Creating a Place-Based Practice

my Little Bigs at Pedernales Falls

On the second dark moon of January, a group of 9 gathered in my front garden. We sought uncharted territory; in fact, were willing to risk vulnerability to find it.  The group of explorers met to carefully plan the expedition.  We knew the journey might stretch every resource and tool we possessed, yet we were  drawn to try–to dare.  For there, in my front garden that night, was the first meeting of an advanced working group committed to discovering the Place specific spirituality of Central Texas.

The background and expertise of the group was varied, but we shared a few things in common: a dissatisfaction with the ‘traditional’ seasonal wheel that clearly did not sync with our lived (place-based) experience, a deep desire to meet and work with the Powers of our specific Place, and a willingness (even desire) to listen for or create new tools and practices that matched our experiential discoveries. We were, in a real sense, willing to craft a Place-based cultus.

Our group identified a few areas of import, ones we felt were vital to our work. The first was developing, or honing, our observation skills, seeing again the landscape around us–which for most of us is urban–and looking with new eyes. Many committed to taking notes of significant occurrence, i.e., the cycle of plants, bird calls and flight patterns, celestial positions, etc.  The second was a willingness and ability to use our witchcraft tools–or the tools of mindfulness and meditation–to facilitate deep listening, and a form of possession with/of the living land around us and the Powers we may encounter.

The third, and perhaps most important, was naming the need to build a secure, trusting container so we each felt safe expressing and acting upon impulses that may deviate from our previous Craft experience. Since the practices most of us had been taught were built on a largely European model, we surmised that energies/beings/Powers/Persons we encounter in North America–a continent away from the Euro-centric myths we all know–and specially central Texas, could feel different, express themselves differently, or generally interact with our energies in ways unique and different. With this in mind, we wanted to build trust in the group in order to enable the free expression and exploration of these fresh encounters.

Our group will meet monthly, and I hope to have many good things to share once the expedition is under way.

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”

About Traci

Traci Laird is an animist living in Ireland and hails from the great state of Texas (a mythic heritage she is quite proud of!).  Her current academic pursuits are in Sociology and Psychology, and she engages a “sensuous scholarship” when seeking to understand Place.  She can also be found at Confessions of a Hedge Witch

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