Oiche na Sprideanna Approaches

Traditional_Irish_halloween_Jack-o'-lantern

As we approach the Irish festival of Samhain, I want to share some little known lore. Then on the eve of samain (November 1) precisely Mongfind dies.  So this is The Death of Mongfind the Banshee.  Hence samain is called by the rabble Féile Moingfhinne  "Mongfhionn's feast", for she was a witch and had magical power while she was in the flesh; wherefore women and the rabble make petitions to her on samain-eve. Stokes, Whitley (1903). Revue Celtique 24: 179 A prominent hill called Cnoc Samhna  … [Read more...]

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...]

Stories of Gods and mortals: myth and Pagan practice

The constellation of Orion, the first I learnt to associate with its Ancient Greek origin story. Picture by Mouser, used under Creative Commons license: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mouser

This is the second of my posts prompted by Christine Hoff Kraemer's book of Pagan theologies, Seeking the Mystery. In the second chapter, Kraemer's focus is on myth and its place in Pagan theologies as a source of inspiration, but also of confusion, cultural misappropriation and dogma.I've written before about how the land here, its seasons and its weather are intimately connected with the ancient stories of the Cailleach, Oengus and Bride, handed down to us in their most popular form … [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...]

Writing fiction as a spiritual practice

A path

For the last two weeks I've been writing about how reading fiction affects my sense of a place. From that side of things, I see this as an extension of folklore and the way that we use mythology and legends as guides that hold hidden messages for us on our path. The messages may be about a place, behavior, or the ways in which we might interact with the deities and other spirits. But there's another side to this experience. Creating stories is a way to process those things that you "know" … [Read more...]

A new season

Skunk_Cabbage_(7051785407)

Spring has arrived in Olympia. It's been coming, slowly, but last week the sun blazed and the blooming began in earnest. Today it has been grey and rainy all day; the forecast for the week to come is more of the same.I sat in my house today, quiet and still after a morning of errands and I listened to the rain. I have been out of the house so much more in the last week. Every week I ponder what I'll write for the coming Friday post here. I almost always think, 'I barely leave my house. What … [Read more...]

My spiritual map

nikisSpiritualMap

 I wrote last week about what my spiritual landscape might look like. I took this idea and came up with a map. It was a bolt of inspiration at 5am. It's not exact, of course. It's mythical, silly, and in no way an actual reflection of my precise journey, though it does of course reflect myself. It is also in no way an accurate reflection of any tradition. Click on the map to enlarge it. Click again and you can move around to see things close up.At the very top is Mount … [Read more...]


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