Pirating and E-Book “Re-sellers”

How can you tell whether an e-book download is legit? Well, the simple answer is unless an author or publishing company offers you a free e-book direct from their website, then you most likely dealing with illegal material. Most people know that the many “free” pdf download sites are really just sites that are trying to install malware and other nasties on your device/system, but there has emerged a new, more legitimate-sounding con: the e-book “re-seller”.

It’s recently come to many Pagan authors’ attention that there are quite a few sites “re-selling” digital formats of their books. Please note that you cannot “re-sell” a digital format of a book. Every book that is sold is protected under copyright, and may only be used and read by the person who purchased the item.  E-book “re-sellers” sites offer illegal pdf downloads of the works. Some of the digital “re-sellers” have websites that look very authentic, and are even using large well-known second-hand platforms that make you think that what they are doing is legal. But please, make no mistake, a “second-hand” e-book is an illegal version.

Publishers sell licensed versions for Kobo, Nook, Kindle, Googleplay and more, ensuring that with each purchase, the author is getting paid for that sale. These are protected versions of the book to be put onto your chosen device. An e-book “re-seller” selling a pdf is not the same (it is not protected in the same way as the above versions are). What’s worse, once a single pdf is out there on the internet, hundreds of sites can then use it for their own personal gains (with nothing going towards the author).

Pirating of e-books is something that is rapidly starting to undermine the publishing industry. What most people don’t realise is that when they illegally download a book, they are putting another nail in the coffin of authors everywhere who are trying to write more books. Most authors these days can’t even afford to have writing as their sole career: it’s very, very hard to make a living as an author. For instance, did you know that the standard percentage that an author gets per book sold is 10% net? That’s net, not gross. So, after the publishers, the sellers and everyone else has had their share, the author gets 10% of what’s leftover. Sometimes that’s just pennies. The percentage is sometimes higher for an e-book, but it is still very much lower than what authors used to take home ten or twenty years ago. With the illegal downloading of books, this throws the industry into a tailspin and it is the author who suffers the most.

Many, many people are feeling the strain of earning less and working more, authors included. Many, many people can’t afford to buy all the books that they want. For some, illegal downloading seems to be the answer. What people might not realise is that the more they do this, the more likely it is that an author will not be able to sustain themselves and, therefore, will stop writing all those lovely books.

So what is one to do? If you are short on cash, you can always use a legitimate e-library, and if they don’t have the books you want, you can always ask them to order them for you. My husband has used the county library’s e-book department and read hundreds of books through them. Libraries pay for the license, and so you can read the material you want legally. As well, the author gets a crust of bread with her soup.

You can also work as a book reviewer in your spare time, and dedicate online places to book reviews such as a website and blog. Then, once you have a legitimate platform established, you can ask the publisher for a review copy, and then write your review (usually sending an email back to the publishers with the link to your review). I have a couple of publishers that I work with in this respect, who send me info on new book releases a couple of times a year. I email them back with the titles that interest me, and then I after I’ve received and read the book, I write up a review. I haven’t had to pay for the book monetarily, but I’ve devoted my time and energy into helping promote the work on various personal platforms. In this way, I am engaging in a legitimate exchange of services for goods. Plus I get real books to keep and put on my bookshelf 🙂

Help keep your favourite authors going through legitimate retailers, libraries and a fair exchange of services. x

Herbal on Patreon

Hello folks! Just a shout out that on my Patreon page, on top of other benefits that I’m offering there is also an herbal which I add to each and every month (at the Extra-Special Thanks and also Deepest Gratitude tier). This month I’m looking at one of my favourite trees: beech. I thought I’d share this post with you all here on my blog page, in case you are interested in joining me on my Patreon community page as well!

BEECH

(Fagus Sylvatica)

Beech is a tree that, for some reason, often gets overlooked in many modern and magical herbals. It is not part of the Druid tree ogham, and shows up rarely in other Pagan herbals. As an indigenous British tree, I feel that we need to include the beech once again in our herbal grimoires, and honour this most beautiful and magnificent being.

According to Mrs Grieve, the word beech is thought to derive from the Germanic language and refers to  the word “book”. It’s thought that early books were made from beech. Maybe this is why the Druids didn’t include it in their tree ogham? As members of an oral tradition, this might be one use that they’re not terribly comfortable with…

It’s one of our largest and most gorgeous trees. It spreads its canopy and isn’t afraid to shine. In the autumn especially, we see its enchanting beauty as the chlorophyll retreats and the golden leaves begin to glow in the late, slanting sunlight. They then turn to a beautiful, rust colour if they’re not blown away by the autumn winds. The pale grey, smooth trunks stand in silent glory, with little to no undergrowth beneath them to mar their stately splendour. They are truly magical beings, and always make me think of the Fair folk, of the elven wood of Lothlorien in Tolkein’s work, these majestic and proud trees.

