Druid’s Blade and Witch’s Broom: An Ode to Mistletoe

Druid’s Blade and Witch’s Broom: An Ode to Mistletoe

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s only half the truth.

In the face of our assembly-line obsession with efficiency and expendability, keystone species like mistletoe serve as powerful reminders of why individuality is so essential to abundance. True prosperity lies in the diversity of our communities and the ways that we support that diversity with our own unique gifts. It can be lonely, even a little frightening, to be different. But nature is messy. Nature is wild…

Read More

Honor for the Dead: Crafting Relationship with the Ancestors

Honor for the Dead: Crafting Relationship with the Ancestors

There is always pressure to either romanticize or demonize the past. As it recedes into the distance of memory, its complexities are all too easily lost in the mists. The veils of time fall across our vision and we glimpse only vague impressions of a landscape, a culture, a handful of faces on the edge of our perception that seem to change and fade when we turn to look again. What does it mean to part this veil, to honor the ancestors?

Read More

Wonder on the Wing: Lessons from the Owl Goddess on Climate Change

Wonder on the Wing: Lessons from the Owl Goddess on Climate Change

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

Animist Blog Carnival: Wakeful World Book Club

Animist Blog Carnival: Wakeful World Book Club

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

The Familiar

The Familiar

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

When the Frogs Begin to Sing

When the Frogs Begin to Sing

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