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 potent.  [Consider … [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...]

TED Talk: A Sense of Place

with poet Dana Gioia  … [Read more...]

Wide Angle Vision Part 1: A Useful Meditation

Photo by Elisheva Sterling. Some rights reserved. cc by sa

This is the first in a multi-part series I'm calling "Wide Angle Vision." It's a series that contrasts reductionist thinking and holistic thinking, considers the place and value of each, and then brings these ideas to bear on some aspect of a spiritual relationship to place.There are many different techniques for meditation. Some involve clearing the mind entirely. Others involve focusing on a single thing to the exclusion of all else. Others involve a discursive flow of thought, a dialog … [Read more...]

Paganism’s Messiah Complex

Red Moths

Or, the Anthropocentrism of Western PaganismOccasionally, within pagan circles, I happen across a troubling component of the western centric world view, and one that I find particularly antithetical to pagan values: anthropocentrism.  The belief that human-persons are the most significant species on the planet, plays out within paganism in subtle and tricky ways.  Most of us would balk at the outright notion that our species is superior, yet I often hear how humans have a divine role as m … [Read more...]

Traveling Toward Birth (Part 2)

passport

A few days later I had another dream. This time we were not in a bus or in a train. This time a little boy and I were on a plane. We were on our way to Thailand. We were looking at pictures in tourist magazines and talking about the things that we would do on vacation. At first the little boy wasn't all that convinced, but as we looked at the pictures and I told him about the things that I've done on vacation in the past, he began to get excited. I read him stories from the magazine, too, and … [Read more...]


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