The Common Riding: Langholm’s Great Day

_44028024_langholmone

This Friday just gone was Langholm's Common Riding. Since I've lived in Eskdale, I've been both fascinated by Langholm Common Riding, and mainly stayed as far away from it as possible -- although I have been, once.It's an odd local custom, involving thousands of people, a couple of hundred horses, and an awful lot of alcohol. And for some Langholmites, it's a bigger day than Christmas.What happens on 'Langholm's Great Day'The Langholm Common Riding is held on the last Friday in July, … [Read more...]

Finding Home

View of Mt Rainer from Anderson Island

Today was a fantastic day. I did two unusual things. The first was meeting my fellow Sense of Place author Rhyd Wildermuth for the first time. The second was buying clothes. More on the second in a moment. (Trust me, it's relevant.) Rhyd and I talked about a lot of things, but the thing that stayed on my mind as I left him and set off in search of new clothes was what we discussed about Seattle as a place that we both feel we can call "home".It's not that Seattle is the absolute most … [Read more...]

My Wishlist for the Pagan Community

What would it be like for the Pagan community to be completely mainstream? Not a majority religion, but such a common minority group as to be no different from any other minority religion? For many of you reading this, I suspect that seems like a fantasy for a far off, theoretical future. From where I'm sitting, it feels like we are already there. Wherever I go, there is Pagan community of some kind. Just a few clicks and a search, and I can find an open ritual pretty much anywhere in the … [Read more...]

The Value of Communities of Place

Knit-bombed Seattle. Image by sterling 2011

Last week, stuck in the Southeastern Snowmageddon, it looked as if I might not make it to Seattle at all, but Friday morning, before the sun dared even think about creeping up over the horizon, I climbed into a taxi and rode on icy streets to the Greensboro airport. I had been rebooked for free on a series of flights one day later than I'd originally booked because of the weather. The weather was still icy, but at least it wasn't actively snowing that morning. Even so, the plane took off late. … [Read more...]

‘Big’ people are people, too.

argesar

This piece was originally published on 26th October, 2013, at my personal blog. When asked to think about how religion has changed in 2013, and how that change has affected me personally, this experience immediately came to mind. It's not about Paganism, but it is about people, and place, and community. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Doesn’t this guy look sweet? He’s Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, co-leader of Kagyu Samyé Ling Monas … [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...]

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...]


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