In Praise of the Wheel of the Year

Druid Wheel of the Year by Dana Wiyninger

One of the first things I learned when I began exploring Paganism back in the early 1990s was the Wheel of the Year, the eight seasonal celebrations that are the sabbats of Wicca and the high days of Druidry. The Wheel was presented as the re-establishment of ancient Celtic holidays marking the agricultural cycle. The eight festivals were a way to reconnect to the land and to our pre-Christian ancestors and a an opportunity to celebrate being Pagan.I had trouble with the high days when I was … [Read more...]

Rewilding: Privilege and Reality

SPI 2011 60

As a polytheist I acknowledge all Goddesses and Gods, I honor and work with several, and I am formally dedicated to two. Of all those deities, Cernunnos is first. He has been with me since before I knew who – and what – He is, and I pray to Him every night. His is the first in my evening cycle of prayers.Like most of the Old Gods, He is not a jealous deity. I’ve spent much of the last three months in service to the Gods of Egypt and the Gods of Greece and I have neither heard nor felt the fir … [Read more...]

Rewilding Our World

Yukon sled dogs

George Monbiot has a TED talk titled “For more wonder, rewild the world.” He tells how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park has had a dramatic and positive effect on the entire ecosystem. Wolves reduced the number of deer, which allowed overgrazed lands to recover, which allowed trees to grow thicker and taller, which supported increased populations of birds, which has supported a general recovery of biological diversity in the park. The talk is good and worth the 15 minutes … [Read more...]

We’re Still Here and the Earth is Still Sacred

Dinosaur Valley 07.13.14 25

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Pagan community here.Patheos is doing a series on important issues in individual religious communities.  For the Pagan Channel, our issue is environmentalism and climate change.  Here’s the question in its entirety: Has Pagan Environmentalism Failed?With the recent release of several large-scale studies showing that climate change may now be … [Read more...]

Dinosaur Valley

Acrocanthosaurus track, Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas

The Gods can be anywhere (thought not everywhere, at least not at once) and our ancestors move with us on our migrations around the world.  But the spirits of the land differ from place to place.This would seem obvious: of course the spirits of the desert are different from the spirits of the jungle, and the spirits of the mountaintop are different from the spirits of the sea shore.  But if we don’t listen to the spirits of the land – either because we stay in the same place all the time or b … [Read more...]

Earth Day Is Worth Celebrating

SPI 2011 36

I wasn’t going to write on Earth Day this year.  I was going to point people to this excellent essay by Jason Pitzl-Waters on The Wild Hunt (which you should read anyway) and post here on the obligations of CUUPS leadership.And then a Facebook friend said something that boils down to “we pollute too much, we consume too much, and so we’re hypocrites if we talk about how much we love the Earth.”  The post on CUUPS leadership will have to wait till Thursday, because Earth Day is worth celebrati … [Read more...]

Sacramental Eating

cows Oct2013

I’m out of the country on a 12-day trip that’s part vacation and part pilgrimage.  Yes, you’ll hear all about it when I get back.  Until then, enjoy this update of an essay I wrote in 2011.We are born alive – and hungry.For a short time we are sustained by our mother’s milk.  It is given freely and lovingly (in most cases, anyway), but that gift is possible only because our mothers consume other life.Eventually the maternal intermediary is removed and we begin a life-long process of c … [Read more...]

Lessons From the Nye-Ham Debate


I didn’t watch last week’s evolution vs. creationism debate between Science Guy Bill Nye and Creation Museum founder Ken Ham.  I had better things to do than listen to them talk past each other.  That was all they could do – Nye and Ham share no common ground from which to begin a rational debate.I’m familiar with their arguments.  I’ve read excerpts and commentary of the debate.  I’ve read more of Ham’s Answers in Genesis than I wish I had.  Any lingering doubts I might have had about evolut … [Read more...]