If you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual in a culture alternately obsessed with and ashamed of sex, this dream might give you some idea. The self-consciousness of performance, the noisy aura of social commentary and expectation like a constant hum overlaying the visceral physicality of other people's bodies and your own. And the way performative sexual intimacy can gradually give way to something more comfortable, more tender, given enough time and gentle consideration.
We might try to follow where the clown leads, but we cannot hope to pin him down. It is only when we stop insisting that the clown be just one thing that he is free to become the multiplicity of being that he really is.
Writing in a group setting is different, much more like praying together. Or sitting together in meditation. Being present to each other in-process, witness to the very act of discovery and composition, soul-deep in the chaotic waters of creativity. This is writing as a spiritual practice — a kind of sacred deep listening, what Karen Hering calls in her book Writing to Wake the Soul, "contemplative correspondence."
Today over on the Patheos CUUPS blog, Nature's Path, I'm pleased (and, let's be honest, a little bit nervous) to be able to share the first in a series of posts I'll be writing on my experiences as a Pagan exploring Unitarian Universalism for the first time. In this introductory essay, I tell the curious, rambling story of how my spiritual wanderings first brought me to the doors of my local UU church.
If I was going to join any kind of church, naturally it would have to accept me as an out-and-proud, enthusiastically polytheistic, animistic, tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping Druid, and not ask me to water down my practice or box in my theology. But it would also have to offer something more than mere acceptance.
What did UU have to offer? I wasn't sure... so I decided to find out.
That's how sick we all are of this bullshit nonsense. You're sick of it, too, I know. You're sick of the internet outrage machine. You're sick of controversy and condemnation. You reshare links to things you hate just to tell people you hate them, and somewhere inside, you hate yourself for doing it, because you know it's useless. You're sick of the noise and the fury, signifying nothing. You're sick of a society that asks you to hold onto everything so tightly, with so much certainty and righteous indignation, that your fingers are curled into fists and you can't remember the last time you gently traced the scars on another person's skin as if they were something beautiful.
I'm not really the New Age type who thinks, just because my cat happens to enjoy watching me wave incense around making a fool of myself in front of my altar, that he has any actual interest in my spiritual or magical development. If he is a wise old soul, he is of a relatively indifferent kind -- I imagine that, of his nine lives or more, this incarnation must be his equivalent of retiring to Florida. He is much more interested in what time I feed him dinner, than he is in aiding me in my rituals or spellwork. Still, there is something about my Cu Gwyn that borders on the magical at times.
The latest issue of the Alternative Religions Educational Network's newsletter just came out this past weekend, and I was excited to be included as one of those featured in an interview with the editor, Christopher Blackwell. We chatted about my background being raised in a liberal Catholic tradition flavored by my father's Irish heritage, and how that shaped my spiritual journey towards Druidry as I live and practice it today. It was great fun!
One thing we touched on was the Oran Mór, or the Song of the World. Chris asked me to talk a little bit more about how this cosmological concept is reflected in my Druidry. You can read the excerpt here, or check out the whole interview.
This May, the "ABC" in Animist Blog Carnival will also stand for the Animist Book Club!
Here on Holy Wild, I'll be hosting this monthly gathering of bloggers and writers exploring the evolving role of animism in modern Pagan and earth-centered spiritual traditions. Most months, the ABC host chooses a theme for all participating writers to explore -- but this time, I wanted to try something a little different! The ABC theme for May will be: A More Wakeful World: Reviews and Responses to the Writing of Emma Restall Orr.
The deadline for submissions is Sunday, April 27, 2014. Keep reading for more details on how to participate!
We hear the song long before we reach the pond itself ― the rolling, rhythmic voices rising up from among the grasses all around us as if we have entered the halls of some vast monastery during evening prayer. The thrum washes over us in the darkness.
We step carefully, sweeping our flashlights back and forth across the path. The kids are tense with eager excitement for the hunt, whispering questions at each unfamiliar noise, flicking their flashlights over every stray stone or lump in the grass hoping to catch a glimpse of movement ― the flexing muscular limbs or the bulging throat of a frog.
But there are too many of us. By the time we've reached the water's edge, the low chanting voices have dropped away and the whole place has fallen into silence.
What were you expecting? A tame goddess who can be bribed with easy offerings? A pleasant springtime girl who asks for nothing but your adoration in return? An owl-feathered maiden of the forest to indulge your taste for the exotic and the dark? Were you hoping for a bedtime story with a moral at the end?
Blodeuwedd's story isn't over. It is on-going. It is forever unfolding in every moment, in every place where nature and culture conflict and comingle, in every breath that weaves us as human animals into the more-than-human world. It would be too easy to approach Blodeuwedd through mythology and ritual alone, to disconnect her from the messy, erotic, death-riddled real world of broom blossoms and barred owls.