The spiritual adventure of city walking

Originally posted on Sermons in Stones:

I took up regular walking because I needed to tend my physical self better. Most weeks, I walk five days, and usually, I’m walking around San Francisco. I took it up as exercise for the body, but it’s turned out to be an important spiritual practice too.

Walking brings things into focus that just aren’t visible from a car or bus, or even a bike. I start to wonder: why is there so much trash in the street in this neighborhood, and not in that neighborhood? Do the street cleaners skip this block sometimes? Do people just throw more stuff onto the sidewalk here? The city trash cans are often overflowing on this block–why is that?

A street planted with trees feels completely different than an otherwise identical street one block over.

The city’s many murals become intricate paintings at a walking pace. I’m in an art gallery now.


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Celebrating Harvest Home 2014

Originally posted on Nature is Sacred:

The Autumnal Equinox, also called Harvest Home, Mabon or Alban Elfed is a time of transition and change, a time of honouring the changing seasons and a time of reflection and thanksgiving (in fact it is often called “The Pagan Thanksgiving”). It is also a time of balance. The Autumn Equinox is the midpoint between the summer and winter solstices, when the day and night is of equal length and light and dark are balanced. It marks the beginning of the dark half of the year for the northern hemisphere, when nights are longer than days.

By the time of the Autumnal Equinox, the earth around us is showing the signs of the journey into winter – with later dawns and earlier sunsets, the weather is cooler and the leaves on the trees are turning wonderful colours. The animals are busy preparing for winter – squirrels collecting nuts and acorns…

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Mabon – The Myth of Progress

Originally posted on Works of Literata:

I’m continuing to republish a series of articles on the Sabbats originally written in 2011.

Mabon, the autumn equinox, is something of a blank slate. In the Wheel of the Year, the “cross-quarter days” are Celtic fire festivals; the other solar festivals – the solstices and the vernal equinox – are grounded in proto-Germanic cultures. In those Germanic cultures, though, the autumn equinox has no strong history of celebration; it doesn’t even have a distinguishing name. To keep the Wheel of the Year in balance, Gerald Gardner included the autumn equinox, but left most of the details open to interpretation. The name Mabon, drawn from Welsh mythology, came into common use later on, but doesn’t do much to specify the nature of the festival.

As a result, different ways of interpreting the multiple harvest festivals have sprung up. Some groups focus on the Celtic roots of Lunasa and leave the…

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To Savor the World or Save It

I arise in the morning torn between the desire
To save the world and to savor it–
To serve life or to enjoy it–
To savor the world or save it?
The question beats in upon the waiting moment–
To savor the sweet taste of my own joy
Or to share the bitter cup of my neighbor;
To celebrate life with exuberant step
Or to struggle for the life of the heavy laden?

What am I to do–
When the guilt at my bounty
Clouds the sky of my vision;
When the glow which lights my every day
Illumines the hurting world around me?

To savor the world or save it?
God of justice, if such there be,
Take from me the burden of my question.
Let me praise my plenitude without limit;
Let me cast from my eyes all troubled folk!

No, you will not let me be.
You will not stop my ears
To the cries of the hurt and the hungry;
You will not close my eyes
To the sight of the afflicted.
No, you will not!

What is that you say?
To savor one must serve?
To savor one must save?
The one will not stand without the other?
Forgive me–
In my preoccupation with self,
In my concern for my own life
I had forgotten.
Forgive me, God of justice,
forgive me, and make me whole.

- Richard S. Gilbert
The Prophetic Imperative



I came across this wonderful piece in the comments of an interesting blog post by one of my favorite bloggers as I was taking a respite from report writing at work.  I recommend the blog post that inspired the sharing of this poem, as much as the poem itself!!

We remember Margot Adler

“The first time I called myself a ‘Witch’ was the most magical moment of my life.”

-Margot Adler, in an interview with PBS

If you haven’t heard yet, Margot Adler (journalist, witch, wife, mother, and all-around fantastic person if only half the stories are halfway true) passed away yesterday, at the age of 68, from a long struggle with cancer.

Pagans and others have been remembering them impact she made in their lives.

She will be missed.


@ the Wild Hunt

@ Books and Cleverness

@ Raise the Horns

@ Musings of a Kitchen Witch*


@ Daily Kos

@ Huffington Post

@ Footsteps on my Path



(I’ll add more as I run across them)




*in the interests of full disclosure, this is my own personal blog

Invocation of the Mother

I am the face of the Moon when it is full of light.
I am the Creator and Preserver,
Mother and Nurse,
Dea Creatrix and Dea Nutrix,
the Theotokos, the holy vessel,
the bearer of the white draft of fostering.

