Okay, I'm actually going to get a little bit into pagan theology here, for a second, so forgive me if this sounds strange. I'm about the worst pagan ever. I hardly go to sabats, don't cast 'spells', and don't perform seasonal rituals. I consider myself pagan in my beliefs, in the art I create, and most importantly of all, in my politics. However, the superstitious, magical (or magikal) side of things, I've never really given a lot of credence to.
However, ever since I started working on Coven of Bast, and building up this fictional Bast-cult and its culture, I've been experiencing alot of magical synchronicity. What I'm talking about is a concept that some pagans I genuinely respect, both as pagan theologians, and more importantly as artists: Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, talk alot about in their writings. Basically, every time they perform a magical ritual, cast a spell, whatever, their lives get quietly strange. Coincidences, chance meetings, weird hallucinations glimpsed out of the corner of the eye, cool stuff like that begins happening. Even, depending on what you did, some not so cool stuff begins happening.
Anyway, I've been experiencing a mild form of that ever since I started on page one of the manuscript. Some of it may simply because I'm thinking more and more about a cat-goddess, I start noticing cat symbolism more in my life. That's the mundane explanation, and it's probably accounts for 99% of everything that's been on my mind. But the first day I started the project, more than a dozen girls all came into the restaurant I work at wearing cat-themed or animal print shirts. Again, some of it isn't too surprising, since I live and work down the street from Carrol High School, whose mascot is a tiger. But when a girl in a Carrol Tigers t-shirt walks in, and when you read the message on the back, it first says "Best of the BAST" and than, when you look again, reads "Best of the Best".... it sorta brings a smile to your polytheistic face. At least it did to mine.
So for the last couple of months, I've had dozens, dozens of stray cats come up and want to be petted, when the strays are normally pretty feral around here. Cool. When I turn on the TV to a random channel and it's a documentary about cats, or something about Bast, or even (shudder) Catwoman... again, I'm smiling a bit.
Anyway, last night, right as I finished laying out the sourcebook and prepared it for sale, I got adopted by the most adorable little kitten in my apartment complex. She comes up, hangs around my balcony all night. I give her some food, water the next morning, and open up the balcony door, if she wants to come in. She does- this cat is very socialized. I'm wondering if it's someone's pet running loose, or if somebody abandoned her. Anyway, it's been rainy, so I let her stay in last night, and it turns out she's potty trained too. She crawled up into my bed and stood on my head at about 4 am last night to let me she know she wanted out.
Anyway, the cat is absolutely adorable- she looks like she may be 7-8 months old, not too skinny, so she's been eating decently. Jet black, glossy fur and bright green eyes. I went out this afternoon and got some Purina and Frontline for her, and in the spring, when I can afford it and if she chooses to stick around that long, I'll find a vet that does cheap vaccinations and neutering, get her taken care of and formally registered with the city. Anyway, what did I call my new cat: Bast, of course. (Now, if I hadn't just finished up the sourcebook, I probably would of gone with Wakanda- the name of the Black Panther's fictional nation in Marvel Comics, a name perfectly suited for an all black feline.)
So, even if Coven of Bast doesn't sell one copy, I consider it a success. It brought me a cat.
What am I talking about? Something I read while doing preliminary research for CoB.... a modern Bast cult website mentioned that Bast is a fickle goddess. Sacrifice to her and be rewarded. Now, as mentioned, I really don't go in for that, both because the superstitious nature of it, and the idea that doing a magical ritual purely for some kind of gain seems selfish to me. Still, Coven of Bast is a sacrifice in a way... of money (to pay Amanda for the art) of time (about 3 months) and of effort (lots and lots), and it certainly presents this old goddess to a new audience. Hey, maybe somebody reads CoB and is intrigued enough to research Bast, and chooses Her as a patron Goddess. In my own way, I certainly have, and I can't help but think that makes Bast a bit happy.
So for my service, for my unwitting but freely given sacrifice, I get a cat.
You don't know how happy that makes me.
(Oh, I'll try to get some pics of the fur ball up here soon)