Urban Witchcraft : Spirit Roads

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... 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... Read more

The Texas Cool Season: when life rejoices!

museum in my neighborhood : replanted with native grasses While the northern latitudes just opened the Door to the dark time, the dead of winter, we Texans greeted the cool Ancestral breath that offers welcome respite.  Here in central Texas, and I can only speak to this one tiny geographical part because our state’s as big as most countries (including most of the U.S.)—now here’s a Texas Tall Tale—heck, you could fit most countries inside our... Read more

Cursed Places

There are several different curses that folklore claims upon the city of Spokane, Washington. This city is said to have at least two different “Indian curses” and at least one “Gypsy curse”, plus many, many hauntings. There is also a tale that I found about a sort of blessing on this city, in which the river rapids that were once the terror of the Natives would become the source of great wealth for the White Settlers. The town is both... Read more

Cycles of Cultural Destruction

As I drove my mom’s car South from her home towards my son’s winery, I enjoyed the beauty of Eastern Washington while my mom read articles to me from the collection I’d recently added to Pocket. I didn’t expect her to be interested in the Pagan articles, but she surprised me by reading Echoes of an Older God, a post about Arthur as a Pagan deity. As she read that post and we drove through miles of wide open American... Read more

Beauty In Other People’s Faith

I sat in the back of Peace Lutheran Church this past Sunday, a guest along with my mother in a religious space that is not our own. I was there to support my mom. She was there as part of a special blessing over quilts that she had helped make. Quilts the community had made before were sent to refugees of the conflict in Syria and to evacuees from Hurricane Sandy, and each time the community sent another batch out... Read more

Oiche na Sprideanna Approaches

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... Read more

The Place Where I’m Not Weird

Once again I find myself on the West Coast of the United States for a short while. There is something about the cultural space from about San Francisco northward and into lower British Columbia that makes me feel “normal”. This is the geographic region where, for the most part, I can be completely me without worrying that I’m saying or doing something culturally inappropriate. My tone of voice is understood within various contexts. My tendency to say nice things to... Read more

Getting clear about my place: the uses of withdrawal

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... Read more

Naturalizing: Bringing Our Practice Home

My years in Ireland were like graduate school.  They challenged my thoughts on spirituality, witchcraft, and culture.  While living outside my culture of origin, I chose to drop my identifiers and preconceived ideas.  I sought to experience my culture of residence with fresh eyes and an insider perspective.  Irish mythology and folklore have shaped much of our understanding, and practice of paganism.  The very names used for significant seasonal celebrations are influenced by Irish language and custom.  Yet what I... Read more
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