Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Rot

Decomposition : creative commons

In Ireland,  the chthonic energy of decay is experienced as Crom Dubh, the dark, bent one who takes the grain under the ground.  He was a sacrificial god heavily associated with Lughnasadh.  In fact, while many Irish people may never have heard of the ‘festival of Lughnasadh’ (apart from the movie), they have certainly heard of Crom Dubh’s Day: Dé Domhnaigh Crum-Dubh.  This is a day of pilgrimage to the high places: a custom maintained with the yearly climb of Croagh Patrick.  More anciently, Cro … [Read more...]

Cycles of Cultural Destruction

As I drove my mom's car South from her home towards my son's winery, I enjoyed the beauty of Eastern Washington while my mom read articles to me from the collection I'd recently added to Pocket. I didn't expect her to be interested in the Pagan articles, but she surprised me by reading Echoes of an Older God, a post about Arthur as a Pagan deity. As she read that post and we drove through miles of wide open American land, my thoughts wandered off to the problem of colonialism, empire builders, … [Read more...]

Beauty In Other People’s Faith

Quilts rest on the backs of pews at Peace Lutheran Church in Colfax, Washington, USA, before a special service to bless them and send them out to people in need.

I sat in the back of Peace Lutheran Church this past Sunday, a guest along with my mother in a religious space that is not our own. I was there to support my mom. She was there as part of a special blessing over quilts that she had helped make.Quilts the community had made before were sent to refugees of the conflict in Syria and to evacuees from Hurricane Sandy, and each time the community sent another batch out into the world, they made sure to say a special blessing over the quilts and … [Read more...]

Getting clear about my place: the uses of withdrawal

The view to the east from our house.

Recently I read a blog post by Michael Taft at HuffPost, called Take Your Body With You. In it, he talks about the importance of his physicality and sexuality to his spiritual path, and how he believes his commitment to celibacy and giving up all the bodily pleasures he enjoyed so much as a younger man in an effort to reach his spiritual goals was deeply wrong-headed.As a Pagan, I agree wholeheartedly about the sacredness of the body, of sex and of pleasure, and of the vital importance of … [Read more...]

Naturalizing: Bringing Our Practice Home

mid_druids

My years in Ireland were like graduate school.  They challenged my thoughts on spirituality, witchcraft, and culture.  While living outside my culture of origin, I chose to drop my identifiers and preconceived ideas.  I sought to experience my culture of residence with fresh eyes and an insider perspective.  Irish mythology and folklore have shaped much of our understanding, and practice of paganism.  The very names used for significant seasonal celebrations are influenced by Irish language and c … [Read more...]

Scent is a magic carpet

Mischa and his enormous nose, when he was just a few months old.

I often wonder what my dog smells, when we're out walking. Dogs have a sense of smell fourteen times stronger than that of humans, yet Mischa will stick his nose as far up against a scent as possible.Scent and the sense of smell used to be a huge part of my life. I became fascinated with perfumes and essential oils in my late teens, then later trained as an aromatherapist. I honed my sense of smell to a tool of great accuracy and sensitivity. But now, constant low level clogging of my … [Read more...]

Connecting with the sound of place

Hollow the Tawny Owl looking into the sun

Our dog, Mischa, has a love/hate relationship with the local tawny owls. Their cries send him into paroxysms of, well, I'm not entirely sure what, but he certainly gets excited. He goes on high alert, rushes up and down the stairs, and barks in a confused attempt to communicate with these weird not-dogs.Tawnies are the owls which give us the famous "toowit, toowoo". The "toowit" - or more accurately "kuweet" - is the female's call, and the "toowoo" - or more accurately "hoo-hooo" - is … [Read more...]


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