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Maerian Morris

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Maerian Morris is an author, scholar, digital and performance artist, editor, and student of Greek and Celtic mythology and ritual. She edited Green Egg Magazine from 1993 to 2001,[1] and is the founder of Wikipedia:Westernesste and that organization's projects known as The Sidhevairs, a digital sacred arts and educational virtual world that merges visual, aural, 3D digital, performance and collaborative participatory arts with ritual to explore Wikipedia:myth, Wikipedia:mythopoeia, Wikipedia:folklore and the creation of new archetypes.[2]

BiographyEdit

Maerian comes from a long line of theater artists. Her paternal grandparents Wikipedia:Edgar Barrier and Ernestine Barrier were both film actors and Broadway performers; her father, Michael Barrier, was also an actor, and her mother danced with the Wikipedia:Lester Horton Dancers. The theater community of her childhood deeply influenced her later interests in the arts and sacred Drama. Maerian considers her father’s appearances as Lt. DeSalle on Wikipedia:Star Trek, and the family’s friendship with Star Trek screenwriter Wikipedia:Gene Coon as being particularly influential on her later interests in mythopoetics and speculative fiction.[3]

Maerian was raised in the Hollywood/L.A. area of California until she left there in her mid-teens. She has four grown children, a son and two daughters, two step-daughters and a step son.[4]

In early 1973, still a teenager, Maerian left home for Laguna Beach with her high school sweetheart and moved to the San Francisco Bay area living in Eureka Valley (The Castro District) from 1973 to 1975. She, her partner and their son later moved to Guatemala where they lived for about 18 months. Shortly after their arrival, they were near the epicenter of the Wikipedia:1976 Guatemala earthquake. In the wake of this quake Maerian moved to the Mayan Highlands of Guatemala working in disaster relief with Wikipedia:CARE (relief agency) until late 1976.

After her experiences in Guatemala, Maerian became interested in cultural anthropology, and upon her return to the U.S. she attended the Wikipedia:University of California, Berkeley where she completed a BA with honors in Cultural Anthropology.

In the late 1980s, while still in Berkeley, Maerian acted as assistant editor of High Frontiers/Reality Hackers magazine (later Wikipedia:Mondo 2000), writing under the pseudonym of Nan C. Druid;[5] moving North around 1990 to Mendocino County, she taught public school there for several years. At about that time Maerian (a long-time "Wikipedia:Renaissance Faire" devotee) became a fencing instructor with the Cardiff Rose Fencing Academy, a renaissance reenactment and fencing group based in Northern California.[6]

Relationship to the Church of All WorldsEdit

In the early 1990s, Maerian’s experience as an editor led to her hire as editor of Wikipedia:Green Egg magazine published by the Wikipedia:Church of All Worlds (CAW), one of the founding organizations of the Neo-Pagan religious movement.[7]

Maerian was employed by the CAW as editor from mid 1993 to late 2001.[8] Believing that the role of editor for CAW demanded a deeper religious dedication to the organization, Maerian undertook religious studies in CAW, first becoming a Scion and later an ordained Priestess (1994). From 2000 to 2001 Maerian served as High Priestess of the Church. She chose to step back from active involvement in CAW after the Central Organization left California for Ohio, enacting organizational choices she felt had moved away from her understanding of the Church’s religious paths.[9] Maerian chose not to resign from CAW as a member or Priestess, believing along with other long term and core members of the CAW Clergy that while the corporate entity had moved away from the core ideals of CAW, the spiritual heart remained alive and still beat strongly in many members of its Priesthood and former members. Maerian considers herself to be an inactive member of the CAW Clergy.

Recent workEdit

At the same time that her work as editor of CAW was ending in late 2001, Maerian lost her home in a fire and moved back to the Bay Area taking a job as an administrative analyst at her old alma mater. While employed at UC Berkeley she pursued independent graduate study there in rhetoric, folklore and comparative literature, focused upon the study of Hellenic religion and philosophy as well as medieval French literature particularly as it touched upon Arthurian legends, the Grail myths, and female agency.

Maerian’s academic studies also address historical contexts for gender-atypical roles for women, particularly in medieval France, the Renaissance and the Victorian era. She has published articles on comparative religion and medieval and Victorian studies and has been invited to lecture as an independent scholar on such topics as how fencing and the art of the sword transformed women during the Victorian era[10] as well as on cross-cultural religious approaches to human virtue and ethical behavior.[11]

She is currently persuing this and related interests in a Master's Program in a CA state college. She recently advanced to candidacy in this program (2015) and is in the process of writing a thesis on mythopoetics and the co-creation of digital art and community in virtual settings.

Maerian’s virtual world profile as Elenarwen of the Faelf notes that although she pretends to be human some of the time, she must confess to varying levels of success in that effort.

