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...]

The Intersection of People and Place

Dizzy the Border Collie

Late last week a friend and I went out together to walk her dog. We went to Queens Park, the same park I've described here a few times before. This was the first time in a year or maybe more that I went to that park with someone. Usually I go alone, walk around a bit, and stop at one of my favourite spots to meditate.This was a social visit, and I didn't expect to have any sort of spiritual insight about it. Spirit is clever about laying in surprises when you least expect them. I thought I … [Read more...]

Scent is a magic carpet

Mischa and his enormous nose, when he was just a few months old.

I often wonder what my dog smells, when we're out walking. Dogs have a sense of smell fourteen times stronger than that of humans, yet Mischa will stick his nose as far up against a scent as possible.Scent and the sense of smell used to be a huge part of my life. I became fascinated with perfumes and essential oils in my late teens, then later trained as an aromatherapist. I honed my sense of smell to a tool of great accuracy and sensitivity. But now, constant low level clogging of my … [Read more...]

Stonehenge for Visitors and Armchair Travelers

Image of Stonehenge

So much of magick is about synchronicities. Here's a sweet one: James O. Davies book A Year at Stonehenge is set to come out on November 1 and Stonehenge itself is getting a new visitor center on December 18. That gives you a month and a half of staring at beautiful pictures and fantasizing about your visit before you can see the real thing with the full museum experience. The book's publisher sent me a review copy, and when I sat down to look through the pages at last this week, I looked up … [Read more...]

Connecting with the sound of place

Hollow the Tawny Owl looking into the sun

Our dog, Mischa, has a love/hate relationship with the local tawny owls. Their cries send him into paroxysms of, well, I'm not entirely sure what, but he certainly gets excited. He goes on high alert, rushes up and down the stairs, and barks in a confused attempt to communicate with these weird not-dogs.Tawnies are the owls which give us the famous "toowit, toowoo". The "toowit" - or more accurately "kuweet" - is the female's call, and the "toowoo" - or more accurately "hoo-hooo" - is … [Read more...]


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