Archive for the ‘Dream’ Category

[originally published A Sense of Place, 09/12/13]

Down my lane is a Well.  It’s an Old Well, long venerated and hallowed; a place of quiet contemplation and healing.  This Well, now dedicated to St. John, is an eye Well; it’s known for its eye cures.  The rounds are held in August, they say to commemorate the beheading of St. John, but we know it was a Lughnasadh Well, don’t we.  Think about it:

  • Turas (Patron or Rounds) traditionally done at the end of August (remember, that is the date for Old Lughnasadh – before the calendar change)
  • Associated with beheading (harvest death, anyone?)
  • Healing for the Eyes – um, well, two out of three ain’t bad!

I suspect this was an inauguration site because of the presence of SO many of the required items (ok, this may be fanciful imagining, but I buy my argument!).  At the Crossroads is the site of an old church, following northwesterly up the ridge (and the lane) you find the Well where once a clootie tree stood, down the ridge near the stream, and almost directly across from the Well, is a Fulacht Fia (which I believe were used for ceremonial bathing).  Continuing northwesterly up the ridge (and the lane) you bump into three large Lios, in quick succession, with the last one being set apart by a standing stone.  If you continue following the ridge (and the lane) you run into two more LARGE, flat-topped Bull Stones before you reach the burial mound.  Oh, and stones were found in the excavation of the Well that contained both hand and feet prints–another curious inaugural element.

To read more of what I have to say on Bull Stones and the date of Old Lughnasadh, see my personal blog.

Now, may I introduce you to St. John’s well, Templebodan, east Cork!


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[originally published A Sense of Place, 09/05/13]

Croagh Patrick : by John Nolan

One time they [the king of Ireland’s three sons: Ruide, Fiacha, and Eochaid] went to talk with their father at the Grave of the Druids [fert na ndruadh] to the northwest of Tara. Where have you come from? he asked them. From Echlais Banguba in the south, they replied, from the home of our nurse and guardian. They were dressed in beautiful cloaks: a green cloak on the eldest, Ruide; a fringed woolen cloak from the Land of Promise on Fiacha; and a blue one on Eochaid, who had a band of shining silver fastened across his chest with a golden pin.

Young men, asked the king of Ireland, why have you come? To ask you for land and territory, they replied. The king was silent for a while before he answered: No father gave me land and territory, but my own ability and determination. I will not give you land. You must earn it yourselves.

They rose up as one and went to the green of Bruig na Bóinne where they sat with nobody near them.

What is your advice this night? asked Ruide.

Our advice, said his brothers, is that we fast against the Tuatha Dé Danann to be granted a kingdom, estates, land and great wealth from them.

They were not long there before they saw a … young man coming towards them.
What is your name? they asked.
Bodb Derb, son of the Dagda.
It was made known to the Tuatha Dé Danann that you would come here tonight to fast for lands and great wealth.
They stayed in that fairy mound for three days and three nights.
(Agallamh na senórach ‘The colloquy of the ancients’)

Four nights ago I slept inside the mound. My head, resting hard, on stone which once cradled cremated remains of the Mighty Dead. My back to the West, and the stone of Crom–fashioned in the likeness of the reek, Crom’s holy mountain, now a pilgrimage site to Patrick, the “driven, tormented British eccentric”–I arranged myself inside the recess, fetal like, and there I spent a long, dark night.

The weather on the west coast had turned cool and cloudy. The long forgotten valley, which leads to the cairns, is like another world; the narrow quarter of the speckled mountains. The path winds up through boggy ground, and as you leave the houses and road behind the necropolis appears suddenly before you. Cairns claim place of honor atop every ridge and peak. I was overcome by a feeling of watchfulness, and immediacy, as the cairns come into view quickly, without warning.

As I began my ascent up the bumpy mountain, the cairns slid from view. My attention was then drawn back down the valley, to the north and the horizon. A vast expanse of small undulations spread below me, like a green ocean, and in the distance danced rock islands of strange proportion. Benbulbin loomed furthest, with its flat top and long, sharp-toothed sides. The Ox Mountains, with their strange shapes (reminiscent of the raised hairs on a wild boar’s back), hurried between me and the jaw-shaped Benbulbin. The scene brought to mind the story of Diarmuid’s tragic end. It was on Benbulbin that Fionn, jealous of Grainne’s love of Diarmuid, tricked him into hunting boar, though he was under geas not to. Diarmuid was gored, and though water could have saved him–and Lough Gill stretches long nearby–Fionn refused. This story is written in the landscape, and I watched as dark clouds, full of Grainne’s tears, rolled in from the Atlantic.

