A Way Home Through The Fog: On Memory, Story & Restoration

A Way Home Through The Fog: On Memory, Story & Restoration

I glance out the window at a foggy world that seems still and quiet… a little too quiet. The salmon that should by now be making their way upstream to spawn are missing. Without the necessary steady rains to wash the familiar scent of freshwater streams out into the sound, the fish languish just offshore — uncertain which way to go, unsure which creek is calling them home. It’s as if they, too, are lost in the fog.

In such weather, my thoughts dwell on memories of the past — what we have lost, what we have forgotten, and what we might still regain. It is so easy to think we have always lived this way, struggling with scarcity, alienated from the living earth, uncertain and alone. Without the rain-washed scent of hope, what will guide us home?

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Lima Bean Brain and Sacred Embodiment

Lima Bean Brain and Sacred Embodiment

Ever since childhood, there have been times when I would get what I have come to think of as “lima bean brain.” So here I am: awake at 3 AM, bemused over how strange it is that evolution ever thought it was a good idea to try to teach meat to think.

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In Praise of Boring Sex

In Praise of Boring Sex

I wasn’t exactly having any raging hot sex in my mid-twenties. What intimacy there was to be snatched between caffeine-addled swing shifts was difficult and desperate, and always over too soon. Why should love be so hard? The world seemed full of impervious surfaces — concrete, steel and glass — against which there was nothing to do but rip myself ruthlessly open to the possibility of contact. To make the foolhardy choice to stay soft and tattered; to refuse to be ground smooth into something polished, invulnerable, inhuman. To choose, each time, to throw myself once more into the harsh, cold waters where the restless waves broke against the rocks.

Which might be why, these days, I am still so often surprised by the utter heart-wrenching gentleness of quiet, boring sex. It is a blessing I am still getting used to.

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Meadowsweet & Myrrh is now Holy Wild

Meadowsweet & Myrrh is now Holy Wild

The blog is going through some pretty big changes, far beyond a whole new name and a whole new look. For all the information you could possibly want on how to stay updated and engaged, this post has just what you need, including: an updated RSS feed and new, improved newsletter; where to find me on social media; how to find out about online classes and book promotions; changes to the forums and comment policy; and so much more…

I hope Holy Wild continues to be a place that provokes contemplation and welcomes conversation for anyone whose life is rooted in the soft soil and sturdy bedrock of an earth-centered spiritual tradition. As always, thanks for reading, and may the blessings of the holy wild be yours!

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

They say he did it out of boredom, but boredom is catching and soon the entire village had grown bored of his mischievous tricks. Each time he cried out that the wolf had come, and the villagers rushed to his aid only to discover no wolf in sight, they grew more annoyed, more disdainful — and more complacent…

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A Steampunk Meditation for Self-Transformation

A Steampunk Meditation for Self-Transformation

Today I have a guest post up over on Nimue Brown’s ever-inspiring blog, Druid LifeSteampunk Meditation for Self-Transformation, a blending of Victorian-era esoterica and glibly modern steampunkishness inspired in part by the ancient Three Cauldrons of Poesy. The meditation (and yes, it works) is my latest contribution to the anarchic, silly, and in no way secretive Secret Order of Steampunk Druids, which coalesced sometime back in 2012 between sips of tea and chap hop battles.

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The Nature of Fog

The Nature of Fog

It’s a quiet, foggy morning here in Seattle, and I’m thinking about ontology — the philosophical study of the nature of existence. There is something deeply dissatisfying about a choice between reductionism and hierarchy, for both seem to me equally wrong. Although in naturalistic philosophy hierarchy no longer needs the divine sanction of a god to justify it, the supremacy of human culture and human consciousness remains unchallenged, the assumed pinnacle of evolution, with the masses of quarks, quasars, oak trees and elephants relegated to the same old mindlessness of mere objects, only so much stuff.

But rather than go into any more detailed analysis of these dense and sometimes unwieldy philosophies, instead I want to talk a little bit about fog…

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Totem Salmon: Hunting the River’s Ghost

Totem Salmon: Hunting the River’s Ghost

Totem Salmon: Life Lessons from Another Species, by Freeman House, is a meandering journey through the natural history of the Mattole River watershed in northern California, with particular focus on humanity’s changing relationship with one of its keystone inhabitants, the Pacific salmon. The structure of the book in many ways mirrors the homeward journey of the salmon itself, from the depths of a shared ocean of experience back towards the headwaters rising from the heart of a unique landscape. I picked up this book hoping to brush up on some of my fishy facts and local history, but what I discovered was a story with a great deal more to give. House is a beautiful storyteller as well as an experienced conservationist, and his work reflects not only the careful eye and practical mind of a hands-on community activist, but also the raw heart and brutal honesty of someone madly in love with the natural world.

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Data, Identity & Community in the Digital Age

Data, Identity & Community in the Digital Age

Jeff Lilly’s most recent article raises a lot of questions about the assumptions we make when it comes to the relationship between knowing the facts and actually understanding what those facts can tell us. It turns out that huge stockpiles of consumers’ personal information, known as “Big Data,” might not be the Holy Grail that the tech industry would like it to be. Persistent cultural biases can blind us to unexpected interpretations, or even lead us to see patterns where none exist at all.

But what does that mean for the rest of us? For those of us more likely to be on the receiving end of Big Data-driven marketing strategies and social media algorithms, the limits of Big Data are both a blessing and a warning. How will these new insights change the way we think about our online lives?

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Nobody Likes You Because You’re Perfect

Nobody Likes You Because You’re Perfect

“One day I am sweet, another day I am sour,” says the Irish trickster god Manannan mac Lir in his guise as the disheveled traveling buffoon whose hat is full of holes and whose shoes squish with puddle water when he walks. Manannan appears in folktales sometimes as a buffoon and sometimes as a richly dressed bard of talent and renown. When he is a buffoon, his words are sweet and his music sweeter; when he is a master of his craft, he comes off as a fake and an ass. When he is at home, he is a king whose otherworldly castle is thatched with white birds’ wings. But the half-thatched homes of the mortal bards will never be complete. While the poets are away gathering their feathers, the winds have already swept away the last day’s work.

Which is the real god? The king, the poet, or the wandering buffoon? Which is the real writer? Which is the real me?

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