Can a human being be the spirit of a place?

My Marie Laveau altar for St. John's Eve

 Marie Laveau has been on my mind of late.  Ever since I went to Mardi Gras, actually, and visited her (reputed) tomb and left a token there among the offerings left by tourists and other pilgrims. I do that sort of thing fairly often, actually, usually at the grave sites of writers I admire. (William Faulkner and Eudora Welty both like bourbon). When I went back to New Orleans recently, I stayed in a hotel, the Inn on St. Ann, that according to legend was once run by Marie Laveau as a … [Read more...]

The Queen of Fair Elfland

American Elder

             True Thomas he took off his hat, And bowed him low down to his knee: “All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven! For your peer on earth I never did see.”“O no, O no, True Thomas,” she says, “That name does not belong to me; I am but the queen of fair Elfland, And I’m come here for to visit thee. A couple of weeks ago, I made some elder flower tincture. I have done this off … [Read more...]

Dionysos in a Paving Stone, Brighid in the Broken Glass

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I stood on the corner of the street, waiting for a bus to take me from Seattle and saw a friend.  It's been awhile since I'd seen them*, and I'd never been where I was about to go, so they were a welcome sight.  After a brief embrace and a few words, we'd realized we were going to the same place, taking almost the same route.They'd never been either.  Both of our first times."Were you at Mayday last year?"They nodded.  "Yeah--last year was my political Beltaine, this year's my spi … [Read more...]

Wishful Ducklings

Mallard mama and ducklings

I thought I'd begin my sojourn as a writer for A Sense of Place with a bit of discussion of the particular place I find myself in now, and how I wound up here...Recently John Beckett asked "Where are you from?"  and relatedly, "where do you feel at home?"  I'm from north Georgia, just across the state line from where he grew up, and like him I find that glorious southern Appalachian landscape stays with me wherever I go.  But as for where my home is now...well, that's a story.Almost a ye … [Read more...]

The Garments of the Gods

Druid Grotto

We have our reasons when we travel.  Work. Vacation. Friends and family and all the rituals of life and death with which we celebrate our existences and world our stories into each other. Sometimes wanderlust or curiosity, the need for refuge.  Sometimes we flee a horrible place in hopes of security. Sometimes we travel towards a new place, one we do not yet know.I don't know if we take our gods with us, or if they are always in everyplace, but I know they often look different.  I wonder so … [Read more...]

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...]

Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Place in the City

This article is a reprisal of one of my first on Patheos.  It's my "Top 10 Tips" for cultivating a sense of Place in an urban environment; a feat that did not come easy for me.  I was reared on a family farm with hundreds of acres as my garden.  I roamed barefoot from sun-up till sun-down, engaging in more risk-taking behavior than my parents would ever want to know about!  Snake spoke to me, coyote sang his eerie song, and bobcat warned me about what happens when you meet Other, out past your be … [Read more...]


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