In the night I heard the rumble of thunder, deep in the rocks; I heard high pitched cries, insistent with their repetition; and the whistle, and moan, of wind dancing across the peaks. The repeated cries, only inches from me in the dark, woke me. Quickly my light went on. On the back of the recess clung three red moths, in front of me on the lintel were another two, but the cries continued. I shone my light into the chamber, expecting anything, but only space and shadow greeted me. Off went the light, as I sat, until I felt from deep in the earth an expectancy.

To understand the placing of offerings in storage pits, it is perhaps helpful to think of corn storage itself as, in a sense, a ritual or religious act, whereby the grain was given into the safe-keeping of the chthonic or underground gods. […] The animals which rotted in the ground, their blood and vital juices seeping into the earth, nourished the earth-gods in whose territory the pits were dug. – Animals in Celtic Life and Myth, Miranda Green.

I shifted myself then to the antechamber, a liminal space between the narrow birth-canal passage and the expansive inner chamber. As I sat there in the returning dark, my eyes slowly adjusting to the faint glow of night sky barely visible at the end of the passage, a blur of motion soared above my head: another and another, wings quick on the chill air. Bats were leaving the cairn for the hunt, darting around and above me, yet so close I could feel the subtle wind currents set in motion by their wings.

There is a saying that if you sleep on a mound you will either die, go mad, be replaced with a changeling, or become a poet. But in the tale of the King of Ireland’s sons, they went to the dwelling of their ancestors to demand a boon. That night, under a waning crescent moon of Lughnasadh, I sought the Ancients–who were long venerated here–to make a pledge ….. and to seek a blessing.

WARNING: If you visit an Irish megalithic structure, do NOT burn candles near the rock; do NOT climb on the mound (internal collapse can happen–these are 5000 year old temples!); do NOT remove stones (in fact, the tradition is to bring a stone to add to the cairn); do NOT etch your name into the rock; and remove ALL rubbish you find or brought. They are watching you!

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[originally published A Sense of Place, 08/29/13]

Monday night, shortly after midnight, I was pulled from my bed by the strangest sound. I had been reading when I heard it, and at first I thought it was a cow, or maybe the sheep dog down the lane. But when it came again I didn’t recognize it, so I crawled over to the window-seat and leaned out of the upstairs window, hoping to hear more clearly. The valley below was shrouded in a thin mist, which was illumined under a cloudy sky. It was deathly still, with not a whisper of wind. Then the call came again, just behind the house, either on the lane or in the pasture, between the house and the Ring Fort.


Turn the Volume UP

There is much rubbish about ‘Celtic animal totems’ on the internet, and while fox does play a role in some Irish folktales, there is scant mention in the mythologies. Yet there are tantalizing glimpses of Sionnach in some Irish historical manuscripts, as well as in the remains of human sacrifice! The 17th century historical chronicle, The Annal of the Four Masters, notes a descendent of one of the southern branches of the Uí Neill gaining the nickname “An Sionnach“, which was then passed down to his son, Bec An Sionnach Odhar and eventually stuck as a surname. There is debate as to how the original man, “The Sinnach Finn, i.e. Tadhg Ua Catharnaigh”, came by the nickname “fox” but it was either his skill at ‘acquiring’ land, his murder of an esteemed poet, or his B.O. (seriously, it could have been because of his strong smell). If the name was associated with skill in land ‘acquisition’, it reinforces the image of fox as wily. If the odor bit was the cause, well what can I say — fox is known for his strong musk (and so are some Irish men)! But, the murder bit is really intriguing. In Ireland, poets were of high social ranking. To kill one put you on the path of outlaw–someone ‘outside’ the bounds of ordered society–as the Fianna were seen to be. And notice, the original ‘Fox’ was referred to as “The Sinnach Finn”. Which leads me to human sacrifice….

The Lindow Man, a bog body found in England outside modern-day Manchester, is a great example of an Iron Age sacrificial victim. He suffered a triple-death (throat cut, strangled, and hit on the head), was placed in a liminal space (bog), and was found naked, except for the strip of fox fir on his left arm. Leslie Jones, in a paper presented at the March 2000 Celtic Conference in California, argues that fox fir was used to identify the victim as a ‘sacrifice’. She offers historical evidence, from other areas of the world that also practiced human sacrifice, demonstrating that the fox arm-band was “part of the rationalization process involved in the performance of scapegoating a human sacrifice”. Fox is seen as an ‘outlaw’ animal, living on the periphery of human society, neither domesticated nor fully wild. It is this ‘outlaw’ function, by breaking societal taboos or living outside them, that warrants the sacrifice–or allows it.

