The Other Side of the Hedge: Scrying Over You

a photo of "the bean" in millenium park in chicago, illinois.

Scrying is the practice of inducing and interpreting visions. Commonly, crystal balls and magic mirrors are used. Until the last couple of years, I haven’t had much interest in scrying tools. It’s a funny thing, really; I’ve always had a hard time formally scrying; it always seemed like this intimidating practice. But, scrying isn’t that much of a mystery. [Read more...]

Star Made Witch: Witches and the Power of Storms

star made witch banner october 1

Storms are an integral natural force of the autumn season. Traditionally witches are intimate with the wild natural forces of the weather. While most folks are starting to retreat inside to the safety of home, perhaps witches are in the domain of the outdoors–their hair dripping wet with wild dark eyes–directing the wind and rain. [Read more...]

The Other Side of the Hedge: Animism and Virtue

Animism and Virtue -- © Polly Peterson (2015)

In Paganism, we spend a lot of time shouting across the chasms of meaning and misunderstanding. One of my best friends and I have been at loggerheads for about fifteen years over the most basic of assumptions about the nature of the universe. And the root of this disagreement is a simple one. You see, I’m not a Neoplatonist. [Read more...]

The Other Side of the Hedge: Animism Isn’t for Us?

A white car with pink eyelashes over its headlamps.

The animistic worldview is the red-headed stepchild of Western pagan worldviews. It finds itself mostly ignored or taken for granted. When it’s not ignored, it doesn’t get a whole lot of respect. There are some pretty good historical reasons for this, mostly having to do with what people think animism is. Whether they’re right or not is a different matter. [Read more...]

Star Made Witch

Photo Courtesy of Sara Star

In my family, the great outdoors is our church. I suppose that is animism in a nutshell. I was raised with new age ideas and practices so it wasn’t a shock to them I’m a witch. My mom just figured we’d always been weird and what’s more typical of weird people than a witch in [Read More...]

Pantheisticon: Walking (with apologies to Thoreau)

My son being very careful with a Louisiana green tree frog discovered at our community garden.

A couple of summers ago I took my Environmental Sociology students (all three of them—hey, it was summer!) on an evening walk around the lovely park across the streetcar line from our university in uptown New Orleans. We had been talking about bioregionalism, a kind of environmentalism that focuses on the importance of developing a [Read More...]