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 Tex … [Read more...]

The Past is a Place We Still Inhabit

Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain (CC Manuel González Olaechea y Franco)

...what allows historians to historicize the medieval or the ancient is the very fact these worlds are never completely lost.  We inhabit their fragments even when we classify ourselves as modern and secular.--Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe As I've stated before, the disenchantment of the earth is not only something that happens "to us," but something which occurs through us, whether conscious or not.  Recognizing our complicity in the disenchantment of the  world is essential if … [Read more...]

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

Tomorrow night 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, the evening is about family, purification, and continuity of ancient practice.You see, the last night of January 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 … [Read more...]

Paganism’s Messiah Complex

Red Moths

Or, the Anthropocentrism of Western PaganismOccasionally, within pagan circles, I happen across a troubling component of the western centric world view, and one that I find particularly antithetical to pagan values: anthropocentrism.  The belief that human-persons are the most significant species on the planet, plays out within paganism in subtle and tricky ways.  Most of us would balk at the outright notion that our species is superior, yet I often hear how humans have a divine role as m … [Read more...]

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...]

Urban Witchcraft : Spirit Roads

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Most U.S. witches live in cities.  This probably holds true for most of the western world, since urbanization is on the rise and predicted to grow.  I recently found myself back in an urban environment.  Granted, Austin prides itself on its small town vibe, and funky eclecticism, but it’s no rural Ireland!  The sounds I hear, and the other-than-human-persons I encounter, are different.  Yet, they are still animate, and very eldritch.Since I plan for this to become a multi-part series, let me … [Read more...]

Cursed Places

There are several different curses that folklore claims upon the city of Spokane, Washington. This city is said to have at least two different "Indian curses" and at least one "Gypsy curse", plus many, many hauntings. There is also a tale that I found about a sort of blessing on this city, in which the river rapids that were once the terror of the Natives would become the source of great wealth for the White Settlers. The town is both rich and poor. It is a place of creativity and of … [Read more...]


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