Energy Signatures of Place

Over the last week and a bit I've been reading and studying the book The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It's a fabulous book, and I recommend it highly. The initial reason that it was recommended to me was as a way to take my healing practice and herbal knowledge to the next level. It has certainly done that. It has also given me some new metaphors to use for other areas of magickal work and thinking about … [Read more...]

The Train as Merkava

Train Tracks

It was two days before Thanksgiving. One of my coworkers had sent out an email late the night before asking if we all wanted to cowork in Seattle the next day. We're almost never all in the same city, so sitting in the same room for a few hours would be good. I sent a reply back that I couldn't. I was still in Chicago and wouldn't be in Seattle until Friday. I was hopping on the Empire Builder train at 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon. The next day as I was heading to a meeting right near the train … [Read more...]

Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Words

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There was a time, not so long ago, when information was shared by word of mouth.  Most of us were illiterate.  That word has such a nasty taste in the mouth now, doesn’t it?  It conjures all sorts of images, from gross ignorance to the cruel acts committed by those same ignorant individuals.  I don’t like those conjurings, so I’m going to make-up my own reference phrase (which may have been thought of already by scholars who also ponder such things).   Let’s begin again… There … [Read more...]

Urban Witchcraft: The Power of Rot

Decomposition : creative commons

In Ireland,  the chthonic energy of decay is experienced as Crom Dubh, the dark, bent one who takes the grain under the ground.  He was a sacrificial god heavily associated with Lughnasadh.  In fact, while many Irish people may never have heard of the ‘festival of Lughnasadh’ (apart from the movie), they have certainly heard of Crom Dubh’s Day: Dé Domhnaigh Crum-Dubh.  This is a day of pilgrimage to the high places: a custom maintained with the yearly climb of Croagh Patrick.  More … [Read more...]

Urban Witchcraft : Spirit Roads

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Most U.S. witches live in cities.  This probably holds true for most of the western world, since urbanization is on the rise and predicted to grow.  I recently found myself back in an urban environment.  Granted, Austin prides itself on its small town vibe, and funky eclecticism, but it’s no rural Ireland!  The sounds I hear, and the other-than-human-persons I encounter, are different.  Yet, they are still animate, and very eldritch. Since I plan for this to become a multi-part series, … [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...]

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 … [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...]

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...]

St. John’s Holy Well: east Cork [photos]

and we're off...

Down my lane is a Well.  It's an Old Well, long venerated and hallowed; a place of quiet contemplation and healing.  This Well, now dedicated to St. John, is an eye Well; it's known for its eye cures.  The rounds are held in August, they say to commemorate the beheading of St. John, but we know it was a Lughnasadh Well, don't we.  Think about it: Turas (Patron or Rounds) traditionally done at the end of August (remember, that is the date for Old Lughnasadh - before the calendar … [Read more...]