Beech wood was often used in the making of chairs, wooden panels for furniture, carpenter’s planes and charcoal for gunpowder. But it’s not just the wood that is useful: the nuts (mast) were very valuable for owners of livestock who grazed their animals in the woods and under these trees on the village common. Like acorns, beech nuts are very nutritious for pigs, and the wild deer, squirrels and badgers are also very fond of them. The whole nuts are not good for human consumption, but the oil extracted from them is used in cooking on the continent. You can also use the oil as a furniture polish.

The tar has been used medicinally as an antiseptic, and also for treating chronic bronchitis. You can also make a liquer from the young leaves (pick them before midsummer). Here is a recipe from Anna Franklin: Fill a jar with them, top up with your favourite spirit (for me, that’s gin) and leave for 10 days. Then and add a pound of sugar per pint of spirit, dissolving the sugar over a low heat but do not boil off the alcohol. Bottle, let it sit for three months to a year, and enjoy!

For magical purposes, beech can be used in spells to enhance one’s appearance, or in spells that call for strength, grace, or adaptability. You can use beech to consecrate your Book of Shadows, or even better, use slats of beech wood as the covers! I also think that beech is a great tree to connect to the Fair Folk, though this is from personal experience, and not something that is written down in any lore.

References:

Grive, M. A Modern Herbal, Cresset Press, 1992

Franklin, A. The Hearth Witch’s Compendium, Llewellyn, 2018

A Devotional Practice

Having a devotional practice can be just what you need to keep on track each and every day on your own personal path. In my own Druidry practice, I have a daily devotional set up to honour the goddess Brighid. Though most devotional practices are centred around deity, this is not absolutely necessary, and indeed one can set up a devotional practice around the spirits of place, for example. If working with deity is not your thing, then this might be a good alternative. However, for the most part, devotional work means working with deity.

Every morning I light a candle and say prayers, followed by a short meditation on a different aspect of the season that I currently find myself in. So today, for example, I meditated for a couple of minutes on “the cauldron”, whereas yesterday is was “winter”. Later on in the week it will be community, silence and other concepts that for me relate to the winter season.

The prayers are fairly short, and written by myself. They might be inspired by other prayers, such as those found in the Carmina Gadelica. I begin my opening my soul to Brighid, and then seeking an aspect of the soul, or of personal growth (or both) that is repeated throughout the season (winter being wisdom). Previously last season was about cleansing, preparation for winter’s reflection and working with emotions.

I also include a prayer for others as well, for the wider world in general. This season it is about those who suffer under the duress of winter, and also helping people to find peace within the stillness and silence that can be found in this season, if we know where to look. It is about connecting to what is happening in the natural world, and hoping to shift the threads of the warp and weft of life into something that runs more smoothly, more naturally, with the rhythms of nature in mind and the benefit of all held in the heart.

All in all, my morning devotional takes around five minutes, and the candle is left to burn until it burns out. (It is an ethically sourced soy tealight candle, placed in an enclosed lantern). I try to do another meditation session for a longer time in the afternoon, if my schedule permits. In the evening, I say devotional prayers again, this time as the sun sets. These prayers help me to wind down, to think about the day and where I am going, as well as for a final blessing on hearth and home, friends and family, and the world at large. It allows space to simply be, to sit in silence, to be with Brighid and to come home to myself.

I had a good time creating my own personal devotional, and it is something that really keeps my soul connected to Brighid throughout the day. If you are interested in creating your own devotional, I can highly recommend it. If you feel you need some inspiration to get started, try by Caitlín Matthews’ Celtic Devotional.

If you find that you aren’t as connected as you would like throughout your everyday life, then having your own devotional practice may be just what you need.

Blessings!

New Brighid Devotional Series!

I’ve started a new series of devotionals dedicated to the goddess, Brighid. These are available to my everyone in my Patreon community (which starts from as little as £1 a month). In these posts, you will find material that I have written, and material from others that I have come across in my research and work with the goddess (all material is credited, and links provided to find out more).

Brighid is a goddess that came to me as I was diving deeply into my Druid practice many years ago. She helped me greatly with her blessing on Druid College UK, and motivated me to keep it up (sadly, we’re only offering an online course at the moment, due to the pandemic). She has walked with me for many years, and feeling her with me is like the beautiful, golden autumnal light filling my soul.

If you are interested in joining me in my Patreon community, click HERE to find out more.

Blessings of Brighid be with you!

Note: my Patreon community also enjoys many other benefits, including material for everyone from my personal Book of Shadows, photography and more as well as special material for different levels of support.

Women in Druidry Conference 2021

Yes, it’s back, and I’m very much honoured to be a panelist again for this wonderful event. This year’s keynote speaker is Eimear Burke, the current chosen chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. This online conference is happening on 6 November, so get your tickets now!

May be an image of text