Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Words

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There was a time, not so long ago, when information was shared by word of mouth.  Most of us were illiterate.  That word has such a nasty taste in the mouth now, doesn’t it?  It conjures all sorts of images, from gross ignorance to the cruel acts committed by those same ignorant individuals.  I don’t like those conjurings, so I’m going to make-up my own reference phrase (which may have been thought of already by scholars who also ponder such things).   Let’s begin again…There was a time, not … [Read more...]

Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Rot

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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...]

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...]

London Calling: connecting with big cities

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Last week I was in London.  It was my first real visit to the city (layovers at the airport don’t count), and I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.  I wanted to see ALL the things, have ALL the experiences, and, probably somewhere deep in my heart, I wanted London to rub off on me.  So many British cultural icons emerged from London that the city itself has become iconic.  It represents an idea of ‘coolness’, a playground for ‘cutting-edge’ artists and cultural creatives at the fore of s … [Read more...]

The puzzle of the Mother of Modern Witchcraft — a village witch who lived in a tower block

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It's almost a fortnight now since Doreen Valiente - author, poet, and hailed as the Mother of Modern Witchcraft - was honoured by the public unveiling of a 'blue plaque' at her place of residence, campaigned for and paid for by the efforts of The Centre for Pagan Studies.Blue plaques are permanent - and rather lovely - signs mounted on buildings to commemorate famous, important or influential people who lived or worked there.You might think, being one of founders of Wicca, and … [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...]


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