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...]

The ordinary, everyday occult knowledge of herbs, flowers and beasts

A bottle of honeysuckle cordial (pink) and a bottle of meadowseet cordial, both made this last weekend.

In the third in my series relating the content of Christine Hoff Kraemer's book on Pagan theologies, Seeking the Mystery, to my own sense of place and spiritual practice, I'm considering 'occult' knowledge, or gnosis.As Christine's writing emphasises, Pagans' knowledge in relation to theology, religious devotion and spiritual practice is largely based in experience, rather than in text. The experience of mystery may come through devotional practice, and from that experience may come … [Read more...]

How a valley in Scotland changed my theology

Our favourite walk, c. 2001.

Not long ago, Christine Hoff Kraemer, editor of the Pagan channel here at Patheos.com, published a book about Pagan theologies, or, more accurately, about being a day to day Pagan theologian. It's called Seeking the Mystery, and for the next few weeks, I'll be exploring my sense of place through its insights and suggested activities, one chapter at a time.The first chapter gives a brief but thorough introduction to the language of theology - the "-isms" and belief systems that make up the … [Read more...]

She cries: Summer Solstice in Scotland

The view from my office window earlier today. Yes, that is a hawthorn covered in 'May' blossom.

Early this morning was the moment of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. Happy Solstice one and all!This past week has held more sunny days than I think we've had all year so far in my neck of the woods. Usually, Oengus shows us his glowing face from mid-April to the summer solstice, off and on. This year, as far as the hawthorns are concerned, it may as well still be Beltaine. Instead of spring, we've had a protracted winter, which is only now warming into something more … [Read more...]

Being in nature

Common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum). Image by JerryL2008 used under Creative Commons License.

My Paganism is very much a 'nature' religion. I find my connection with myself, other beings, and Life through what most of us think of as 'natural' environments. Regardless of my desire to become an urban as well as a rural Witch, I can't see that changing any time soon. But why?I gained some insight into that question this morning.We've been in our 'temporary' accommodation for well over a year now, but I've only just discovered a good spot for my devotions: through a gate, up a path, … [Read more...]

Place and vulnerability

Bella - Clayfields Chynna Moon - near the end of her life

The conversation here and elsewhere at Patheos Pagan on how fiction, stories and popular entertainment relate to our sense of place and spirituality has been rich and provoking, and I'm reluctant to move to more parochial concerns, but I have to tell you, the facts of last weekend are quite sufficient for me.To start with, a week of feeling out of sorts culminated in excruciating abdominal pain, which the locum GP diagnosed as 'grumbling appendix'. A couple of days later, when that was … [Read more...]

Knowing our places, inside and out

mop

T. Thorn Coyle's book Make Magic of Your Life might not, at first glance, look like it will have much in it of relevance to Pagans seeking to connect with the land beneath their feet, and the all-species tribe which it supports. The book focuses on desire and making desires into reality, taking the reader on a journey with the four powers of the Sphinx: to know, to will, to dare and to keep silent, and a fifth power, the power to manifest.It is an excellent book, filled with illuminating … [Read more...]


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