The Writer’s Mating Dance

The Writer’s Mating Dance

Between research and writing, there is a lacuna in which almost anything can happen. The hush is nearly unbearable. In my mental landscape, ideas rustle and nudge towards one another through the tall prairie grasses, their haunches twitching with tension, ready to flee. Eros is thick in the air. Ecology rubs up against ritual theory, playing with the hem of her skirt. Bruce Lincoln is making eyes at Lewis Hyde. The deer of my dreams raise their heads to listen hard for the hunter. The salmon of wisdom are working their way home.

Any moment, I’m going to start writing. Any moment…

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The Pulse of Autumn

The Pulse of Autumn

Why should our communion with the beloved dead depend on the coincidental turning of the Earth on its axis? Why should we not always be in touch with those who have crossed the threshold, in touch with our own mortality and death? One might as well ask why the angle of the sun should sometimes grace the crocuses and wet new buds of spring and at other times drop down heavy and hot into the deepest reaches of summer lakes, why childhood should burst with curiosity and buzzing movement and adulthood settle into the long, gentle pull of days one after another beneath a bright, cool sky. The truth is, I suspect, that there is no Other-world. That we live in this one world, together with the dead and the long-departed, drinking in the same gulps of breath as they once drank.

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A Bureaucracy of Poets

A Bureaucracy of Poets

Have you ever heard of a murder of crows? I strongly believe that the mass noun term for poets should be bureaucracy. Singly, poets have this reputation for being sensitive, articulate, deeply strange and haunted — not to say enlightened — creatures who drift through life with the veils lifted and the doors of perception open.

Don’t be fooled.

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Why I Cannot Tell You About My Gods

Why I Cannot Tell You About My Gods

When my friend Carl McColman says that language is tricky, and that God is bigger than the limits of the human mind, we might imagine our words are just so many rigged-up rubber bands, paper clips and packing tape with which we are, MacGyver-style, trying to capture a wild and mighty wind.

Yet our words are our own breath given form by our body and its movements, and where else have we drawn that breath but from the winds themselves? Our speaking is a shaping of the wind within us, released back into the wild to work its way into someone else’s body, moving with the ebb and flow of sound waves, pressing in against their eardrums, stirring the tiny hairs of their skin.

To talk about language this way is to break out of the metaphor of objects and containers, and to see words as experiences in themselves.

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A Mouse Named Shou

A Mouse Named Shou

This past weekend, we lost a beloved pet. Shou, a little gray mouse named for the Taoist god of longevity, joined our mixed and motley family six months ago along with her two sisters, Fu and Lu. Even from the beginning, she was the obvious Big Sis, bossing around the others, taking it upon herself to obsessively reorganize and redecorate their shared tank, transforming the new house we’d provided them for into a home. She loved playtime, but she was never one to clambered up my arm to perch on my shoulder. She preferred tunneling under blankets and exploring the dark recesses of empty tissue boxes instead. Still, she blessed our lives with such sweet-tempered assertiveness that even in the short six months she was with us, we came to feel like she’d always been a member of our family.

She was dearly loved, and she will be deeply missed.

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Nature and the Awe of Childhood

Nature and the Awe of Childhood

Maybe I was a weird kid, more enamored, more sensitive than most, and as I’ve grown up, my perspective has changed and evolved. But that this is true only convinces me all the more of how important it is to appreciate the diversity of experiences and the many voices that strive to share them, and not to be too quick to dismiss certain experiences or perspectives as less valuable or insightful than others.

Is there only one way to appreciate nature? I can’t believe there would be just one.

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A Ritual to Greet the Land

A Ritual to Greet the Land

Keystones of the Sacred Land is in beta, and my guinea pigs have been plugging away at some pretty challenging exercises (and doing great, I might add!). We’ve been delving into an exploration of our local landscapes and preparing to meet the guardians and guides who will walk with us for the rest of this journey together.

We concluded this week’s work with a simple ritual to honor the land and to state our intention to seek our deepest soul, what wilderness guide Bill Plotkin calls our “truest place” in the world. In honor of the summer solstice (and the super moon), I wanted to share this simple little ritual with all of you.

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Sunny Solstice Blessings!

Sunny Solstice Blessings!

Sunny Solstice blessings to you all! Exactly ten years ago today, I celebrated my first Pagan ritual. The sun was high, the wind was lazy, the earth was warm beneath our feet, and the bugs were out in swarms after a wet spring! We shared bread, poured libations of water and made offerings of lavender and foxglove. This year, I gathered lavender and foxglove from the garden in front of my apartment building, on the other side of the continent from that first solstice celebration. Traditions continue, memory endures. I’m looking forward to the next ten years!

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Lectio Divina: Reading the Book of Nature

Lectio Divina: Reading the Book of Nature

When we see nature itself as a constantly-unfolding story about the deepest, most sacred truths of life and death, we can adapt the practice of Lectio Divina as a creative approach to meditation that can strengthen our relationship with the earth. Here are just a few ideas about how to use the practice of Lectio Divina to engage with the stories of nature.

Although we can approach each of the four stages of Lectio Divina as distinct activities that we can do one at a time on their own, we experience the most benefit from this kind of spiritual work when we bring them together into a single coherent, continuous practice.

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Just call me the Greenman…

Just call me the Greenman…

Just in time for the summer solstice, I’ve designed a new t-shirt for the Hipster Pagan store. (Wait — you didn’t know there was a Hipster Pagan store? That’s okay. It’s pretty obscure. Nobody shops there anymore since it sold out and went mainstream. After all, hipster jokes are so over.)

You can get the tee here. Or browse the store. I’ll be uploading the Hipster Greenman design onto several other non-wearable items (including posters and, of course, coffee mugs — every Hipster Pagan needs their coffee mug when they’re making their daily morning libations to the Goddess Caffeinia).

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