Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”: A Pagan Perspective

When I’m making artwork, I often enjoy having some music or video going on that I can listen to and watch while I work. The other day I finished up watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which I’ve been watching segments of over the past couple of weeks. For those who haven’t seen it, it is an epic, thirteen-hour-long exploration of the Universe we live in, from the atomic level to the entirety of everything, ranging from the Big… Read more

Shapeshifting Into Kin: Part Two

Note: a big thank you to all the artists who allowed me to use their images in this post! I encourage readers to check out their galleries at the links in the captions of the pictures. This is part two of a two-part series; you may read part one here. There are many purposes for shapeshifting—celebration, drawing on the power of the being you’re changing into, learning to change yourself, etc. There are also many techniques, some stationary, others involving… Read more

Shapeshifting into Kin: Part One

There’s a recurring dream I have; it started when I was young. In it, I take my form as a white wolf. I’m in a forest, and the forest is burning. The tall pines and fir trees crackle and split in the flames around me, and I can hardly breathe for the stinging clutch of smoke at my throat. Hot embers scorch the pads of my paws. The tops of the trees begin to topple over, weakened by the flames,… Read more

Home Base: Place Altars As Connections to Wilderness

I am not a huge fan of “nature” as being separate from humanity. The perceived divide of “natural” and “artificial” may seem like a way to emphasize the non-human nature that we often seem to ignore, but it still reinforces the idea that we are somehow divorced from natural processes and cycles, especially in cities. I do, however, favor the concept of “wilderness”. It evokes a place where humans have not had nearly as much of a dominant place in… Read more

Green Tomatoes Are the Reason For the Season

Late Autumn is a very special time for me. Yes, Samhain has come and gone, and the air gets colder, and it’s time to toss extra blankets on the bed. But what really gets me excited is green tomato soup. I am an urban gardener. Sadly, I am not fortunate enough to be able to rent, let alone own, a house here in the middle of Portland. But I don’t need to in order to grow things. Since I moved… Read more

Bella Morte

The beauty of the wild is the long gesture of life in time. The beauty of skin and fur and feathers, the beauty of blood, the beauty of bones sinking into grass. –John Daniel, from The Soul Unearthed That is the quote I painted on a recent creation of mine, shown in the picture above. My canvas was a piece of rawhide left over from a drum kit. The visual punctuation of the entire piece included an eclectic mix: a… Read more

Ecopsychology and Neopagan Relevance

A Brief Note: Ecopsychology is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is just one of several toolkits that I use both as a shaman and as a mental health counselor. I would like to spend my first few posts here at NUP discussing these areas of interest and practice, and I welcome any constructive discussion on them during my time here. And now, a definition… Ecopsychology: the psychology of how we relate to the natural… Read more