Westernesste and The SidhevairsEdit

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Westernesste

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In 2002, Maerian Morris incorporated a former Nest of CAW into a separate new religious organization, Westernesste.[12] Maerian is Westernesste’s founder and its first ordained Priestess. In May 2012 Tom Williams joined the Priesthood and Aeona Silversong became a Priestess in late 2014. Westernesste shares much in common with CAW, but has a different religious focus that draws extensively upon mythopoetics and the expression of religious concepts through the arts, exploring Earth-centric, animistic, pantheistic religious concepts through cross-cultural myths and their expression as modern sacred arts. A particular focus of Westernesste involves modern explorations of the Wikipedia:Eleusinian Mysteries. A primary aspect of this work is expressed through an exploration of the possibilities of new media and technology and the production of sacred digital and performing arts that communicate Westernesste’s religious ideas through the use of virtual worlds. In 2009, Maerian and her still fledgling organization moved from Berkeley to Santa Cruz. Maerian is a member of the Wikipedia:United States Fencing Association, The Wikipedia:National Writers Union and the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.[13] She continues to be a writer, poet, storyteller, and editor.

Westernesste is a modern Neopagan (WP) religious and educational organization whose stated mission is to explore, celebrate and contribute to webs of information, mythology and experience; to provide voice to the Divine within and without; to explore pre- and post-monotheistic and earth based religious myth, rhetoric, and spirituality; and to provide informed Gaia-centric contexts and religious, rhetorical and educational support for celebrating Nature through community dedicated to responsible stewardship and awareness.

Westernesste was first formed in 1996 as a Nest of the Wikipedia:Church of All Worlds, but during that organization’s lapse and move to Ohio,[14] Westernesste was inactive, reforming and incorporating in 2002 as a separate organization. As a former Nest of CAW, Westernesste shares that church’s mythological focus upon fiction with an emphasis particularly upon folkloric-based fantasy fiction and Wikipedia:mythopoeia.

Westernesste's Bylaws feature a prominent thanks to CAW stating: "Our founding Bylaws were based upon the 1968 articles of Incorporation and the amended year 2000 Bylaws of the Church of All Worlds, the members, Scions and Clergy to whom the Westernesste Founder expresses gratitude for their pioneering insight into Neo-Pagan and Gaian Religious and structural guiding principles." [15]

The Church’s headquarters are presently in Santa Cruz, California.

Westernesste’s members espouse Wikipedia:paganism, but the Church is not a belief-based religion. Members directly experience Divinity while respecting others who may have different views and seeing the many approaches to religion as adding to Faelf comprehension of the Divine. Members of Westernesste recognize the many faces of the Earth Mother Goddess and Her beloved the Father God, as well as deities and creatures from many other pantheons. Many Westernesste rituals and celebrations invoke the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Ireland as well as mythic creatures from the realm of the Faeries.

What distinguishes Westernesste from its many spiritual relatives is a primary focus upon the exploration and development of modern archetypes and mythopoeic work drawn from the literatures of fantasy, myth, folklore and science fiction. Westernesste seeks to poetically and creatively draw upon these sources to intentionally birth new myth and meaning with the hope of enriching the lives and spirits of its members and the world. Westernesste merges philosophy, visual, auditory, digital, performance and collaborative participatory arts focused upon inspiring its members and those with whom they come in contact. Westernesste currently finds much of its expression through mythopoeic interactions and digital arts in its virtual world property: the islands of the Sidhevairs. Maerian's digital arts and virtual events work is central to this expression.

Westernesste owns five “digital islands” known as The Sidhevairs which serve those people who are interested in the use of virtual worlds to co-create art that fosters respect for cultural and spiritual diversity. The Sidhevairs can be found in the virtual world (WP) grid known as Inworldz[16] The particular creative focus is the depiction of mythology and fantasy settings that encourage the desire to protect and appreciate nature. The Sidhevairs host virtual events, rituals and religious and academic lectures on topics of interest to Westernesste members.[17]

Maerian maintains an avatar presence in The Sidhevairs as Maerian Sidhevair, the “Elenarwen” of the Faelf (a new Sidhevair archetype that combines traits of both the Elf and the Faerie). Maerian and Westernesste's members have said that this combination of roles has a resonant effect upon who the Elenarwen is— both Inworld and Out.[18]

Each of the Sidhevairs islands has a different mythic focus ranging from Hellenic Paganism, to Steampunk (WP) Faeries.

Citations Edit

  1. Morris, M. Green Egg Editorials
  2. Westernesste website Westernesste, The Sidhevairs website The Sidhevairs
  3. Interviews with Sun Summa, 1986-1989
  4. [https;//www.sidhevair.org/The_Elenarwen.html bio]
  5. Wikipedia:Mondo 2000
  6. The Cardiff Rose Fencing Academy The Cardiff Rose
  7. Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, Beacon Press, 1979; revised and updated 1987.
  8. See Wikipedia:Green Egg entry
  9. See “Attempted termination & Second Renaissance” on the Wikipedia:Church of All Worlds entry.
  10. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) - Victorian Rituals, Celebrations, and Anniversaries -[1]
  11. Morris, M. The Nine Virtues, The Nine virtues
  12. from organizational documents found at the westernesste site
  13. NCIS website
  14. See the discussion on the CAW lapse at the Wikipedia:Church of All Worlds page.
  15. From the Bylaws of Westernesste
  16. Inworldz website
  17. Discussion of the lectures hosted by the Sidhevairs can be found at the organization's website sidhevair.org [2]
  18. The Faelf website

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