The Season of Contemplation

The season between Samhain and Yule is traditionally one of contemplation and of rest. Crops have been harvested and preserved, hay is in the barn, herds have been culled and moved to Winter pastures. The hard work of farm life is mostly done for the year and the worst of Winter is still several weeks away. We quietly look forward to the rebirth of the Light at the Solstice. Or at least that’s what happened in a pre-industrial, pre-consumerist agrarian society. Over the past few days I’ve re … [Read more...]

A Special Christmas

I am not so old and cynical I can’t remember the joy that Christmas – a traditional American Christmas – can bring to a child. Nor am I so naïve I can’t recognize that my disdain for its materialistic aspects comes from a position of privilege. I remember being six or eight or ten years old and enjoying putting up the tree, shaking presents, shopping for gifts for the rest of the family… Those were wonderful times and I would not deny them to anyone of any age. The problem is one of proportion an … [Read more...]

Gratitude Is Not Enough

If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice – Meister EckhartWith apologies to Meister Eckhart, whose life was exemplary and whose quote I have used on many occasions, gratitude is not enough.Don’t misunderstand – gratitude is important. The practice of gratitude reminds us to focus our attention on what’s right in our lives rather than on what’s wrong. What we dwell on we manifest, so it behooves us to dwell on the good in our lives. Gratitude keeps u … [Read more...]

Solstice Gifts

Cara Schulz, the excellent reporter for the Minnesota bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective, asked me for three suggestions for Nature-inspired or eco-friendly Solstice gifts for a feature they’re running later this week. I’m not sure I’m the best person to contribute to this article – while I try to live responsibly and sustainably, I don’t obsess over green. I have nothing unique or exotic to offer. But it didn’t take long for me to think of three gifts that would be welcomed by most any l … [Read more...]

Know Your Limitations

James Arthur Ray, the New Age guru who orchestrated high-dollar “spiritual warrior” retreats, was sentenced to two years in prison for the criminally negligent homicide of three people who died in one of his sweat lodges. Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore died from a combination of dehydration and other heat-related complications. Ray had consulted with Native American sweat lodge practitioners but then modified the standard lodge to make his even hotter.This should stand as a warning to … [Read more...]

Hoofprints in the Wildwood

Cernunnos. Herne. Bucca. Gwynn Ap Nudd. Pan. Maybe these are different names for the same god. Maybe they’re different gods who do similar things in different places. Maybe they’re both. In any case, the Horned God is a very old, very primal deity. He is a god of instincts, not a god of the intellect. He is the Lord of the Animals, the Hunter and the Hunted, the Lord of Death and the Lord of Life.And he is calling followers here and now. They are men and women; gay, straight, and bisexual; fr … [Read more...]

Meeting the Spirits of the Land

crossposted with No Unsacred PlaceIf you grew up watching Looney Toons (and if you didn’t you had a very deprived childhood!) you saw many stories about the collision of Nature and the modern world. Water abruptly stops flowing when a huge dam is constructed overnight. Chipmunks (or was it gophers?) get scooped up by a harvesting machine and have to escape from an automated cannery. And in 1954’s “No Parking Hare” a construction worker tries to evict a certain wabbit so a superhighway can be b … [Read more...]

The Road to Real Reform

I’ve always felt negative criticism needed to be balanced with positive suggestions. Don’t just complain about what’s wrong – explain how to make it better. All institutions and systems are human institutions and systems, meaning they’re far from perfect. Sometimes, even though a particular arrangement is flawed it’s still the best that’s possible under the circumstances. In comparison with all the current and historical systems of finance, economics and politics the current American system i … [Read more...]