Creating a Place-Based Practice

my Little Bigs at Pedernales Falls

On the second dark moon of January, a group of 9 gathered in my front garden. We sought uncharted territory; in fact, were willing to risk vulnerability to find it.  The group of explorers met to carefully plan the expedition.  We knew the journey might stretch every resource and tool we possessed, yet we were  drawn to try--to dare.  For there, in my front garden that night, was the first meeting of an advanced working group committed to discovering the Place specific spirituality of … [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...]

The Place of Death.

Photo by Anne Burgess

Two weeks ago a friend of mine was feeling unwell. She'd been under a lot of stress. She was prone to anxiety at the best of times, but at that point she was overwhelmed completely. That Sunday she'd collapsed in the park while she walked her dog. She thought that she'd fainted from a panic attack. A neighbour helped her back to her 3rd floor apartment. The next day, she reached out to friends to ask for help with walking her dog and dealing with other practical matters while she tried to get … [Read more...]

Wide Angle Vision Part 3: Ignoring the Impacts

While reading The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines for Life on Earth recently, I found myself shocked at how I'd completely ignored the ecological impacts of modern medicine on the environment. The book goes into great detail about how the concentrated chemicals that make up pharmaceuticals end up in our water and air, in some cases excreted from the human body absolutely unchanged. Buhner points to a whole range of environmental problems triggered by modern … [Read more...]

Oiche Fhéile Bhríde: The Eve of St. Brighid’s Feast

Tomorrow night is perhaps one of the most celebrated in Ireland.  No, there won’t be any mad parties or green beer; not even wild heathen drumming on the High Places.  Instead, the evening is about family, purification, and continuity of ancient practice. You see, the last night of January is the eve of St. Brighid’s Feast–the eve of Imbolc–and it’s a big deal.   The indigenous Irish marked the beginning of their festivals at sundown, and deemed that dark time especially … [Read more...]

A Pagan Goes To FreezerBurn

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This weekend I attended FreezerBurn, one of the regional burns inspired by Burning Man, the annual art event and temporary community held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  The local event I attended was about an hour outside Austin, on a piece of property full of Post Oak and Mesquite, with a little creek meandering along its perimeter, and acre upon acre of ingenious human creativity. It was my first Burn, but because I know other Burners (what people in the community call themselves, or … [Read more...]

Wide Angle Vision Part 2: Missing The Variables

Dice

A few weeks ago, I saw this video on my Twitter feed. At first, I was excited to see something that would talk about the way that our biases leak into our math, but instead I was annoyed to find that the video actually showed the opposite problem. What I see in this video is a tendency toward the sort of reductionism that gets in the way of broader understanding. We have a woman who studied philosophy in college and was politically active at the time. Now she's a bank teller. Someone says … [Read more...]


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