Pagan Culture - Earth Wisdom



by Rev. Judith Laxer; artwork by Mark Roland

The contract Wanda and I had was quite magickal in every way. But it wasn’t until I placed her in her grave that the impact of what I would have to do actually hit me: I’d have to dig up my dead cat!

I made a pact with my cat Wanda. When she was about three or four years old, during one of our love-each-other times, Wanda rested her beautiful head in the palm of my left hand. I petted her from the tip of her cold, wet nose to the back of her ruff, over and over, bliss on her face, and probably mine, too. My landscaping friend Michael had recently given me a cat skull he had unearthed. He knew I would appreciate such a thing, and as I ran my hand over Wanda’s head again and again, I mentally asked her, “Can I have your skull when you die?”

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Greening the Future with Starhawk

Greening the Future with Starhawk


By the earth that is her body,
And by the waters of her living womb.......

By the fire of her bright spirit,
And by the air that is her breath......

May the peace of the Star Goddess go into your hearts…

Originally by Victor Anderson,
edited & adapted version from Starhawk’s The Earth Path


Starhawk is a Witch, peace activist, ecofeminist, author, and teacher in Earth Activist Training. She best known as a co-founder of the Reclaiming Collective and as the author of the contemporary Pagan classic The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, which has been continuously in print for thirty years. Starhawk’s early Craft teachers were Victor and Cora Anderson of the legendary Feri Tradition. Early in her career as a Craft teacher she started using the name “Starhawk” after she had a dream of a hawk flying across the starlit sky. One of Starhawk’s latest books, The Earth Path, traces her work in combining Earth-based spirituality, permaculture, organizing, and activism. She spoke to me in January, 2010 from her home near Cazadero, California.

Michael Night Sky How did your interest in Witchcraft and Paganism begin?

Star Although I was raised Jewish, I always had my deepest moments of connection in nature. So when I encountered people who were practicing the Goddess religion, I just found that whole idea of the Goddess to be so empowering, and the idea of a religion that said “the natural world is sacred,” for me just was like, “Yes! This is it!”

Michael Night Sky Do you connect more with the name “Witch” or “Pagan.” Do you see a big difference?

Star I’m definitely both. To me, “Pagan” sort of includes “Witch,” kind of like “Christian” includes “Southern Baptist.” In my practice, being a Witch is about having made a specific commitment to the Goddess. We used to say Witches were all clergy and we had no congregations, but now I think that is shifting. As the tradition grows we have some people who really do want to be clergy. We also now see people who come out for big rituals, and believe in the Goddess, but they’re busy with other things, and don’t practice ritual or magic on a regular basis.

Read more: Greening the Future with Starhawk

Earth Her Body

Annual onions are shaded from the intense Texas afternoon heat by the shade of a large loquat tree.


Earth Her Body —
The Path of Pagan Permaculture

Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. — Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way

Permaculture has been permeating our Pagan culture for many years. From Austin to Montreal, Witches and activists practicing earth-based spirituality are using the systems taught in permaculture design courses to organize everything from their farms to their finances.

Starhawk has been a prime mover of this movement, with her Earth Activist Training melding Pagan spirituality with permaculture design. (See our interview with her directly in the magazine.)

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Cougar Dreams and The Power of Choosing

To every man there openeth 
A way, and ways, and a way.
And the high soul climbs the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low.
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.

---John Oxenham

Believe it or not, even personal development coaches can sometimes feel themselves struggling with inertia, seemingly unable to figure out much less take the next step, feeling stuck. Recently, in the throes of a particularly impotent (figuratively speaking) period where I felt both my personal and professional life were going nowhere fast, I had an unusually vivid dream.

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Faerie Magick Basics


3 key principles to working with the fae

If you’re a Witch, chances are you have a relationship with the faerie folk, whether you realize it or not. This is because Witchcraft and nature-based spirituality is innately aligned with the energies and wisdom of the Earth, and so are the faeries! So we’re a perfect fit! Our relationship with the faeries can be mutually beneficial, and when we become consciously aware of, and strengthen it, this bond brings blessings to us, to faeries, and the entire planet.

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Abracadabra of Faerie

head_Craig-ConleyWordsmith Craig Conley muses on a magical word that’s also a proper name.

Delving through dusty old tomes in search of ancient expressions of enchantment, I noticed that one command in particular seemed to trace directly back to Faery. I was searching for subtle, mysterious, transformative words, whose vibrations seemed to transcend the laws of physics. One such mystical word proved time and time again to be the name of a great lady Faery. Small wonder that her name has endured as the best-known and best-loved magic word in recorded history.

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