Azaleas After Storm

Azaleas After Storm

Another gray, rainy day here in Pittsburgh with a week of similarly chilly, damp weather to come, and while it may be good for our newly planted garden, such a wet, cold spring weighs heavy on the soul that longs for the warm touch of sunlight. (And of course, I worry about the Allegheny and the Monongahela joining the Ohio to swell the Mississippi River still further…)

Still, the azalea bush is finally blooming in front of the house. That burst of color brings a bit of relief to the dull, gray days.

What cheers you up in the midst of chill doldrums?

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Wild Urban Spring

Wild Urban Spring

I’m not sure what these flowers are, but the exuberant, overflowing bush they grow on has clearly been left to run wild for years. Every spring in May these clusters of purple blossoms open, giving their scent to the unheeding speeding cars on the road. It’s not a pleasant spot — the road is busy and wide and noisy, the sidewalk narrow and full of potholes and cracked slabs and litter. But every spring, these flowers create a tiny space of respite and beauty to an otherwise rough and man-dominated landscape.

My best guess is that they’re either wild lupine, blue wild indigo, or some kind of lilac I’ve never seen before. If any readers out there have a guess, please let me know. I’d love to be able to greet these beauties by name.

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Muse in Media: Mama Earth

Muse in Media: Mama Earth

Today is Mother’s Day (have you called your mother yet?). In honor of the Great Mother of us all, here’s a beautiful slideshow of Mama Earth art, set to a chant performed by the Libana Music Ensemble.

The Earth is our Mother, we must take care of Her
The Earth is our Mother, we must take care of Her
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan, yan
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan, yan

Click to watch.

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Webbing the Whole Wide World

Webbing the Whole Wide World

It’s pretty cool to see that I have readers in places like Moscow (Russia), Shenzhen (China), Sydney (Australia), Jiddah (Saudi Arabia), La Paz (Bolivia), and even Nairobi (Kenya). Though that last one might have just been Peter.

Obviously, the vast majority of my readers live in the United States (tied for second: Canada and the UK). I have readers in 42 of the 50 states. Only 42?!, you ask. I know, right?

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Why Aren’t I Happy He’s Dead?

Why Aren’t I Happy He’s Dead?

When I look at my own response — even the immediate, uncensored emotional response I had when I first heard the news — there is not even a trace of relief or joy. Bewilderment, yes. But honestly, more than a little bit of cynicism and scorn, as well. There’s a part of me that immediately began to wonder what the “game” was that the government was playing this time, how they would turn the event to their advantage, and to what extent the killing of bin Laden was carefully orchestrated for calculated purposes. The seeming rush to dispose of the body, the lack of evidence or corroborating story from any sources outside the U.S. government, and now the rapidity with which the “official story” seems to keep changing, sparked my inner Conspiracy Theorist.

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body politic | A Sonnet

body politic

noun : (1) human organ of many heads ;
tongues swarming from them [ as in, unison
of insects
] ; hands, tangled beds of nails on
which to rest evenly so as to spread
weight, pressure without injury : (2) threat
posed by ground swellings ; manifestation
of projected intent to harm [ as in,
the body of our enemy is dead,
but not his intention
] : (3) the myth of
history (archaic) [ ‘twas his own love
that killed this shepherd, not our need to kill,
and we remain innocent
] ; public will ;
institutionally anointed gore
to ensure death passes over our door

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What Does Justice Look Like? » Pagan+Politics

What Does Justice Look Like? » Pagan+Politics

In my latest post over at Pagan+Politics, I ramble on a bit about my reaction to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, what it means for the future of foreign policy in this country, and how these questions all lead me back to the larger questions concerning justice, reconciliation and peacemaking:

“Has justice been done? I’m not sure. When I turn a reflective eye on my own reactions, I have to admit that I feel very little more than mild surprise. I don’t feel relieved or happy about the news, but nor do I feel particularly sorrowful. I might even describe my reaction as curiosity, albeit a wincing, hesitant kind, that leaves me wondering, “What next?” After a decade of using bin Laden and the threat he represented as the raison d’être for so much of U.S. war-mongering and justifications for our violent, heavy-handed foreign policy — after three on-going wars, thousands dead, millions of civilians turned overnight into refugees — I wonder if the death of a single man can do much of anything to restore balance and see justice done. …

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Coming Out & Going Down

Coming Out & Going Down

What has changed in my spiritual life has little to do with the labels I give it. Today I am a Pagan Druid, but that may change in the future as the words evolve in meaning and the community that embraces them shifts and turns about itself in an on-going conversation of creative group-identity formation. What has changed for me, most importantly, is not the name for my spiritual practice, but its depth.

I’ve never really had to “come out” as Pagan to anyone, because my spiritual life is not really about fitting into boxes, or broom closets — it’s about deepening. I deepen into my self and my work, through prayer and meditation, through poetry and story, through my time in the woods and my attention to the landscape.

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Muse in Media: Blessed Beltaine!

Just in case yesterday’s post was a bit too serious for you — how about we lighten things up a bit? Every year, I manage to get this stuck in my head! A fantastic song by Jonathan Coulton about the coming of spring…. if you know what I mean. ::nudge::nudge::wink::wink::

Click to watch.

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Ecstasy of Beltaine: Reflections on Love and Transgression

Ecstasy of Beltaine: Reflections on Love and Transgression

The significance of Beltaine reaches beyond merely being an agricultural festival focused on fertility and fecundity in service to the community, with romance acting as a bit of grease we can indulge in now and then to keep the Wheel turning. The holy day at the height of spring is also a day of ecstasy in the original sense, a day on which the attraction of life-force can pull us beyond ourselves and into communion with a larger Mystery, beyond tensions that might keep us too rigidly locked into unhealthy or hampering community bonds once they have outlasted their benefit.

Along with Samhain, the other hinge of the year, Beltaine serves as a liminal time, a time of thresholds and permeable boundaries. The great ecstatic mysteries of sex and death dominate both these holy days.

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