Land Spirits: When Things Go Bump

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I am leaving my little house, and the lane with the standing stone and ring fort.  I won’t be taking autumnal walks under the hazel thicket, or lounging in the arms of the blackthorn grove during winter’s darkest hours.  Instead, I will stroll under the tall heads of pecan and elm because I am returning to the sauntering arms of a Texas sunbeam.  This week I packed my first suitcase and the physicality of the act brought the reality home.  As I retreated to the cozy stone sitting room, … [Read more...]

Genital Mutilation: a question for the modern-day animist

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Ireland is in the grip of a heatwave. Temperatures hover around 25ºC, even up to 30ºC in some places (that’s 77-86ºF), and the sun shines, cloudless, in the sky. The plants in our garden are not used to this type of heat, or lack of moisture, so I have been watering. While out tending the beds and deadheading roses, I contemplated trimming back several other flowers, in the hope of spurring new growth and a second round of blooms. It was in that moment of contemplation and meditative … [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...]

Communication 101 (for witches and others): toward Place speaking

What the Irish do when a glowing orb is seen in the sky.

I had planned to write about cycles, after attending the recent International Conference on the Ulster Cycle in Belfast (notes are going up on my blog) they were on my mind; however, the on-set of summer weather here in Ireland has me outside not wanting to focus on anything, so my thoughts, such as they are, have shifted toward communication and pre-modern cycles of storytelling. I will preface this sun-fueled ramble by admitting my scant contact with the “pagan” community, or other … [Read more...]

Point to Ponder: is it all just anthropomorphizing?

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The post below was written a year ago.  I am recycling it for two reasons.  Firstly, the topic engages the recent 'fictional paganism' discussion by way of exploring a story's immediacy and connection to the lived world (and offers a glimpse into my own journey of pagan theology).  Secondly, and most importantly, I injured my finger yesterday, so am forced to type one handed--which is not fun! Reading my previous thoughts on a subject is challenging.  I am often embarrassed at … [Read more...]

An Animist’s Take on Fiction: to view or not to view

Straw Boys

Sermons from the Mound published a summary article last week titled, "Notes toward a Pagan Theology of Fiction" and referenced some of my own tangential thinking on ‘spirit’ communication, and how the mental images derived from fiction impact this.  Re-reading my cogitation offered an opportunity to consider whether my thinking had changed.  I found it had not.  In fact,  if anything, it had deepened.  My move three years ago to Ireland, a land I mythicized for years, dramatically … [Read more...]

Of Frogs and Flowers – an excerpt from Annie Dillard

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Spring has arrived in Cork, Ireland, at last!  Mild temperatures, sun, and the stunning display of flower and bud have kept me outdoors for the past several days.  I've idled away many hours swinging on the hammock, staring out toward the Knockmealdown Mountains--their shape like a woman sleeping. Or, perhaps she gazes back, her head resting on her arm, as she listens to the birds: one foot dangling, toes wrapping themselves in cool grass. I've also meandered down the lane bagging stray … [Read more...]

I’m an Animist: and what that means

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I rarely speak publicly about my spiritual practice.  This is mainly due to the intimate nature of relationship. You see, my worldview is animistic, and for me, this means I view the universe as a community of living persons, of which humans are a part.  I perceive everything within the universe, including the Universe herself, as possessing unique worldview, culture, and language (method of communication), e.g., the Ash tree near my front door is a living person, who possesses a worldview, … [Read more...]

What Place is This? Our spaceship among the stars

the pentacle surrounding our planet : video capture "Nova, Earth From Space"

Last week I pondered the geographic specificity with which ancient Irish kingship was based.  Most of us, when thinking of our "place", think in terms of the very specific, whether that be our favorite tree, back garden, neighborhood, county, province, state or country. What we rarely imagine is our place on and within the living organism of our planet, which is itself a spaceship among the stars. I am an initiate in the Faery/Feri tradition of witchcraft.  This tradition works with a … [Read more...]