So, just how are Tadhg Ua Catharnaigh and human sacrifice relevant to my hearing Fox cry at midnight, in the deathly quiet of a Lughnasadh night?


I play the fox.


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[originally published A Sense of Place, 08/22/13]

This was a heartbreaking time. I still mourn for the ringfort, and blackthorn grove. My heart was truly broken. It was not long after this break-up that I suffered a catastrophic health condition.  Be mindful of the relationships you build! 


I am leaving my little house, and the lane with the standing stone and ring fort.  I won’t be taking autumnal walks under the hazel thicket, or lounging in the arms of the blackthorn grove during winter’s darkest hours.  Instead, I will stroll under the tall heads of pecan and elm because I am returning to the sauntering arms of a Texas sunbeam.  This week I packed my first suitcase and the physicality of the act brought the reality home.  As I retreated to the cozy stone sitting room, to process my swelling emotion, I heard a loud and terrible crash upstairs.  Rushing up to find what had fallen, I discovered a slat in my built-in bookshelf had been dislodged and an entire row of books sent flying.

Had this bookshelf been any other, I would have chalked it up to poor craftsmanship, or age.  But these wooden slats are tight fitted, and wedged into thick stone walls.  The force required to dislodge the wooden slat, and heave the heavy books out across the floor, would have been significant.  Also, there had been an equally mysterious book incident the day before, as well as an eerie smothering of a perfectly warm peat fire.  Taken together, these signs sent me immediately to my altar, and my ancestor stones.

I have a set of small, self-gathered stones carved with signs that sit near my larger ancestor stone and offering cup.  I use these small stones for divination purposes, and to ask direct questions of my ancestors.  In this instance, I wanted to know if someone was upset with me or trying to get my attention.  It turned out both were true!  Apparently the spirits of the house, and land immediately surrounding it, are upset that The Human is leaving, as they have grown accustomed to interacting consciously again with The Human — as once was more common and prevalent here!

Many years ago I journeyed.  On my deep and cold voyage I met a Lady who showed me many sights.  One of these marvels was Her great belly surging upon the land, washing tree and home and creature out to sea, as she wriggled and writhed in ecstasy.  This vision troubled me, as you might imagine, and in that moment She taught me the lesson of reciprocity and the concept of wholism.  You see, the Lady viewed those living beings as a whole, not as individuals: The Palm, The Macaw, The Human.

As a witch, I walk between my own world, that of The Human, and the world of Other.  I walk this hedge because I choose to see a third path, and to stride alone in a space both uncomfortable and uncharted for the sake of curiosity, creativity, and relationship.  I’ve met many wonderful persons, human and other, on these unfamiliar roads, but I’ve also acquired wounds; exploring dark places is risky.  I’ve often been the one left lamenting the departure of an ally, or a change in circumstance.  Now, I am the one causing the unease.

My relationship building is selective, and not trivial or fanciful.  I believe all living persons, human and other-than-human, are worthy of respect and dignity, but I may not want to hang out with them all. I also do not see myself as the center of anyone else’s world but my own.  The persons who live near me do not exist for my benefit, nor am I the focus of their lives or attention. Not all other-than-human persons even notice me, let alone desire to get to know me, or (as many view it) The Human.

At some point in the distant past The Human formed relationship with this land and built long-standing, meaningful structures upon it.  When I moved here, I wanted to respectfully foster those relationships–and isn’t that the romantic, oft sung part of being a witch?  Yet the harder work is what we do with those relationships once they are forged. How do we treat the persons we are in relationship with, and why have we sought them out?  Did I only foster that connection for prestige, for the introductions he could make at a dinner party?

In this instance, as is the case in many human-human relationships, one partner must make changes that impact the relationship.  There are no easy answers, and nothing we can do to make these transitions easier– except lean into the discomfort, and be thankful.

