A Pagan Goes to the Wild Goose, Part One

A Pagan Goes to the Wild Goose, Part One

Last month, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the inaugural Wild Goose Festival down in central North Carolina, a gathering of progressive and emergent Christians interested in engaging with questions of social justice, peace, community, art and spirituality in a postmodern, multicultural world. I admit, as a Druid and a Pagan, I had my trepidations about attending a Christian festival — worries about what kinds of assumptions others would have about my own religious affiliation, anxieties about potential misunderstandings or miscommunications that could arise (although growing up Catholic and holding a degree in comparative religious studies, I’m reasonably well-versed in the unique ways Christians sometimes use language or make off-hand Biblical references) — but I resolved to set aside both my fears and my cynicism and attend the festival with as open a mind and as soft a heart as I could.

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“What Makes a God,” A Myth Retold and More!

It’s always nice to return home after a time away to discover you have a small pile of exciting news to share!

This month, my poem “What Makes a God” appears in the most recent issue of Eternal Haunted Summer; my short story, “Yewberry,” has been accepted for publication in the upcoming anthology of Pagan fiction, The Scribing Ibis; and I’ve received some wonderful support and link-love from the Wild Goose Festival and The Druid Network.

Have a response or review of my work to share? Drop me a line on my contact page!

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Catching the Wild Goose: Thanks and First Thoughts

Catching the Wild Goose: Thanks and First Thoughts

After camping for four days straight at the Wild Goose Festival down in steamy, sunny North Carolina, my body almost rebells against the cushy bed, the hot shower and the dry, still air-conditioned air. I was getting used to the delicious feel of sweat and sun on my skin, sharing my home with spiders and trees, and waking to the sound of birds and snoring neighbors at dawn. I do believe camping is good for the soul.

The Wild Goose Festival was a wonderful, welcoming and challenging event for Jeff and me, and we’re both very grateful for the hard work and vision all of those staff members and volunteers who helped organize and run the festival this year.

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Chasing the Wild Goose

Chasing the Wild Goose

I think there is power in the metaphor of the “Wild Goose” — An Geadh-Glas — the name in Celtic Christianity for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is, after all, that Person of the Trinity which is the indwelling Spirit in all things, the immanence of the divine in the world itself. She is the balance and compliment to the transcendent God-the-Father. She is the fire of inspiration, the creative power of eros, the source and sustainer of community, the untamable wildness of hope. When we go on a “wild goose chase,” we can feel that we’re going in circles, spiraling silly around that which is elusive and mysterious.

I can’t help but think that my Celtic ancestors knew this about the Wild Goose, too — that those who follow her follow her into loneliness and sorrow, listening to her keening echoing over the solitude of the wilds.

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How to Plan an Earth-Friendly Wedding » No Unsacred Place

How to Plan an Earth-Friendly Wedding  » No Unsacred Place

In my latest post over at No Unsacred Place, I explore some of the reasons why Jeff and I chose to “go green” when planning our upcoming wedding in September, and the basic principles we adopted to help guide us during the long decision-making process:

“We’re trying to craft a wedding which, like our marriage, will embody our earth-loving, environmentally sustainable values as much as possible. As physical creatures, we participate in the web of interconnection. Our clay arises and takes on form and meaning from the ancient clay of our earth mother, as does that of our children, and their children — it is to this clay that we all eventually return. Jeff and I try live our lives as deeply as we can with this awareness of our relationship to the earth and its ecosystems, our impact on the beings, entities, organisms and landscapes of the natural world… and their impact on us. …”

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Muse in Media: George Carlin on Nature

The late, great comedian George Carlin reflects on the sometimes myopic motives that get promoted in the name of environmentalism.

“The planet will take care of itself. People are selfish, and that’s what they’re doing, trying to save the planet for themselves to have a nicer place to live. They don’t care about the planet, they just care about having a comfortable place. … People think nature’s outside of them. They don’t take into them the idea that we’re part of it. They say, ‘Oh, we’re going for a nature walk. We’re going to the country because we like nature.’ Nature’s in here.”

Click to watch.

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Quote of the Week – The Sea and the Soul

Quote of the Week – The Sea and the Soul

Just in time for World Oceans Day, Jeff Lilly over at Druid Journal explores the origins of the word “sea” and its intriguing connection to the word “soul”:

The Proto Indo Europeans of the steppe near the Black Sea had no word for “ocean”. They had mori or mari, meaning “lake” or “sea,” but this most likely referred to the sparkling quality of its surface (cf PIE mer, “clear, sparkle”) and did not carry connotations of vast continent-wrapping waters. […] Thousands of years ago, there was a people, now lost, living by the northern seas; and they felt so strongly the tether between the sea and the soul that they used almost the same word for both.

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Only the Dead: On Memory and History » Pagan+Politics

Only the Dead: On Memory and History » Pagan+Politics

In my latest post over at Pagan+Politics, I explore the real origins and context of the quote, “Only the dead have seen the end of war” (commonly but falsely attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato), and grapple with some of the deeper ironies surrounding the celebration of Memorial Day:

“I know little about death and what our ancestors, the beloved dead, would say or do if they were alive today. I find it hard to believe that Plato would be anything less than horrified by the mechanisms of global warfare and violence that we have invented in the last century; I imagine that he, like Santayana and so many other philosophers of our time, would struggle to reconcile such sweeping violence with a belief that there is reason and structure within the chaos…

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Religious Branding

Religious Branding

Are you a good ol’ fashioned, All-American Pepsi kind of girl? Are you a fitness nut, chugging down Aquafina by the gallon, sipping your Ocean Spray grapefruit juice at breakfast, maybe indulging in a Lipton Diet Green Tea for lunch? Do you like the caffeine rush of Mountain Dew or AMP Energy to wake you up in the morning? Or maybe you’re a bit of a hippie, chilling out with a SoBe or a Tazo? And how much does it matter to you that all these drinks are made by the same company?

That’s also the problem with branding. It’s shallow. It’s ephemeral. It’s easy. It obscures not only the deep connections that we actually share with one another, but also the very real and more intricate diversity that is a part of any community no matter how apparently homogenous on the surface.

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Worshipping Nature in the Digital Age

Worshipping Nature in the Digital Age

At the heart of my spiritual life rests the deep knowing that ritual is a way of listening to the Song of the World as it moves through the earth and the land, and engaging with that Song as something holy, wholly challenging and transformative. Shared ritual is when we accept the burden and blessing of being embodied beings of this dense, physical world that gives us life, and when allow ourselves to respond in kind, to speak back to the natural world with its energies and currents and wild mysteries. Ritual is not for our sake alone, but for the sake of the whole world. It is for the sake of the solitude and silence that surrounds us, that frightening shadow of void and absence that makes us who we are, makes us whole.

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