Top Ten Books of 2013

Rebecca Sutherland illustrates a story from 'The Bloody Chamber'

I read a lot. These days I read a lot for reviews, almost entirely non-fiction, or to my kids. Occasionally I'll post reviews of books that I have chosen to read, ones I think are particularly significant. However, I've read a lot of really good stuff this year that I haven't written reviews for. Here is a selection of books that got me fired up this year. Note: These are not ranked in any order of preference, and they may or may not have been released in 2013. Fiction The Bloody … [Read more...]

Health, part 1

Warning: This post has nothing to do with Paganism or Hinduism or magic. This time of year everyone is writing on Halloween and Samhain (I'll get there). However, health is a topic that is really important to me. I am an American with lousy health insurance. I have a family of young children and another on the way. These two things make maintaining my health a priority. Good health is also a political act. Working with an herbalist, choosing not to eat junk food or eschewing television for … [Read more...]

Maxim Monday: Shun Murder

This is another maxim that at first glance seems so obvious as to warrant only a sentence. Yet, this maxim has several dimensions worth considering. The most surface level is: don't murder other people. I can say that I have never murdered anyone and have no intentions of ever doing so. Done and dusted, right? Not so fast. Plenty of vegans and vegetarians suggest that eating meat is murder. I absolutely see that point, and I render it null and void. All creatures need to eat. Humans are … [Read more...]

Ganesh Chaturthi

Yesterday was Ganesh Chaturthi - the first day of a ten (or so) day festival celebrating the birthday of Ganesh. In India this is a huge festival! Many people make murtis (statues) of Ganesh out of clay and then submerge and dissolve them in local rivers. There is no Hindu community in my town with which to celebrate, and I have no interest in crafting a statue (maybe next year?), so my household celebrated by basically having a bit of a birthday party for Ganesh. I set up the altar on … [Read more...]

Harvest in the Pacific Northwest

At the beginning of August many of my Pagan friends celebrated the first harvest, commonly known as Lammas or Lughnasadh (from the Celtic calendar system). That observance has never meant much to me. I am not a farmer, and have spent precious little time in places where early August means first fruits of any kind. Now in Washington, it means the height of summer, and I spend my summer time waiting for the days to cool. As August passed I began to have half-formed thoughts of salmon. Had my … [Read more...]

Sacrifice

The ever provocative Sam Webster posted about sacrifice this week at his biweekly blog on Patheos. Many people seemed off put at the idea of animal sacrifice, but Mr Webster spoke about the many different kinds of offerings and sacrifices that can be made. I think sacrifice is important - especially for modern Western people. What is sacrifice? It is a giving of something precious, something that 'feeds' the gods or spirits, but I also view it as a gift. A simple gift might be on par with … [Read more...]

Out with the old!

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my leaving the UK and arriving in Olympia. This has been a big, exhausting, amazing year for me. I have learned so much. Let me share with you: *I have an irrational love of the British Isles. The land there feels good to me in a way that makes no sense. It took me a good 2/3 of my year to stop waking up missing the Welsh sky. *When you follow the magic, the Current, the flow, whatever you choose to call it, it will not disappoint. *I have … [Read more...]


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