Goat’s Bride – by Richard Gavin (Cdn – Ontario) – Find it here
Premise: Faithful to the old religion.
At first sight a swansong to pagan beliefs, demeaned and diminished by the new religion, seemingly on the verge of extinction. But those of you familiar with Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough will know what happens next.
Rating: Entertaining. So much that is written about traditional European paganism reeks of disapproval and anti-pagan propaganda. This story is refreshingly different. It successfully captures the raw power and majesty of ancient perception of the divine from a point of view within said belief system, and I don’t mean a light-hearted New Age approach either. It’s a very visceral blast from the past. The ending, if a trifle ambiguous, is quite impressive.
Contrary to what many moderns believe, the old pagans were not superstitious idiots. There was a breadth of concept which appealed to the imagination, especially on an emotional plane, a vision of sacred wisdom which convinced believers they were in communion with the gods of nature on a very personal level indeed. This story captures that sense magnificently. Nothing disrespectful here.
Not that I advocate the old religion. I’m an atheist. But I do like to see religion, any religion, being portrayed in fiction authentic to the actual beliefs of the faithful. Otherwise why bother?