Be aware that this Tumblr frequently includes pictures of art made with animal remains, as well as occasional liberal political ideologies. Mostly it's nature photography and art (and not just of charismatic megafauna).
Artist, author, ecopagan, and wannabe polymath living in the Pacific Northwe(s)t.
Creator of Curious Gallery, a two-day arts festival celebrating the wunderkammer revival in Portland, OR on February 1-2, 2014. Details at http://www.curiousgallerypdx.com.
I discovered neopaganism in the mid-1990s, and shortly thereafter began my work with animal totems and neoshamanism. Over the years I've wandered through various paths, ranging from Wicca-flavored neopaganism to Chaos magic, and for several few years I created (and followed) Therioshamanism, a post-industrial neo-shamanic path. These days I've relaxed into a more integrated ecopaganism, less about rituals and journeying, and more about the sacred in every moment.
I've also been creating various neopagan ritual tools and other sacred art from hides, bones, beads and other such things since about the same time. And I've written several nonfiction books on totemism, animal magic, and related topics. My next book is "Plant and Fungus Totems: Connect With Spirits of Field, Forest and Garden", due out from Llewellyn in May 2014.
A few places to find me, as I'm all over the internet:
Ask me anything
I suck at being a Pagan or whatever. I hear so many people go on about how nature speaks to them and they learn stuff from the earth, and I just stand there like “Well that’s a pretty tree…”
You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, “that’s a pretty tree” is a really good starting point.
Why? Well, first of all, there’s no single correct way to be a nature-based pagan. Some pagans connect really deeply with nature on a spiritual level, working with the spirits and other beings that populate the landscape, and/or with deities that embody natural forces, etc. They glean lessons from their communications with these beings and that’s where they find their connection to something bigger than they are. And that may be some of what you’re seeing other people do.
However, there’s also a LOT of opportunity for deep connections and finding meaning in direct observation of the physical natural world. For example, for me a hike is a spiritual experience, not because I have nature spirits popping out at me at every turn, but because I feel deeply immersed in the place I’m in, and I am overwhelmed by the beauty and intricacy of the ecosystems I’m passing through and the animals, plants, fungi and other living beings that populate them. There’s a feeling of reverence and privilege for being able to share the world with such a diverse array of life.
Over the years, I’ve found that the deepest spiritual experiences for me aren’t in formal rituals and meditations, but in the wonder and awe I feel at being a part of this world. That’s the “something greater than myself” that I connect to. Sure, there are spirits and other beings I work with, but even the basis of that spirit work is rooted in physical nature.
Even if all you ever have is “that’s a pretty tree”, you still have a lot of possibilities for tying those observations into your spiritual path. Don’t go into this whole thing with a pile of expectations of what you should or shouldn’t be feeling, experiencing, or doing. If you’ll forgive the pun, let your path develop organically. Maybe you’ll do more work with nature spirits or more formal rituals, maybe you won’t. But please don’t be down on yourself just because you aren’t experiencing the same things as some other people, okay?
(And feel free to message me if you’d like to talk more about this. I just happened to run across this in the pagan tag and it reminded me a lot of me when I was newer to paganism than I am now.)
This made me feel really good, because that’s kind of how I feel as well …
Glad to hear it :) Nobody should have to feel bad because they don’t experience something spiritual in the same way other people do. Spirituality, pagan or otherwise, isn’t a competition. It’s a person’s way of making sense of the world (or worlds, plural, if you prefer) and regardless of whatever you believe is or isn’t out there, it all starts inside your own perceptions and ways of connecting.
Recently, my fellow writer, Rua Lupa, posted to No Unsacred Place about her goings-on for Transequilux. This is the time of year that many pagans refer to as Imbolc, Candlemas, etc., midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In her path, Ehoah, the spring equinox (or Equilux) is the new year, which I feel is a more fitting time than the middle of winter. She described a variety…
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I got a bunch of preorders for Plant and Fungus Totems this month, particularly at PantheaCon and FaerieCon West—thank you! For those of you online, have you preordered your copy yet? It’ll be out in May, and preorders get their copies sent from the very first box of books I receive! Find out more about what the book is all about and reserve your copy at http://www.thegreenwolf.com/plantandfungus.html or https://www.etsy.com/listing/170411597/preorder-plant-and-fungus-totems-connect today!
It’s the turning of the year again, and Rua Lupa offers a variety of seasonal celebrations form around the world far exceeding just Imbolc, as well as key information about what natural processes are occurring this time of year.
Drum Spirit by SoulfireArtworks. Originally posted at No Unsacred Place.
So on Sunday I was a guest on the Pagan Musings Podcast. The initial topic was animism and my anthology, Engaging the Spirit World. We did start off in that direction—but then we wandered far off-trail into topics ranging from ecopsychology and environmental activism, to humanistic/naturalistic pantheism and other theologies, to my work with skin spirits and animal remains, to how we can best communicate about the things we feel strongly about. It essentially went from “interview” to “rambling, lovely conversation”, and we went for three hours!
Please do feel free to take a listen; I cover some things I haven’t really had the chance to talk about, and my gracious hosts helped this become a wonderful spoken creation, IMO.
I was meditating a bit a few evenings ago on the fights of butterflies.
See, I’d seen an image on Tumblr of two male Monarch butterflies scrapping over territory, and the caption said that they could get quite aggressive with each other. In fact, there’s a good chance many of you out there have seen butterflies engaged in battle, fluttering at each other in midair and even clutching and pushing at times. We’re inclined to see their struggle as “pretty”, and we may even mistake it as two butterflies happily dancing together.
Now think of two male elk battling it out over a patch of territory. We usually focus on the immense power in their bodies as they tussle, the sharp tines of branching antlers and the muscles in straining haunches. In fact, it is their physical strength that is one of the elk’s best-known traits.
Yet who is to say the elk is more fierce than the butterfly just because the insect is smaller and more delicate?
Read the rest here.
I’ve compiled a small (but hopefully growing!) list of public libraries that have one or more copies of New Paths to Animal Totems available to check out for free! It’s a little bit down the page, but before you get to the ordering buttons.
Also, if you know of any other public libraries that have it currently available for checkout, let me know so I can add them to the list!
“Dusky Arion” sounds like a pretty name, right? Maybe even the moniker of a character in a sci-fi or fantasy story, or a particularly inventive stripper. In actuality, the dusky arion is neither an imaginary being nor a sensual dancer–it is a slug, and here in the U.S. an invasive one at that.
I know Slug totems in general are among the “undesirables”, the ones that people fear getting in their meditations and card readings and whatnot because they aren’t cool or physically imposing. But I’m rather pleased to count Dusky Arion as one of the totems I’ve been privileged to work with. It’s been a mutually beneficial experience, and I’ve been learning quite a bit from it as well as being able to improve my relationship with its physical counterparts.
Read the rest here.
If you liked Rua Lupa’s post on reasons for nature-based ritual and ceremony last week, she’s posted the second of three articles on the topic.