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[originally published A Sense of Place, 08/15/13]

Last week I was in London.  It was my first real visit to the city (layovers at the airport don’t count), and I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.  I wanted to see ALL the things, have ALL the experiences, and, probably somewhere deep in my heart, I wanted London to rub off on me.  So many British cultural icons emerged from London that the city itself has become iconic.  It represents an idea of ‘coolness’, a playground for ‘cutting-edge’ artists and cultural creatives at the fore of social experimentation. Perhaps the reality is vastly different from the image, but that’s what icons are all about–they inspire through their symbolism.  So London, like all cities, is about the human-persons who live there; what they create, what they build, and how, as a collective, they shape Place.

When I travel, and especially when I visit somewhere new, I like to attune myself to my surroundings. I adjust my antenna to the same frequency as my new place, to better connect with and understand the identity and character of both the geographic area and the cultural landscape.  This process can take anywhere from two hours to two years, and have an impact on my body.  You see, sometimes the vibration is like a stream, gently skipping over a shallow bed of pebbles. Sometimes the vibration is like punk music screaming out of a too close speaker.  The difference often being whether I’m in town or country.  London definitely screamed Sex Pistols at me, but I was prepared.  I drank plenty of water, I took frequent breaks the first day, and migraine treatment was administered at the first sign of cranial tightening.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere , human-persons living in cities may struggle to connect with the larger construct, or energy, of the city as a whole, but they can easily connect to Places Within Places.  In my post on the “Top 10 Tips For Cultivating Place In The City” I broke-down how to engage 10 simple practices intended to cultivate immediacy and connection in the midst of urban chaos.  During my five days in London I used many of these tips.  Their use contributed to an authentic experience and sense of connection – I love London!

I began by focusing on ‘home base’.  I knew I was staying in Battersea, so I began with a little research on the history of the area.  I was already vaguely familiar with the history of Londinium, and then modern London, but my strategy of focusing on Places Within Places required I be more specific, so I looked for information about the village of Battersea.  Turns out, Badrices īeg (as it was known in Anglo-Saxon times) was an island settlement in the river delta of the Falconbrook, which connects into the Thames.  This sounded perfect!  An ancient human settlement located at a liminal space, a connecting point; a smaller, more intimate, experience flowing into the larger body.  I also learned it was a working class industrial area, settled from the sixteenth-century by Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in Europe.  This was enough information for me to feel a sense of human connection.  So when I walked out of the tube station the day I arrived, I focused on attuning, and as I walked down the tiny lane to the house I had rented, I searched for clues to the areas modern story, so I could incorporate my sensual experience with my research.

I used this approach repeatedly, and with much success. When I visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the South Bank I first focused on the areas history as an ‘arts centre’ (theatre and public entertainment were outlawed within the City walls, so artists flocked across the river Thames), and then attuned myself to the modern sense of place.  The same applied to King’s Road in Chelsea; St. Paul’s Cathedral in the ‘City of London’ (which is distinct from the modern megacity); or even Soho in the City of Westminster.  It was helpful that London, like cities everywhere, swallowed neighboring villages and towns as it expanded (now engaging what sociologists call ‘edge city growth’, with satellite towns or bedroom communities feeding into the larger city), because it gave me a named, smaller bite to chew on.  As I ventured into each new ‘borough’, I took time to readjust my antenna — not viewing these landmarks as part of one large city, but as Places Within Places.

There are many aspects of modern city life that I disagree with, and think we could do better, but as edifices they truly are the anthills — or bee hives — of our civilization.  Their buzz and efficiency can be quite alluring.  They also each possess unique systems, reflecting the priorities and cultural perceptions of those human-persons who occupy them.  As an animist, and a witch, the environmental impact of cities is hard to take.  Yet, they are not leaving us.  I believe as we embrace them, and come to work intentionally within our cities — instead of dreaming ways to escape them — we can find the connection to place we seek, and shape our human ‘beehives’  in ways that reflect our pagan perceptions and priorities.

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[originally published A Sense of Place, 07/25/13]

We are approaching the Lughnasadh season, and bulls are on my mind.  We have several large standing stones on our ridge–the thick, curved variety. One of my neighbors recently mentioned a bit of local folklore about these stones. In this townland of east Cork, those large stones are known as ‘bull stones’. Our neighbor said that when she was a girl she thought this was because they tied the bull to them….

On the Dingle Peninsula a great assembly was held on Domhnach Chrom Dubh in the village of Cloghane. In the old days, the turas (pilgrimage) was made at dawn on the top of Mount Brandon–which would have required a night climb or a vigil on the hill (1). The ’rounds’ consisted of praying at the ruined oratory (Sáipéilín Bréanainn) and then encircling it and the pillar-stone and the ‘graves’ nine times while saying the Rosary, and ended by taking a drink from the well.

