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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Peace and the Language of the Unheard


Peace is effortful. Peace will involve struggle. And though I would never agree that violence is necessary to reach it, I would very much agree that no justice means no peace. [Read more...]

Every Minute Peace: Releasing my Inner Corgi

Kelsey the Cardigan and Penny the Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Dave Crosby, 2004.

Some of the time, Peace requires us to sign petitions, protest, carry signs, and practice civil disobedience. But all of the time, Peace requires us to live consistently with the values that nurture it, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can begin to release our inner Corgis. [Read more...]

Discernment and the Spiritual Activist, Part II: Stewardship

Doug Kline, 2012. (This is not me!)

Anyone who works at walking a path of spiritual activism for very long will develop a few strengths, a few gifts. Given the state of the world, those of us who are trying to serve it have a duty of stewardship over our own gifts. I have come to call this the World of Warcraft principle: if even in World of Warcraft, these gifts are in demand, they must be in demand… everywhere. [Read more...]

Stillness at Solstice


Over the years, our celebrations have evolved–but they have retained as much acceptance of the cold and the dark as celebration of dawn and the sun. We love the strengthening light past the solstice… but we would not understand the beauty of it, if we did not pause for the beauty of the long nights and sleeping land. [Read more...]

Discernment and the Spiritual Activist, Part I: Injustice

Ferguson Protest, NYC. The All-Nite Images. 2014.

It’s not enough to “not be racist.” Racial injustice is bred into the body of American society all the way down to the bone, and if every outright bigot on the planet were to leave for Mars tomorrow, racial inequality would not end, because of all the quiet, unthinking ways racism has crept into our societal DNA. [Read more...]

An Island in an Ocean of Air

Baxter Peak. Dylan, 2011.

1979 in Williamsburg, Virginia was not an easy time or place to be gay. “There comes a time,” she said, “in all my friendships, when I have to decide. Do I tell, or do I not tell?” She stood at one side of a precipice, and she saw me on the other. I wanted to tell her, “I already know!” But I did not know how. [Read more...]