, that’s a bit like saying that an apple isn’t an orange: the Jedi, at least at the stage at which we see them from the time of The Phantom Menace, aren’t even trying to be shamans anymore, if indeed they ever were. They’re archetypal heroes of the Joseph Campbell variety.

So what is the difference between an archetypal hero and a shaman?

Better and worse

After a brief tussle, now got the Dell running the latest Ubuntu version (9.04 ‘Jaunty Jackalope’ – sadly the next version is not called Kinky Koala… but Karmic Koala isn’t bad either) and the Netbook Remix interface. Since Dell’s tech support for their Ubuntu is charitably describable as ‘limited’ there was nothing to lose, except possibly some SAN points. Found a blog app that doesn’t suck (KBlogger) and pretty much got this little guy ready to roll.
It has its limitations of course – the keypad tininess takes a little getting used to, and some of the keys are in non-standard positions – but since my typing is of the two-finger hunt-and-peck school, this actually doesn’t make too much difference.
I still scorn and despise the individual who decided where CAPSLOCK lives, however.
In other news, I appear to be coughing and sneezing on an professional basis. This is displeasing, but is at least non-pork related.
For the moment, I seem to be more active on Twitter than anything else – posting a few links on the remarkable political upheaval in Guatemala and the usual Forteana. Daily digest, as always, at News Felch.
Sent from Dell Mini 9, which still lacks a good nickname…

Upgrades, again

Another new piece of kit – finally fell prey to the netbook paradigm & got a Dell Mini 9, running their remix of Ubuntu 8.04. After some minor teething troubles – a keyboard glitch which of course took over an hour on hold to tech support, only to be fixed in 2 minutes – it’s pretty good.

It’s a tiny thing – half the size and a third the weight of my venerable iBook G4 – and thus perfect for general carry (without the considerable limitations of the Nokia N810 pocket unit).

There’s a few things lacking in the Ubuntu ‘ware department, top of the list being a WordPress blogging client! But for now blogging from the website seems tolerably fast and pretty much everything else works fine. (And if I feel adventurous, it’s the best netbook for a OS X install.)

So, once I get over the non-pork-related virus the whole clan is down with, I can take my act on the road!

When is a Celt…

… Not a Celt?

A fine article of this title by Joanna Hautin-Mayer just crossed my path (via the Naked Woad Warrior‘s blog). It’s a harsh-but-fair look at the level of pseudohistorical invention punted as fact by some neopagan writers. Informative and fun – take for example this gentle dig at the claims made in “Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition” by Edain McCoy. After noting Ms. McCoy’s claims that the potato as an ancient Irish symbol (having somehow not been aware it was imported from Peru in the 16-17th Centuries!) she also points out this gem:

McCoy goes on to claim that “the famous epic poem Carmina Burana was a manuscript found in an Italian monastery which clearly glorifies the Mother Goddess”(p.4). What exactly this statement has to do with anything, I cannot determine. But in fact, Carmina Burana is the name given to a collection of bawdy drinking songs in Latin probably written down in the tenth or eleventh centuries, the manuscript of which was found in a Bavarian monastery. If pieces such as “It’s my firm intention in a barroom to die” are to be considered as hymns to the Goddess, then all country music must be pagan.


Have a read, tho’ it be longish.