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 rich and poor. It is a place of creativity and of … [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 land, my thoughts wandered off to the problem of colonialism, empire builders, … [Read more...]

Beauty In Other People’s Faith

Quilts rest on the backs of pews at Peace Lutheran Church in Colfax, Washington, USA, before a special service to bless them and send them out to people in need.

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 into the world, they made sure to say a special blessing over the quilts and … [Read more...]

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...]

The Place Where I’m Not Weird

Sea Creatures.  Art in Beacon Hill Light Rail Station, Seattle, Washington

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 people -- including total … [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...]

Naturalizing: Bringing Our Practice Home

mid_druids

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 c … [Read more...]


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