What Place is This? Our spaceship among the stars

the pentacle surrounding our planet : video capture "Nova, Earth From Space"

Last week I pondered the geographic specificity with which ancient Irish kingship was based.  Most of us, when thinking of our "place", think in terms of the very specific, whether that be our favorite tree, back garden, neighborhood, county, province, state or country. What we rarely imagine is our place on and within the living organism of our planet, which is itself a spaceship among the stars. I am an initiate in the Faery/Feri tradition of witchcraft.  This tradition works with a … [Read more...]

Snakes in the Dark: beginning to remember

Brú na Bóinne : Ireland

My feet are bare as I run through the pasture.  Calluses, built over years of refusal to wear shoes, give them a protective layer all their own.  Long, dark hair billows behind me--a knot of tangle and wave. My mind is full of one thought, one intention: Grandma’s house. I will sit at her feet and help shell peas while she tells me stories. Maybe she will comb my hair and braid it. We will sit quiet together, while the wind rustles the curtains in the breezeway and she twiddles her … [Read more...]

In Ireland, it’s all about the weather….{and flat tires}

the Ents : east Cork

In this week of turnings, feasts and festivals, time is out of time. Today feels like tomorrow's last week, or yesterday's fortnight. I'm down the rabbit-hole, pocket-watch in hand.  "I'm Late, I'm Late!" (I also just spent the day in West Cork, where we were trapped with a flat tire.  But that's another story.) It snowed here in Cork this week. The sheep in Mr. McCarthy's field were huddled in the ring fort when I went out to explore it. Their fleece blending with the white blanket … [Read more...]

Oiche Fhéile Bhríde: The Eve of St. Brighid’s Feast

Saint Brigid's Cross : © CC- 2008 Culnacreann

Tonight is perhaps one of the most celebrated in Ireland.  No, there won't be any mad parties or green beer.  Not even wild heathen drumming on the High Places.  Instead, this evening is about family, purification, and continuity of ancient practices. You see, tonight is the eve of St. Brighid’s Feast--the eve of Imbolc--and it’s a big deal.   The indigenous Irish marked the beginning of their festivals at sundown, and deemed that dark time especially potent.  [Consider how this … [Read more...]

The Work Of Our Hands: beauty, delight, and the sacred

Electric Cock : free range organic fried chicken : South Congress

The weather this week in Austin has been scrumptious!  Glorious sunny, mild days that are perfect for getting out and discovering just what makes this city sacred.  Today, on my last day, my Little Big and I went on Pilgrimage. We made our way to South Congress; home to groovy Austin art and eclecticism, where we ordered fried chicken (a southern delicacy).  We watched Hipsters and Cowboys; Freaks and Rednecks.  All are welcome on this strip of Old Austin weirdness. Any road … [Read more...]

A Place Within A Place: reconsidering what is sacred

Elisabet Ney Museum : Hyde Park : Austin, Texas

The bees are still. The wild hive in the back garden is quiet. It's cold out. A sliver of moon rides high in the sky: french tip manicure nail of beauty. The air is crisp, with hints of sycamore leaf, tobacco smoke, and steel--the numb metallic smell when too cold air is breathed in through the nostrils. This week, winter weather dances over Austin. As dusk deepens, I walk to one of the neighborhood coffee shops. A faint glow graces the horizon. Porch lights are on. Colored bulbs drip … [Read more...]

What lurks at the bottom of your garden? {Yeats, faeries, and the Irish occult tradition}

Faeries in a mountain cavern : Æ : image Lissadell House

Ireland is a land awash in folklore.  Like waves crashing upon its shores, the stories create a rhythmic backdrop for life. They seep into the fabric of Being and are part of the island's DNA.  I return to Ireland in two weeks--in time to weave my Imbolc solar crosses. With returning on my mind, I share this juicy tidbit from R. F. Foster: Foster was born in Waterford and educated in both Ireland and the United States. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he subsequently became … [Read more...]

Place-Based Practice: or dancing with the one who brung ya

Barton Creek

My transition to a localized Place-based practice began when I bumped into someone. You see, while my childhood relationship with Place had been specific to the farm and its immediate environs, which were geographically contained and local, my adult experience had been shaped like most of us: from books. When I discovered there was such a thing as "witchcraft" it was a moment of awakening. Learning that others, who practiced the same sorts of charms and healing I had been taught by my … [Read more...]

Happy Festivities! now for light reading

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As the festive season winds down, and we slide toward secular New Year, I leave you with a bit of follow-up reading.  In my last post I offered 10 Tips for cultivating place in the city.  Within that post I mention some ideas that were revolutionary for me.  Crafting a ritual year unique to my locale and beginning to work with a Place specific mythos (which I often had to create) propelled my spirituality forward in unexpected ways.  In the weeks to come I will dive into these topics, … [Read more...]

Traci’s Top 10: Tips For Cultivating Place In The City

Mrs. Eberly and her cannon : Austin, Texas

My return to the U.S. last week felt disconcerting, but it's rarely a smooth transition.  The transatlantic flight leaves the body tired and the souls displaced.  Confronting American culture feels loud and intrusive.  Arriving on the day of the Connecticut shootings meant that news of the heart-wrenching tragedy blared from screens throughout the airport. I sent prayers for the suffering; however, I did not wish to listen to the sensationalized reporting. I searched for a space to rest and … [Read more...]