The Vocabulary of Spiritual Practice, part 1

The Kitchen Shrine

Humans like boundaries and definitions. We like order. Understanding what something is or is not happens early on in our development and helps us to make sense of the world. I learn a lot about humanity by watching my kids. When infants and older babies, there is no male or female, no boy or girl. There are only people that are safe. Once self-awareness begins somewhere in the third and fourth years (2 or 3) noticing body parts and differences, as well as growing a vocabulary for explaining … [Read more...]

Expanding My Horizons


Many years ago I spent an extended period of time only reading works and listening to music by women. The male voice is overwhelmingly dominant in our society. Surrounding myself exclusively with women's voices and perspectives was soothing, inspiring, and very clarifying. I have decided that I needed to reset my perspective and do the same with race. The white experience is overwhelmingly dominant in our society. It doesn't help that I am and my world is overwhelmingly white. It's time to … [Read more...]

Preparation for Practice

My kala cup/chalice. It used to be part of a pair. My mother bought them in Israel around 1970.

[This is the second in a series on practice. Read part one here.]How do we prepare to practice?Sometimes the preparation is the practice; sometimes it's an important precursor to the practice.I talked a lot yesterday about the grounding and aligning I do as part of my breath work. I do that before and after almost everything I do: prayers, offerings, meditation, trance, ritual, etc. Grounding and aligning is the preparation for further work and is the work itself.The Feri/Faery … [Read more...]

Foundations of Practice

The Kitchen Shrine

River Devora has a monthly meeting for discussion among polytheists at her house. Those of us far away can attend online, which I did the first month, and will do again. Yesterday's gathering was all about practice. I wasn't able to attend (virtually or otherwise) as I was singing my heart out at the third and final choir performance of Dvorak's Mass in D and Fauré's Requiem. I was, however, able to see the list of questions that were discussed and I'd like to use it for blog fodder. The topic … [Read more...]

Kindred Spirits


I have a gully. Some people have a forest, I have a gully. It's only about 7 blocks from my house. The deep gully has houses lining the tops of the sides. People walk, run and bike through it. But it's the wildest, greenest space that I can get to without driving.I've been needing to get out more. Get offline. Get away from the bills and to-do lists. I've been taking the kids for walks up and down it, almost daily. This piece of land and I are taking our relationship to the next level, from … [Read more...]

What If We’re Just Making It All Up?

Stella Marrs

Can I tell you a secret? Something I rarely say out loud, something I often wonder might be the elephant in the room?Sometimes, when things have been quiet or hard, sometimes when I feel overwhelmed with all the doing, I wonder, "What if we're just making it all up?"What do I mean by "all"? I mean, the gods, the spirits, the striving, the masks and nuances, the performances of normality and culture: all of it.Fake It Til You Make ItHow many of us go through our lives feeling … [Read more...]

The Annunciation as Divine Spring

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation

[This is something I wrote ten years ago, fresh out of graduate school. I still like it, and hope you do too.]Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)Today is the Annunciation, the day that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would be with child, that his name was to be Jesus, and he would be the Son of God. In many ways, this story can be seen as just another hokey tale made up by late-to-the-gospel-game Luke. Perhaps like Dan Brown, Luke was inspired by a previous story and needed to … [Read more...]