Working with Land Spirits
by Phil Brucato
Where are you, right this minute? If you’re like most of us, you’re probably sitting inside an air-conditioned house, maybe with a TV or computer humming away in the background, electric light on overhead and the smell of fast food wafting through your living space.
Aren’t we Pagans? Don’t we revere Nature? Didn’t we renounce the gods of books in favor of a gospel spoken every moment by the Earth? Yes? Then why are so many of us sitting inside with feet propped up on coffee tables, remote in one hand and cheeseburger in the other? As summer arrives, is there any good answer for that question?
Really. Go outside.
Normally, this column focuses on Paganism and popular culture. Not all culture, though, comes from books, games, music, or the Internet. As I pondered my next article, my roommate Cory and I got on a rant about Pagans who spend their lives wrapped up in air-conditioned cocoons. That’s when I knew what I had to write about this issue: not about passive media culture, but about the active culture just outside the culture of the living world.
I Am the Mountain Walking
©2012 Bodie Parkhurst
I Am the Mountain Walking
by Dr. Douglas Ezzy, artwork by Bodie Parkhurst
Mountains do not walk. Not in the sense that most people think of humans walking. But that is precisely the point. If you assume that only humans are truly alive, that only humans are active, that only humans think, feel, and have emotions and hopes, then the rest of the world looks lifeless. But what if not only dolphins, whales, and chimpanzees, but also trees, orchids, creeks, rocks, rivers, and even mountains were alive? What if they were “people” with purposes, activities, and “spirit,” just the same as humans?
Or, to put it differently, what if I am not only human, but also part of the mountain, and the mountain is part of me? From that perspective, mountains do indeed walk. When I walk, the mountain also walks, because the mountain is part of me. I am the mountain walking.
Where is Gaia, when we need Her most?
Where is Gaia,
when we need Her most?
A guest editorial by Kenaz Filan.
At 6:10 a.m. CDT on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. By 11:00 a.m. several of the levees which separate New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain had been breached. The birthplace of Dixieland Jazz, Mardi Gras, and New Orleans Vodou soon lay submerged beneath a stinking cocktail of brackish water, raw sewage, and petro-chemicals. People asked “where were the lwa? How could they let something like this happen to their city?
any theological issues deal with nebulous abstractions, but the question of suffering is always direct and straightforward. We cannot help but be concerned about homeless children, about shattered families, about old people dying of exposure and young women raped by roving gangs of thugs.
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina throws the question of suffering in our face. Few cities rivaled New Orleans for its concentration of Witches, magicians, sorcerers, rootworkers, and other Spiritually Aware Folks. It has long been known as the Vodou Capital of America: if any city in the United States was home to the lwa and the spirits, it was New Orleans. And yet all of that magical power was not enough to turn away a hurricane or to hold the levees in place. What does Hurricane Katrina tell us about our magic, or about the spirits we serve and the gods we honor? These are not easy questions, but they demand an answer nonetheless.
Bring Harmony Home with Feng Shui
©2012 Cheryl Baker
Bring Harmony Home
With Feng Shui
by Leslie Ann Budewitz, artwork Cheryl Baker
I owe my marriage to feng shui. No, really.
I first heard of feng shui (fung SHWAY) when I attended a dinner party with the acupuncturist I was dating. When we walked up to the front door of his friends’ home, I immediately felt welcome, though I’d never met the homeowners. The lights glowed softly and his friends were congenial, but it was more than that. The place just felt right.
That evening, I discovered the ancient Chinese Art of Placement, a way of harmonizing the natural vital energy — known as qi 1 — of a space to maximize its flow, increasing comfort, prosperity, and other beneficial aspects. Fresh from training at the Western School of Feng Shui,2 our friend, Karen McMullen, pointed out how the placement of furniture and objects in the home allowed energy to meander freely. She’d positioned other items to enhance specific aspects of life, such as creativity, health, or helpful people. Then she winked at my companion. “Don can tell you how feng shui works,” she said.
Looking for the sacred?
It may be closer than you think.
Many Pagans seek the Goddess in primal, unsullied Nature. Some commune with Her in untamed wilderness; others travel to national parks or to campgrounds where trees and green spaces are accompanied by showers and fl ush toilets. They make their pilgrimage to the sacred grove and seek the holiness which exists outside civilization.