Today is Lughnasadh, and I find myself returning to the strange mixture of work and rest, grief and celebration that always marks this time of year for me.
It is the acknowledgement of fear and loss during the most fruitful time of the year that marks this as a holy season. It is this mingling of love and sorrow, hope and grief that transforms the cycles of production and consumption into something more: a sacred harvest. When we forget the hard work of our ancestors, when we distance ourselves from the sweat, blood and tears that connect us to the living reality of those who have come before us, when we anesthetize ourselves to the grief we feel at the struggles they faced and the sacrifices they made — that is when we risk becoming mere consumers. Grief serves a sacred purpose, for we cannot grieve what we have not loved. Grief is one of the fruits of love, even as joy and prosperity are the fruits of labor.Read More
The Pagan gods are not exactly known for their forgiving natures. Yet as divine powers of regeneration and return, they offer a forgiveness all their own. Not the forgiveness of escape and abdication, nor the forgiveness of a benevolent Almighty on whose behalf we can act with unchallenged dominion. Rather, theirs is the forgiveness of restored responsibility, the response-ability that we possess as natural beings and citizens of the earth.
After all, what do we seek when we seek forgiveness, but the chance to start again?Read More
Tidepooling is a practice in patient observation. It’s also a reminder that some things happen in their own sweet time. That’s the thing about low tide. Sun, moon and earth turn through the steps of their celestial dance, and once in a while you get lucky and the three of them meet just right in a moment of revelation. You have to be ready.
I’m often humbled to realize how oblivious I can be to the wonders of the natural world all around me. And what treasures might yet be hiding right in front of me, in plain sight.
After all, there are so many different ways to hide.Read More
Hey look, someone on Twitter made a meme out of me! I feel honored! (Does this mean I get to start wearing a “Ask Me About My Meme” button on my lapel?)
From my post, “Gods Like Mountains, Gods Like Mist.”Read More
Welcome to the May 2014 edition of the Animist Blog Carnival! For this month’s theme, the ABC hosts its first-ever virtual book club — exploring the work of renowned animist and Druid author, Emma Restall Orr.
In the year or so since I first read it, I’ve returned to this book again and again. (The pages of my copy are now worn and bent, the margins thick with notes — the highest compliment I can give to a writer!) But what I’ve enjoyed most about the book are the endless discussions it’s provoked. There is so much to chew on, and plenty to disagree with and debate. When grappling with questions about the mind, the soul and existence itself, every reader will inevitably bring their own unique perspectives and experiences to the discussion. This wonderful variety is reflected in this month’s ABC!Read More
Druidic author Emma Restall Orr sets herself no easy task when she endeavors to articulate a philosophy of modern animism that can hold its own among the heavyweights of Western philosophy. In her latest work, The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature, she presents a compelling and intellectually rigorous case for nature’s inherent value apart from our human judgements about its use or beauty. Although the book is a challenging read, the thoughtful reader will find much to ponder in her systematic treatment of a modern animistic perspective on concepts of self, soul, community, individuality and consciousness.Read More
This post is about small things. It’s about moments that we take for granted. There is no big revelation here. I took a bunch of pictures of my cat and put them on the internet. I write this post in defiance of the expectation that only big revelations matter. I write in homage to the repetition of small rituals, in honor of grounding and self-care.
This post is about the simple companionship of ordinary objects and creatures and beings, and the way their presence shapes our lives even when we think we’re not paying attention.
A part of us is always paying attention.Read More
This May, the “ABC” in Animist Blog Carnival will also stand for the Animist Book Club!
Here on Holy Wild, I’ll be hosting this monthly gathering of bloggers and writers exploring the evolving role of animism in modern Pagan and earth-centered spiritual traditions. Most months, the ABC host chooses a theme for all participating writers to explore — but this time, I wanted to try something a little different! The ABC theme for May will be: A More Wakeful World: Reviews and Responses to the Writing of Emma Restall Orr.
The deadline for submissions is Sunday, April 27, 2014. Keep reading for more details on how to participate!Read More
Have you been looking for a way to connect more deeply with the plants and animals living in your area? Do you love blending ancient earth-wisdom with the insights of modern ecology to develop a personalized and meaningful spiritual practice? I’d love to be your guide on a 12-week journey to meet the sacred keystones.
I’m offering my Keystones of the Sacred Land online correspondence course again this spring (April – June), and I’m looking for students who are passionate about earth-centered spirituality and excited to dig deep in a program of self-guided study.
Registration deadline is Friday, 3/28. Limited spaces are available.
If you’re interested, please contact me at ali [at] alisonleighlilly.com or through my contact page for details on how to register.Read More
We hear the song long before we reach the pond itself ― the rolling, rhythmic voices rising up from among the grasses all around us as if we have entered the halls of some vast monastery during evening prayer. The thrum washes over us in the darkness.
We step carefully, sweeping our flashlights back and forth across the path. The kids are tense with eager excitement for the hunt, whispering questions at each unfamiliar noise, flicking their flashlights over every stray stone or lump in the grass hoping to catch a glimpse of movement ― the flexing muscular limbs or the bulging throat of a frog.
But there are too many of us. By the time we’ve reached the water’s edge, the low chanting voices have dropped away and the whole place has fallen into silence.Read More