Genital Mutilation: a question for the modern-day animist

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Ireland is in the grip of a heatwave. Temperatures hover around 25ºC, even up to 30ºC in some places (that’s 77-86ºF), and the sun shines, cloudless, in the sky. The plants in our garden are not used to this type of heat, or lack of moisture, so I have been watering. While out tending the beds and deadheading roses, I contemplated trimming back several other flowers, in the hope of spurring new growth and a second round of blooms. It was in that moment of contemplation and meditative stillness th … [Read more...]

Communication 101 (for witches and others): toward Place speaking

What the Irish do when a glowing orb is seen in the sky.

I had planned to write about cycles, after attending the recent International Conference on the Ulster Cycle in Belfast (notes are going up on my blog) they were on my mind; however, the on-set of summer weather here in Ireland has me outside not wanting to focus on anything, so my thoughts, such as they are, have shifted toward communication and pre-modern cycles of storytelling.I will preface this sun-fueled ramble by admitting my scant contact with the “pagan” community, or other wit … [Read more...]

Syncretism: An Immigrant’s Path

Diversity Quilt, Image by Oregon Department of Transportation, click to see on Flickr.

Finding the spirit and flow of the place where I am is an important part of my spiritual practice, but not every practice I hold is specific to place. Just as I eat foreign foods and local dishes, and just as I say uniquely Scottish words with an obvious California accent, my practice is blend of here and there. My practice has always been a bit of a blend of things, certainly in my adult life, but even in my childhood I had an internal religion that did not map exactly to the conservative … [Read more...]

When the Sun Stands Still: Summer Solstice in Ireland

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The light, gold, like the deep raw honey of summer, washes the front garden.  The sun rests just over the eastern ridge, risen less than 30 minutes, but the first light, the uncanny gold--like a crown--wakes me.  This mysterious morning light rouses me every time, every year.  By half five I am called out of my warm bed to crawl, on all fours, to the low cottage window and peer sleepily out at the waking world.In truth, it may be the dawn chorus that stirs me from my slumber with its song.  M … [Read more...]

Review: Thinking Wild

Thinking-Wild-Its-Gifts-of-Insight

Theo Grutter is man who likes to think creatively. He is a man who seeks to find the truth of every moment, every place, every interaction. He approaches each interaction with any thing - the sea, a bird, wild grass, his wife, etc - as a direct and intimate encounter. To my ears, he sounds as though he would be an amazing dinner guest, weaving stories, listening deeply, offering off-beat insights from his long life at sea, both in Sitka, Alaska and San Blas, Mexico.I had hoped for more … [Read more...]

The Sacred Springs of South West England

the Tor : Glastonbury

My eldest daughter is visiting, and this usually means one thing...road trip!  So this past weekend we toured south west England and Wales, visiting the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff; the Isle of Avalon in Glastonbury; Durdle Door on the Dorset coast; Stonehenge; and the city of Bath.  We had unusually sunny weather for our visit, and in the midst of that summer sun profusion the spirit of the waters touched my heart.I visited Glastonbury many years ago.  I hiked the Tor, slept in the … [Read more...]

Point to Ponder: is it all just anthropomorphizing?

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The post below was written a year ago.  I am recycling it for two reasons.  Firstly, the topic engages the recent 'fictional paganism' discussion by way of exploring a story's immediacy and connection to the lived world (and offers a glimpse into my own journey of pagan theology).  Secondly, and most importantly, I injured my finger yesterday, so am forced to type one handed--which is not fun!Reading my previous thoughts on a subject is challenging.  I am often embarrassed at my in … [Read more...]


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