When these exercises finished, pilgrims went down the eastern slope to the village, where a famous Patron was held. This Patron was begun, tradition says, to commemorate the day on which the pagan chieftain Crom Dubh converted to Christianity. Crom lived at Ballyduff (Baile Dubh), about two miles from Cloghane. A stone carving, formerly kissed as a cure for toothache, in the wall of a local church is said to represent his head. In the OS Name Books for this parish, dated 1841, there is a note indicating that Croum Dhu was the god of the harvest whom pagans worshipped. His conversion legend tells of him slaughtering a bull in order to send the meat as a gift to St. Brendan.

Another story, this one from Galway, recounts how Crom Dubh (‘a false god whose law prevailed until Patrick overcame him’) was a wild speckled bull (tarbh breac) that killed travelers at Mam Ean: it attacked Patrick, but was driven by him into the lake in which it drowned (Loch an Tairbh – the bull’s lake). In Armagh there is the story of a bull that prevented Patrick from building a church, so Patrick cursed him and he went mad, was eventually caught and killed, and buried under a standing stone at Corran. This stone, part of The Bull’s Tracks, was once associated with the bull of Cualgne (from the Cattle Raid of Cooley), which makes sense because originally the bull that defied Patrick (Crom) and the bull of Cualgne were, if not one and the same, at least emanations of the same concept.

On an island north of Skye there was a tradition of sacrificing a bull in August, on a day dedicated to ‘going around some ruinous chapels, taking of omens from a hole in a round stone…, adoring of wells and … pouring of milk upon hills as oblations.’ – and the bull-killing associated with a cure for insanity(2). From Cois Fhairrge, we hear of a beef-animal skinned and roasted to ashes in honour of Crom Dubh (harvest-giver and weather-ruler), with the hide carefully preserved. For as we know from many Irish sources, sleeping in a bull-hide was a rite of divination.

I have read that a connection existed between the wild bull as guardian and dream giver, and an essential trial undergone by seekers.  Bull sacrifice was also made to The Great Mother, whose temple in Rome is located under the Vatican.

There are several large stones identified as, or with, Crom Dubh (Crom Cruach, Cromm Crúaich, Cenn Cruach, Cenncroithi), i.e. the decorated stone from the Cavan stone circle, and the large stone at the Grange circle in Limerick.

In a previous issue of the NRA archaeology magazine, they say this about standing stones:

Standing stones are thought to have functioned as burial-markers, commemorative monuments, boundmarkers and route indicators. … Previous excavations of standing stones in Ireland demonstrate a general association with prehistoric burial grounds and they are often interpreted as territorial markers. It has also been occasionally suggested that some are aligned on important landscape features such as local mountains. It has also been suggested that standing stones were intended to resemble the human form. The Ask stones may fall into one of two categories: ‘guardian’ stones to the site both warning of the entry into a sacred or supernatural space and protecting the outside world from the energies within, or ‘companion’ stones to the dead, marking the limits and extent of a sacred or significant place, such as a cemetery.”

Chrom, whose Holy Days are fast approaching, was associated here in Ireland with thunderstorms.  It was said to be propitious if it lashed rain, with thunder and lightning, on his day. The development of thunderstorms requires warm air, which in turn would have meant good growing weather.  But what was the significance to a pre-agrarian population who worshiped the Wild Bull? I don’t know.  But I can tell you this….

We have had a true summer this year in Cork, and last night….. lightning flashed across the sky and thunder rolled. Long live Chrom!

1. Manuscript of the Irish Folklore Commission 888, 390.

2. Mitchell, A., On various superstitions in the north-west highlands and islands of Scotland especially in relation to lunacy.

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[originally published A Sense of Place, 07/18/13]

Ireland is in the grip of a heatwave. Temperatures hover around 25ºC, even up to 30ºC in some places (that’s 77-86ºF), and the sun shines, cloudless, in the sky. The plants in our garden are not used to this type of heat, or lack of moisture, so I have been watering. While out tending the beds and deadheading roses, I contemplated trimming back several other flowers, in the hope of spurring new growth and a second round of blooms. It was in that moment of contemplation and meditative stillness that my mind was flooded with:

“Don’t cut off our genitals! Those are our potential babies! Don’t make us start over!”

caution: these flowers are anthropomorphized and not representative of actual flower-persons

You see, this is the sort of thing that happens once you become an animist; all the bloody world is a living person and worthy of respect!

