Deep Ecology, Holy Wild, Theology

The Goddess, the Broom and the Barred Owl, Part 2

Blodeuwedd embodies the spirit of the trickster. She is herself literally the work of trickery and artifice. Her physical body is not a unity, but a cobbled-together assortment of twigs and blossoms given a kind of unnatural animation through the magic of Gwydion. And although she is designed by men far more powerful than she is for one specific purpose — to serve as Lleu's wife and queen — yet she thwarts that purpose through lies and deceit, following the call of her own hunger, her own passion and desire. As a result she is cursed, like so many other trickster figures, to aimless wandering in the wilderness, a social outcast. She is both subhuman and superhuman, both bestial and divine. She is the thief who steals away the beloved from the rightful king, except that it is her own self that she steals away — is this theft, or reparation? Either way, this is a goddess familiar with dislocation and disconnection, and one who embodies within her very being the ambivalence of human technology and how it mediates our relationship with the natural world.

Holy Wild, story

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?

art, Holy Wild, Theology

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.

Muse in Brief

Natural Theology: Polytheism Beyond the Pale ยป No Unsacred Place

In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I explore in more detail what it means to take an ecological approach to polytheism through the concept of "natural theology," and the kinds of tough questions that this kind of inquiry might challenge us to ask: "Ecology does not reject the hard sciences that came before it, but brings together and expands upon them. In this same way, natural polytheism draws on an ecological approach to theology to build upon the insights of hard polytheism, challenging us to deepen our relationships with the gods by asking more challenging questions about their relationships with us, with each other and with the natural world. ..."

Contemplation & Meditation, Featured, Holy Wild

Dark Moon Waiting

Three nights of waiting, building power under the dark moon. I have done my preparation. I have cleared the space in the waning light. I have drawn the circle around myself in salt and stone, strength and love. The borders of my life are bare. I have released the old attachments that will no longer serve. I have made peace with the yammering beasts and bitches, buried them in the dirt beneath the forest floor, given them to the earth to hold and keep and break open and transform. I have felt the night air cool on my naked skin. Now, I have three long nights of waiting to begin.

Featured, Holy Wild, Theology

Deity Dumped

"She didn't say it in so many words, but I got the distinct impression that she thought we should 'see other people...'" My voice trailed away. Folks sitting nearby in the restaurant who didn't know we were husband and wife probably thought Jeff was helping me through a break-up with my girlfriend. I found myself sobbing. I felt cut off and vulnerable. Even if I'd wanted to honor her, I didn't know how. What ritual forms to use, what offerings to make, what actions to take. The strong intuitive connection that I felt pulling me forward didn't seem to be so tame in any case. She didn't want scripted prayer or the right kind of incense or historically accurate idols on the altar. She wanted me out in the wilds, she wanted me raw and free and dancing with devotion. I was going to have to change my life...

Contemplation & Meditation, Holy Wild

She That Is: A Meditation on Brighid

What is She? Who is She? Celestial, ephemeral, pristine and pure, delicate, new, grace itself, fresh and bright. Earthy, dark and grounded, sweat and dirt and hot breath, the hard flex and tension of muscle, the rough power of fire and stone, the burning fluidity of molten ore. Primal, deep and ageless, utter stillness and distance, utter light in the darkness, spun out, flung out, fragmented, holographic, the whispering wholeness buried within each disparate glint of limit and form.

Holy Wild, Theology

Gods and Spirit

That word for god — the breath, the gleaming — the shining days like great columns bearing up the sky, buttresses, rafters. Beams that in their falling, hold. I say the names of my deities, I feel the drop of each sound into silence. They gather on the long, bent grasses in the meadow and the field, *dewos-, the many that glisten in the coming dark. Amulets of sky, jewels of the daylight, coalescing in the movement of my breath, the lingering touch of the wind. They draw themselves, wavering, into the weight and gravity of form. I open the door, and the gods enter the dark interior of my being.

Contemplation & Meditation, Featured, Holy Wild

Etymology of My Gods

That word for god — the breath, the gleaming — the shining days like great columns bearing up the sky, buttresses, rafters. Beams that in their falling, hold. I say the names of my deities, I feel the drop of each sound into silence. They gather on the long, bent grasses in the meadow and the field, *dewos-, the many that glisten in the coming dark. Amulets of sky, jewels of the daylight, coalescing in the movement of my breath, the lingering touch of the wind. They draw themselves, wavering, into the weight and gravity of form. I open the door, and the gods enter the dark interior of my being.