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The Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle Paperback – October 8, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1 edition (October 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738702595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738702599
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When people think of Wicca, say authors Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein, they tend to conjure images of bucolic festivals, dryadic rituals and flower-wreathed maidens. In other words, the public mind associates paganism with the seasons and the countryside. But that's only a part of the picture. In The Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle, Kaldera and Schwartzstein contend that modern neo-paganism is actually an urban-based movement, and they offer specific rituals and hints on living in the city. Here, readers will learn how to use magick to find an elusive parking space, understand the symbolic meaning of various body piercings and discover spells for unearthing treasures in a junkyard. There is even a chapter on the magickal properties of urban weeds such as bittersweet, dandelion, kudzu (who knew?) and ragweed. The tone is brassy and hip, with comic-book style illustrations and cartoons. Concerning graffiti, for example, the authors claim that "any or all naked women or female body parts, no matter how badly drawn, are figures of the Goddess and thus can be invoked for her protection. Consider it to be a work of reclaiming."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Raven Kaldera is a pagan priest, intersex transgender activist, parent,  astrologer, musician, homesteader, and the author of "Hermaphrodeities: The Transgender Spirituality Workbook" (XLibris Press). He is the founder and leader of the Pagan Kingdom of Asphodel, and the Asphodel  Pagan Choir. He has been a neo-pagan since the age of 14, when he was converted by a "fam-trad" teen on a date. Since then, he's been through half a dozen traditions, including Gardnerian, Dianic, and granola paganism, Umbanda, Heithnir, and the Peasant Tradition. He is currently happily married to artist and eco-experimentalist Bella Kaldera, and they have founded the Institute for Heritage Skills.

...'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.'



Contrary to popular legend, Tannin was not born in a log cabin in Springfield Illinois. She did, however, spend her entire childhood living on the Jersey Shore. It is in this notably non-New Age environment that her interest in Pagan/Occult matters began. Over the past 15 years, she has dedicated a significant part of her life in pursuit of various spiritual arts privately and professionally. Tannin has studied diverse practices and paths such as Gi Gong, Shamanistic energy techniques, Gnostisism, Afro-Caribbean religions, and even a pinch of Ceremonial Magick. Before she opened Bones and Flowers in the of 1997, she served as "Madame Espiritual" to two different Worcester Botanicas, a spiritual counselor in a New Age shop, as well as making countless house calls. At present, the proprietor of Worcester's only occult specialty store is also a crafter in diverse media ,and a legally ordained minister.

More About the Author

Raven Kaldera is a Northern-Tradition Pagan shaman, herbalist, astrologer, transgendered intersexual activist, homesteader, and founding member of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel. He is also a teacher of BDSM spirituality, and an educator and presenter on many topics. He has written (or co-authored) all the books here and continues to add to the pile.

Raven's "hub" website, with links to all his other specific websites, is here:

http://www.ravenkaldera.org

and his shamanism website is here:

http://www.northernshamanism.org

'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds!

Customer Reviews

The reality of it is, most of us live either in cities or suburbs.
J. H. Grace
Here is a book that gives excellent and easily followed guidelines for anyone who wants more from their experiences as a Modern Primitve.
Morg
My biggest problem with this book is the mixing of good advice and just plain wrong.
Risingpanther

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "mari_lioness" on March 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a refreshing change among the cookie-cutter Pagan books on the market. It is a practical, straightforward description of Pagan spirituality in the city. I like the fact that the authors do not steer clear of subjects that are controversial (like blood letting), choosing instead to offer practical advice.
What I like about the book is that it has what many others are missing - it explains how to express *your* spirituality, not try to recreate the spirituality of people outside of your culture, environment and time-frame.
There are some hokey things I didn't like, like the urban triple goddess and god, as another reviewer already mentioned. I would not suggest that people read about them and adopt them as their own manifestation of divinity, but choose instead to do as the book tells you to do in other places - communicate with the energies around you and accept the ways it manifests on its *own* terms.
The topics covered include practical advice on spellcasting, getting the feel for the energies around you, working with them and cleaning up, clothing and body decoration (with a very good description of the various spiritual purposes behind piercings and tattoos), Pagan children, exploring your under world, small list of resources, and much more.
In general I think the book is extremely practical and relevant. It does not recreate old religions, or create new ones, nor does it tell you things must be done a certain way. Good read for everyone I think.
Medium sized paper back 255 pages (minus index) 19 chapters.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I liked this book, for many of the reasons that those who gave it poor reviews disliked it.

First some disclaimers:

1. I'm not a Wiccan. I follow a very different magickal/spiritual path, but I see value in learning insights from other traditions

2. I'm a dyed in the polyester urbanite. The raw natural world gives me hives.

3. I have academic degrees in folklore, semiotics and mythology and regard things from these perspectives as well as my spiritual experiences.

First, to those who object in general to the introduction of "urbanism" or technology into "earth centered religions": do you use a knife in your rituals? Metal doesn't grow on trees or lay about waiting to be found. It's manufactured using a very technological process from raw ore. Use a wand? Manufactured too, unless you just point a stick you found at things. It is in our "nature" as a species (wordplay VERY MUCH intended) to alter our environment through the use of tools. That does not remove the things we make from nature. (Gasoline? Just a long-dead dinosaur run through some tools, my friends. A lot of hard-to-deal-with waste products, but it's basically recycling!). Unless your version of earth-centered translates to going back to an australopicathine level of technology (and if it does, I pity you), you've modified nature to practice your art. And so it should be, as that is our role as a species -- to interact with our world in this fashion (while maintaining respect for the unity and essential sameness of all). That we've been out of balance in the past, implementing our technology without regard for its impact on nature is wrongandshould be redressed. But let's not throw the baby away with the bathwater. (BTW, use soap? Technologist!
Read more ›
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Adam R. on June 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
look, i dont want to be "that guy", but lets be honest here. i have been practicing magick for, at the time of this writing, about 11 years now. im no master, but i do like to think i have learned enough over the years to recognize books that are not (to put it nicely) necessarily sound in its theory. i do like some of the ideas in principle such as using a cup of a strong herbal tea (one could presume it to be sage tea which i enjoy) as a discrete smudge for ones office. its nice and could work temporarily. however the section on car dragons (yes, i said car dragons) is a little far fetched. to summarize you are encouraged to drive around in circles with incense in your grill waiting for a dragon to fuse itself with your radiator. ok. then, once you have one, you had better take good care of the car or the dragon will get pissed off and leave. WTF? look, if i could afford to take my car to the shop everytime it made a funny noise, i wouldnt be using magick to attract a dragon spirit to the car to take care of it would i? unless i need the dragon to scare off some idiot who wants to leave my car sitting on blocks because i parked in a bad neighborhood its a waste of my time and the dragons- which would probably piss the dragon off more than not changing the oil every 3,000 miles or whatever its supposed to be. moving on to the goddess and god version 2.0 we are offered, i would like to say that these are not new ideas. they are as old as the gods themselves. except for getting a parking space, that is new. yes, the goddess loves you but i dont think getting a parking space is the best use of her time and energy, is it? and screw? WTF is that about? yes "all acts of love and pleasure are my rites". i dig that.Read more ›
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