When water is cut off: from Cochabamba to Detroit, by way of my bathroom

Spring water catch box

In the mid-1990s, the water services of Cochabamba, a town in Bolivia, were taken over by the subsidiary of a trans-national corporation, Bechdel. Water bills rose at an astounding rate, and people were charged even for collecting rainwater from their own roofs.The people revolted.Despite pressure from both private and public security services, the people of Cochabamba won through in 1995, and made a declaration -- reiterating, in more earth-centred language, the UN's declaration of … [Read more...]

The power of the song thrush: life, death and the feast of St. John

Image by Jose Sousa, used under Creative Commons license.

"'Twas on the twenty-fourth of June Oh, as I sat weaving all at my loom, 'Twas on the twenty-fourth of June Oh, as I sat weaving all at my loom, I heard a thrush, singing on yon bush, And the song she sang was the jug of punch."These words are the first verse of a traditional Irish drinking song, The Jug of Punch, in its simplest form. I'm thinking of it today, St. John's Eve. The feast of St. John, celebrated on the 23rd and 24th June, is a Christian gloss over the celebration of the … [Read more...]

On the Hearth and the Un-Hearthed

Whoville, Eugene, Oregon (photo by Alley Valkyrie)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow olderThe world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicatedOf dead and living. Not the intense momentIsolated, with no before and after,But a lifetime burning in every momentAnd not the lifetime of one man onlyBut of old stones that cannot be deciphered.--T.S. Eliot, "East Coker" The Hearth as Place I've had many homes, and have also been homeless for short periods of time.  I've lived in crowded houses with up to eight others (I know some people are … [Read more...]

Display, Filter, Conceal

The Lady of Shalott (W.M. Egley)

Five months ago, I embarked on a pilgrimage to Bretagne, following strange, haunting dreams I’d had for months before, seeking something I wasn’t certain I’d find.  I did find them, and more--I found the physical realities of those visions, saw things I’d glimpsed in ritual space, and had even more haunting dreams while there which I’m still trying to unravel. And it was all beautiful, and I wish I could show you what I saw, but...I lost my camera.During the middle of a 10-hour hike along the … [Read more...]

The Liberation of the Earth

Familiar to Anarchists and Witches...

“It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.”--Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under SocialismIn the light of the crescent moon she creeps in, hooded in black.  It’s late, and hardly anyone would be awake.  The darkness is her friend, her ally, and it is best to stalk in silence.  Slipping under the fence, her jeans and sweatshirt covered in dust and fallen leaves, she gaze … [Read more...]

Capitalism and the Spirit of Place

My home for 13 years

Thirteen years ago, after a short stint of homelessness, I moved into a house which was to become my home for most of my adult life.I have stories of the place, for a place is not just a background or setting for a story, but it is a story in itself. Sun-soaked evenings upon a porch overlooking a lake and the mountains, clinging to the edge of the most interesting and living neighborhood in Seattle. Strangers would stop and stare, take photos and wave, sometimes look longingly, sometimes … [Read more...]

Sharing Your Home

For some Pagans, the first thing to do before moving into a new home or shortly after is to cleanse the house and try to rid it of unwelcome ghosts, spirits, fae, or any of the spiritual residue of previous inhabitants. The beliefs of the Pagan may differ about what they are clearing out, but there is a general belief held by many that whatever is there needs to go before you can make the home your own. I'd like to offer a different view on the subject, and suggest that it is worth opening … [Read more...]


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