I have been known in other times as
Isis to the Memphites,
Gaea and Deo to the Helenes,
Danu and Brigid to the Hiberni,
and by many names which are now forgotten.

I am the fire that warms the hearth,
the goddess of the hearth and home,
the goddess of childbirth and motherhood.

I am she who lay with Iason in a thrice-plowed field.
I am she who bore Apollo under a palm tree.
I am she who nursed Horus from my own breast.
I am she who mourned for Adonis in the summer
and wept for Tammuz in the autumn.
I am she who sought for my daughter Kore in vain.
I am she who gathered the members of my husband
Osiris from the banks of the Nile.
And I am she who steered the barge of Artu to Avalon.

In the form of a woman, I am tall, and robed in green,
swelling and pregnant,
with the moon under my feet,
and a garland of stars in my hair.
In my left hand, I hold blades of corn,
and in my right, twining serpents.
But at times I take other shapes.

Some there are who have seen me
standing like a tree under heaven,
crowned with the Sun,
with my roots in the waters of the deep,
and the winds speaking in my leaves.
And from my branches
there spilled a golden dew
upon the barren earth,
and it grew green with corn.

I am the power of the gods in their seasons.
My tears are the rain, shed in pain and in laughter.
My breath is the wind, exhaled in ecstasy and in labor.
My heart is the fire that warms the hearth.
My body is the earth, thy womb and thy tomb.

Listen to the sighing of the Heavens to the Earth,
and of the Deeps to the Stars.
Hasten to me and I shall answer the Heavens
with the grain, and the wine, and the oil.

I will be thy goddess,
and thou shalt be my child.

Son/Daughter of earth,
plunge yourself into the sea of matter
that is my body,
for it cradled you long ago.
You had thought to flee from me,
to live in a world of pure thought and spirit.
But you were like to have perished of hunger,
for I am the oil for you limbs,
the blood for your veins,
the water for your soul,
the world for your mind.
The Pharisees condemn me and waste away.
Wise men say, “Matter is dead, matter is evil,”
but their words are at variance with life,
and they perish in the deserts of their minds.

My path is not knowing,
but looking,
and touching,
and loving.
And these are my words,
the words which spell your liberation:
“This is my body.”

You have called me and I am here.
You have need of me in order to grow,
and I have need of you to be made holy.
Always you have desired me without knowing it.
Always I have been drawing you to me.

“… the white draft of fostering”: from Caitlin Matthews’ King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land: The Divine Feminine in The Mabinogion
“In the form of a woman, I am tall, and robed in green … Some there are who have seen me standing like a tree under heaven …”: from a description of the Goddess Yvanna in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion
With the moon under my feet …”: from the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse of John)
“In my left hand, I hold blades of corn … I am the power of the gods in their seasons”: the theophany of Isis from Apuleius’ The Golden Ass or Metamorphoses
“My tears are the rain, shed in pain and in laughter …”: from Anne Bishop’s The Pillars of the World
“Listen to the sighing of the Heavens to the Earth”: Translation of Ugaritic myth of Ba’al in The Early History of God by Mark S. Smith
“… Hasten to me and I shall answer the Heavens …”: Translation the Book of Hosea in The Early History of God by Mark S. Smith
“Son of the Earth, plunge yourself into the sea of matter …” from Teilhard de Chardin’s “The Spiritual Power of Matter” in Hymn of the Universe
“My path is not knowing …”: from Mary Oliver’s poem “Bone”
“And these are my words, the words which spell your liberation … You have called me and I am here …”: from Teilhard de Chardin’s “The Spiritual Power of Matter” in Hymn of the Universe

A Sumerian Birth Prayer

now comes the final voyage,
the journey without.
from the center of the world,
from the land of the not-yet-born,
from the midst of the mother,
the journey begins.

the boat is full,
packed with treasure:
lapis lazuli,
cedar wood.
greatest of all cargos,
full to stretching,
the child is ready.

I feel the ocean wind unfurl my sails
I stretch to heaven, stretch to earth,
my cries reach heaven, reach to earth,
I rise and fall like a roiling ocean,
I pitch and rock like a ship on the sea.

And in me the boat,
the processional boat,
the precious baby boat
continues its journey.

Open wide the great gate,
as the boat sails free to birth.
May the waters flow like rain,
may they flow like water from a pail,
may the boat find its mooring place
as it reaches the land of life.

(Note: The authenticity of this prayer has not been confirmed.)