Exegesis: an explanation or critical interpretation of a text, or of of something that is not immediately obvious.

Can result in a mental representation of the meaning or significance of something; an explanation resulting from interpreting something.

...or in this case, what this site is and does.

The Exegesis page answers these questions (and has a few explanatory footnotes):
Other questions:
* Who's the woman in the background?

* Who's the site author?

* Where's the most recent book review?

* Where are the quotes files you used to have?

* I like your stuff! Can I help?

Where's the old Bestiary?

It's all pretty much still here. I dumped a few parts I wasn't interested in keeping current, and put everything else up.

If you're searching for a particular article you used to link to, try the Codicology page. It has all my old papers, APA zines, and random musings from when I was in college the second time around.

If there's something you really want to find but can't, please feel free to ask for more information -- I'm happy to help.

Join the Bestiary!

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What is a Firestarter?

Originally the label for my ezine in the deceased APA "Interregnum," it's now my title for the speculative monthly columns I enjoy writing. Read, give feedback, and please join the Bestiary's mailing list or RSS feeds for updates on this site.

What is the Bestiary?

Bestiary: an illustrated medieval or allegorical moralizing work on the appearance and habits of animals

To me, bestiaries are like allegorical sparks which can bloom into brilliant mental bonfires, each of which can inspire another flare of intellectual passion in someone else. Here is where I enjoy thinking, reading, and sharing thoughts with others.

Why a bestiary? Because we're still all moralizing animals, searching for meaning in our existence with greater and lesser degrees of success. Fascinatedly reviewing our literary, religious, and philosophical oeuvre is one means of exploring others' attempts at understanding in order to improve personal understanding.

About bestiaries & intellectual curiosity

Medieval bestiaries depicted strange, mysterious creatures from distant and wondrous lands, illustrating them and their habits as allegories for life's moral complexities.

Today we no longer look for wonder and mystery in new lands; our fascinated explorations tend to lie inwards. My bestiary maps the perplexing mindscapes I've seen or pondered -- shapeshifting moral organisms painted in HTML -- and shares these personal conundrums with you.

Alternatively, we could just say I like thinking too much. ;-)

About Collie's Bestiary

Initially this web site was just a collection of my writings, as I passed through the university system a second time. However, as the years passed, the writings accumulated, and I inevitably graduated, I realized I still had the (sometimes irritatingly strong!) urge to write, but no place to put my thoughts.

Eventually I realized establishing a place where fun or interesting writings are available for perusal and comment gives one a dandy excuse for doing more research. I greatly enjoy the systematic investigation required to establish facts, and the search for knowledge has always been a joy to me.

Coupling a place to put my discoveries with my usual nosiness verve to find things out led to the natural establishment of this current version of my web site, several revisions later. I consider it my Atheneum, so to speak -- a literary collection (and perhaps someday, an association as well) for the promotion and enjoyment of learning. Yay learning! ;)

Each section of Collie's Bestiary is listed in the navigation at the top of each page, and has a cheerfully pretentious title. However, if you rest your cursor on the titles for a moment, a more pragmatic explanation will come up in a small box. Explanations and translation of each title are on Exegesis, this page.

If you have suggestions on how to make this site easier to use, or notice any errors, please contact me.

The Library

In the Library you'll find reviews of interesting books I've read, as well as the occasional other type of media, such as movies. The most recent review will be on the Library's main page, and there's also a subject-search box at the bottom of the page, if you want to find previous reviews.

Please browse freely and send me your thoughts, either agreeing or disagreeing. Read! Think! If you find a review particularly intriguing, buy the book and help us both -- you get something new and fun to think about, and I get some pocket change.

There is no greater compliment you can pay me than to say you were inspired by my thoughts to consider (however temporarily) another's point of view.

Small political rant

In regards to being an amazon associate, I wish I could go with a smaller, more personal company. Unfortunately not all of the media I discuss is still in print, or available in other on-line bookstores. So I've settled for completeness, although I'm not thrilled.

Sometimes the amazon links don't render properly, and you'll see an ad for amazon in general. Hit your refresh or renew button so they get it right.

When possible I link to paperbacks and (with out-of-print texts) to links with used versions available as well. Amazon gives me nothing for used sales, but what I really want is for folks to be able to find fun and fascinating books.

Also, I usually try to link to VHS rather than DVD. I consider the copyright nonsense surrounding DVDs egregious -- if I bought it, I own it, darnit! -and should be able to play it where I want.

Political rant off. ;)

Codex Firestarter

The Firestarter column will change at the beginning of each month; the most recent article will be on the Title Page. All the columns (including the most recent) are archived in the Codex. If the article is a book review you can find it for permanent bookmarking in the Library.

I'm always interested in suggestions on interesting topics to consider for future columns, or thoughtful critiques on existing Firestarters.


Please feel free to browse and enjoy the various articles I've written, or send me your thoughts on any particular one -- I like interesting new viewpoints.

If you'd like to bookmark or link to a particular review, article, or column; or e-mail a page's URL to a friend; please feel free -- I welcome thoughtful commentary. If it's the Firestarter article on the Title Page which you want to bookmark, however, you'll want to use the permanent bookmark. It can be found at the end of the article on the title page.


Personal information. I'm not good at talking about myself, but dear friends insisted my site needed some burbling by me about me... so, added on later, here it is.

Support this site!

If you enjoy reading here, and want to know how you can help keep me thinking and writing, or have a particular subject in mind, try the Support the site! page. It's all collected into one place so it's not distracting. Also, I don't want visitors to feel constantly "dunned" for money, so I include all the wonderful things I find supportive. Enjoy! ;)

Who's the woman in the background?

She's Kwan Yin, the pre-eminent and universally beloved goddess of mercy and compassion, She who hears the cries of the world, accessible to all.

She's also a reminder and an inspiration for me: a Bodhisattva, or one who delays her own full Enlightenment to work for the liberation of all beings. I find it inspiring she chose connection and involvement with her people, teaching fierce compassion and empowered service -- rather than to become the classic distant, disinterested divinity we're all so familiar (and uninvolved) with.

Here she is depicted in the Tara, or royally relaxed, pose -- a beautiful, richly dressed woman seated with one leg propped up, in a strong, commanding posture. I particularly like her this way because it's obvious she's a graceful, calmly sensual Lady with no damaging sense of shame at her own sexuality.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, she is one of the few deities to appear in multiple religions. She's also known as Quan Yin, Chenrezig, Avalokitesvara in India (who is, surprisingly, male), Guan Shih Yin in parts of China, Kannon in Japan, Kwan Um, Quan'Am in Vietnam, and Kanini in Bali. She's also very closely associated with the White Tara.


This site was handcoded myself with straight HTML and CSS, and is pretty much totally standards compliant. Unless otherwise stated, I wrote all the articles, papers, and reviews here. The original little icons were sketched with my description by Scott Ruggels and inked and colored by Jessica Hurst.

If you'd like to link to this site, feel free to use the banner or button here. Just right-click on the image you want to use, and save it onto your own machine, as it is good net etiquette to not increase bandwidth demands on others.



Also, please let me know if you choose to link with me. I'm usually happy to swap links with others, and it's always a pleasure to know someone wishes to link with a personal creation. Alternatively, if you make a new banner, I'd love to see it!