The Song of the Other

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Alder staff in hand, boot-shod feet sore from several days of hard-trudging, I walked slowly through fading day of the fleeting summer to the tiny village of Sainte-Barbe. To my left the sea and descending sun, to my right the fields of gorse and grass concealing ancient standing stones, and always ahead the image of my destination--its wind-worn spire rising steadily in the distance.In the village, I shook off my boots and hooded tunic, laid my staff against an old stone wall and entered … [Read more...]

Returning To America : Place As Cultural Experience

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Each time I return from abroad, I am struck by just how different things are here in ‘Murica.  Spaces are large, cars move fast, and people are pointy.  Life in the U.S. is like an oil painting, with layered color, defined texture, and not-so-subtle edges.  Contrast this with the watercolor world that is Ireland, where I have lived for the past three years, and suddenly the two cultures, though shaped and influenced by shared or similar values and forces, appear at polar ends of a cultural spec … [Read more...]

Land Spirits: When Things Go Bump

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I am leaving my little house, and the lane with the standing stone and ring fort.  I won’t be taking autumnal walks under the hazel thicket, or lounging in the arms of the blackthorn grove during winter’s darkest hours.  Instead, I will stroll under the tall heads of pecan and elm because I am returning to the sauntering arms of a Texas sunbeam.  This week I packed my first suitcase and the physicality of the act brought the reality home.  As I retreated to the cozy stone sitting room, to process … [Read more...]

Boots Across Ireland: Liosnabroc ringfort {video}

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Liosnabroc (Fort of the Badger - anglicized as Lisnabrock) is a ringfort located in the townland of Templebodan, east Cork.  The ring is found labeled on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map.  Like the majority of ringforts in Ireland, Liosnabroc opens to the NE -- offering a lovely view of the Knockmealdown and Galtee mountain ranges.  I am privileged to live next door to this active and beautiful Lios.Ringforts were constructed mainly from the Iron Age into the early Medieval period (800 BCE  to ~1 … [Read more...]

Aliens on our own planet? What science fiction and space exploration can teach us about our sense of place.

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I’m not only a Pagan, but also a science fiction fan. I read a lot of Stargate: Atlantis fan fiction in my downtime. A frequently recurring theme in these stories is that the planet that the SGA1 team emerge onto is a small, agricultural culture, with no word, in their own language, for the planet they live on. To the SGA team, the place they arrive in is a specific spot on a planet with a specific designation. To the local people, it’s just the place where they live: their place.The mov … [Read more...]

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 d … [Read more...]

Mending the tears in a displaced life

The Cumbrian countryside rushing past

As I write this blog post, I'm sitting on a train. I've spent a lot of time travelling, this Imbolctide. I spent the weekend with friends in Edinburgh, celebrating the festival with food and crafts and ritual. Now I’m heading south to Birmingham for my grandmother’s funeral.I never met her, at least, not that I remember. I and my father and step-mother had talked off and on over the past few years about me visiting her in her nursing home, but in the end, it seemed too odd, to introduce a new … [Read more...]


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