With the passage of recent draconian abortion legislation in my home state of Texas (as well as here in Ireland), and the massive push by Americans United for Life to pass similar restrictive bills in other US states, the issue of reproduction and reproductive-rights is on my mind. I am also preparing, at a soul level, to be with a friend during her initiation into Motherhood, by serving as her birth and postpartum doula. So babies, birth and life are swirling in my consciousness.

I’ve also always considered myself a caretaker of the place I live, and strive not only to do no harm, but to improve quality of life. This usually manifests in my use of natural, nontoxic products; water and soil conservation measures; and caring for wildlife that may visit my garden. Yet I also think of aesthetics–namely my own. My mind drifts to cottage gardens with profuse vegetation, riots of color, and winding paths: a place of tranquility.

Yet here we are, in a gorgeous summer, and my flowers are screaming at me! Err….wait. If all that exists lives, and all that lives is worthy of respect, aren’t flower-persons equally worthy of respect and self-determination as human-persons?  Can I even think of them as, ‘mine’?

As I mull this over, along with my own pro-choice stance on abortion, I am forced to ask myself: who is entitled to self-determination? Human-persons are entitled to it, as we perceive ourselves as conscious beings engaged in relationship-building.  Yet, we are not alone. Science is finally catching up with indigenous knowledge and re-confirming the consciousness of many other animals, and that even plants engage in relational behavior.

It would seem all beings are entitled to self-determine; which also means we ought not objectify them.

part of biosphere reserve : http://www.biosphaerenpark.com  Is this commodification?

When I impose my ethics onto another human-female, concerning her reproductive decisions, I objectify her. Likewise, when I determine which plants are allowed to live in my garden, or which can reproduce, I objectify those plant-persons. Worse still, I commodify them. They become mere objects within my control; a heteronomous existence infused with duress.

Yet death is part of life, even in an autonomous living world. Our survival, as with other complex organisms, is dependent upon death. Depriving another living person, be they plant or animal, of their self-determination by taking their life is part of our species’ survival need. I could wax lyrical about a romanticized past where we, like our privileged white European invention: the Noble Red Man, ritually honored the other-than-human persons we hunted, thus showing respect, and engaging with the world holistically, as we participate in the cycle of life and death, but I won’t diminish the issue with such a fantasy.

The truth is, human-persons have lived more holistically in the past, but they have also been just as they are now: sometimes oblivious, sometimes lazy, sometimes careless, sometimes poetic, and sometimes wondrous. What we have not always been is modern, and on the path of a technological, capitalist-fueled modernity where both cultural commodification and the commodification of nature are common place–so much so that I doubt most of us realize when we are engaged in it.

If I hold respect and self-determination as ethics, and I perceive the living world around me as full of other-than-human persons with their own conscious awareness and unique cultural expression, then how can I act upon them in ways that subject them to my will and values, at the expense of their inherent right to self-determination? I can’t, unless I am still living under an anthropocentric worldview.

How might I, in this modern capitalist civilization, live more inline with ‘pagan’ ethics?

I might intentionally shift my thinking about the right of nature to exist, as it chooses. If I build a house, I might incorporate the natural world, instead of bulldoze my way through it. I might become carless, choosing to bike or walk, thus reducing the pillage of nature’s resources. I might consider buying less generally, which begins a profound shift of my well-programmed mindset– that ‘objects’ and ‘stuff’ are commodities and wholly separate from me.

The more important question to ask ourselves, as conscientious members of a global community of living persons, is whether our actions and choices are driven by necessity or want.

Is it a necessity to bulldoze 300-year old trees to build another home-improvement store? Is it a necessity to mine and drill for the minerals required to build and operate automobiles, which then pollute our atmosphere? Are even three-quarters of the ‘possessions’ in our homes necessary?

I would venture that most of these are wants, mere conveniences that don’t make our lives more convenient. Their acquisition demands we work longer, not less, and they add a layer of complexity our psyche struggles to integrate, thus fueling the global epidemic of stress related illness.

I’m not here to answer these questions, they are ongoing, but I can tell you this: as I stood in my garden, with these arguments running through my mind, I put away the clippers. Who am I to make such choices for another living person.

Awe for the natural world’s wonders is one of the initial religious responses, and one of the ways we see the ‘all’ reflected back to us, disrupting our perception of exceptionalism. ~ JM

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