About Cat Chapin-Bishop

The Value of a Garden

Green Beans. Cat Chapin-Bishop, 2014.

I love this little patch of ground we live on. And tending its soil and eating its produce feeds something in me, in us, beyond our bellies alone. [Read more...]

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Toward a Daily Spiritual Practice

Harvesting Kale.  Cat Chapin-Bishop, 2013.

Effortlessness is one of the shapes spiritual practice has. But without the luxury of time, routines are important to sustain a practice over decades. There’s a dynamic tension here, between discipline and flow, and both experiences have their place. [Read more...]

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Even the Trees Have Moved

YggDrasil.  FrostZero, 1990.

The only things of permanence we human beings have ever created have been dead. Cathedrals and pyramids, coliseums and roads, things of stone can last a long, long time. But even a redwood tree is dying. That’s what makes it alive. [Read more...]

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Are We the Land?

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My religion is connection. My bare feet curl against the wet and gritty stone of my front porch. I remember my bare feet walking over grass, pine needles, and the grass mulch of my father’s garden, so long ago when I was young. My theology is what my bare feet know. [Read more...]

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A Teacher of the Year

Teaching Punctuation. Orr, 1869.

I don’t need a teaching award. I don’t even want one: what would it be but a demand to dress up in uncomfortable clothes, to hear some politician or administrator I might barely respect mouth platitudes and pretend to be impressed with what I do? The awards that matter are the ones I give to myself. [Read more...]

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My Gods Don’t Like Racism

Cernunnos.  Jeroen van Valkenburg, 1999.

It has been my experience that above all else, Herne is a god of truth, of facing and living up to truth. There he stood, my lovely, wild god, wearing a form I’d seen in photographs: that of a young black man, box braids halfway down his back, facing down a phalanx of riot police, his hands and head held high. Defiant surrender. Courageous witness to truth. That’s him. That’s my god, my Herne. [Read more...]

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On Prayer: An Online Shrine to the Victims of Racism

Memorial Candle. Cat Bishop, 2015.

I’m writing these words less than a week after yet another unarmed black man, 50 year old Walter Scott, was killed by a white police officer. The bottom line for me is just this basic: I have friends who are suffering. And I can’t help. I have nothing to offer; there is nothing I can do. Except: I can pray. [Read more...]

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Confronting Racism, Yankee Pagan Style

Old Man of the Mountain stamp

I am a white American. I didn’t ask to have anyone cheated out of anything. I never signed up for it; I never wanted it. But I am also a Pagan and I honor my ancestors. It doesn’t matter if it’s “not our fault.” We need to be like them: speak the truth, work like hell, and pay that goddamn debt. [Read more...]

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Real Anti-racism Will Involve Mistakes

black and white handclasp

The truth is, racism has touched everybody. Everybody has internalized, implicit racism–certainly every white person. White people need to be honest about the fact that racism, like water, has seeped into all of our basements. We need to own our own messes, apologize when we screw up, and then get back to work figuring out how to clean out our basements and be better partners at deconstructing white supremacism. [Read more...]

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Embodied Spirituality

Heavy.  Cat Chapin-Bishop, 2015.

Shouldn’t the bodies of the spiritually enlightened be healthy forever? Pretty to think spiritual work would assure physical health. But the truth is otherwise: none of us will get out of here alive. [Read more...]

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