Stories Return Us to the Land

This is probably part of an ongoing meditation on story, myth, and land based spirituality, as it is something I’m really reflecting upon lately.

We are 5 days before the summer solstice and on the verge of a thunder storm as I write. My house is humid and grey as the clouds pass in front of the sun; light breaking in through the dense overcast sky as the winds push the shadows across the lush greenery outdoors. My house is well insulated, with no air conditioning, so the dampness creeps in, despite everything being closed, as I wait for the rains to arrive. My first year in this region, 22 years ago now, I was surprised by the humidity, the thunderstorms, and the ways the summer heat creeps in here. I had anticipated the cold, but not the heat. It took many years for my body to acclimatize to different weather patterns than those I had always known.

I have no connections to this land other than the ones I intentionally foster. It has taken me a long time to find meaningful ways to make this land home, to hear the spirits of it, to become attuned to its voice.

The land here is marked by fire and ice, snow and heat, deep winter winds and humid summer storms. And the stories that bring this to life are the stories that honour that type of knowledge.

Let me give an example that might make more sense:

The Witte Wieven*, a Dutch folk legend about the Wise Healing Women who dance in the Fog and Mist, feel right in this space – this field you see in the photos of this post. The morning fogs of autumn, the steam coming off the winter snow, and the warming mists of spring, have helped bring the story of the Witte Wieven to life; reconnect me to my ancestral narratives; and foster a connection to the land in ways I never expected. As someone who loves stories, this reconnection to land through story has been a gift and has driven home some of the Indigenous Ways of Knowing that I have been learning through my work with Indigenous communities, but in non-appropriative ways that feel respectful.

I think that remembering that our language and stories carry the land in them is vital for this age. We have lost so much connection to the land, that even the simple reminder that the word Earth comes from the Goddess Eartha, the Sun – Sunna, and the Moon – the God Mani, can be a way to reconnect to place. We are literally walking on the Goddess, and looking up at the God and Goddess. The old Gods are animistic and of the land. We have somehow, it often seems, made them too abstract and remote, losing sight that gods like Thunor (Thor) is the thunder and rain and lightning strike of energy – the hammer that strikes to create the spark of heat we need to survive and the rains our crops need to grow. When we remember to see Donar (also Thor), as such, we see why he was a god of the people. The people need him because he is the heat and waters that we need to survive, to craft, and to grow.

I believe that remembering the animistic roots of our deities helps us rebuild our connection to place. The gods aren’t abstract. They are alive and well, just as the world around us is.**

Stories are the way we remember them. Finding the right stories that sing to you and help attune you to the land – that’s magic.

The longer I spend contemplating the anxiety of settler identity and connection, the more I come to realize that the way forward, for me at least, is intimately connected to finding a way to use the wealth of my own stories, respectfully, in this land, in a complimentary relationship with the stories I am gifted, as I go along. The land does not belong to us, only the stories we tell do. And the stories are the keys we can use to help us unlock the land’s (if the land is willing) mysteries just enough that we can build new stories, together with the land. My greatest hope is that I will gift my son and community with enough meaningful stories about the land, that they too will feel the deep, reverent connection that I so cherish and that the land that they walk upon always knows their gratitude.

*Depending on the lore the Witte Wieven are also seen negatively in the lore. But I choose to embrace the identity of the healing ancestral women because it fits with my experience of them. This isn’t to say they can’t also be dangerous if disrespected.

**Ultimately speaking of course, given the current environmental crisis being one that the earth itself will survive and the various permutations of that information.

Eos: Unpacking the Mythic

Eos’ fingers are slowly spreading across the eastern sky as I write this, warming the landscape as the air fills with the cacophony of birdsong. When we first moved to this house, I was startled by the intensity of the spring morning birds here. They start at 4am and being the light sleeper that I am, it took some getting used to. Today though, as I watch the sun rise, I am thankful for the soundtrack that greets the dawn.

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Book Review: Spells for Change

Before I begin, I want to say that I appreciate how much energy (emotional and physical) goes into writing a book. I’m not trying to tear apart the author in making this review. I do think that they do some lovely things in their book and I’m so glad to see how modern books are really trying to unpack what previous generations did in terms of appropriation and overall white supremacy

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Book Review: Cantigee Oracle

Disclaimer: I was given a free advance digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review. The book and oracle cards are scheduled for release on Nov 2022.

Overall impressions: I liked it and would consider buying it/recommending it to others.

Details: this book and oracle deck are a collaboration between 2 women (Laura Zuspan and Rae Diamond). The book, written by Diamond, is meant to accompany the 52 earth based oracle cards drawn by Zuspan, The digital version of the book is lovely – muted greens and browns that are soothing and grounding. I can only imagine how beautiful the book itself will be. The book starts out with an overview of Zuspan’s and Diamond’s partnership and the aspirational focus that motivates the project and insights in the deck.

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The Moon

Part 2 of the series Wicca for Devotional Astrology

A question for astrologers with devotional practices. Have you considered Wicca? Hear me out.

To say the moon is important in astrology is an enormous understatement. The Moon is called The Mediatrix, the essential interpreter and translator for other celestial forces to humankind. 

For someone observing a planetary devotional practice drawing from Traditional Astrology, the Moon and Lunar Work is the place to start. Wicca is a system that is inherently lunar that can be used to deepen one’s personal practice and bring it from prayer to ceremony. It is a helpful model for group ceremonial ritual experience. 

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The Circle – Wicca for Devotional Astrology Part 1

A question for astrologers with devotional practices. Have you considered Wicca? Hear me out 😉

You probably look at an astrological chart several times a week. Have you ever imagined casting a chart with your body, creating a ritual circle, a sacred space within which to commune with the Celestial?

Wicca for Devotional Astrology Part 1 – The Circle

Casting a circle in Wicca, at its most basic level, is creating a vessel of sacred space by invoking 4 cardinal forces, usually an element associated with a particular direction. Which element goes where can be very different amongst traditions and individuals.

As an astrologer, you are already familiar with the four foundational forces that make up humankind’s experience of this world, forces that go by many names, such as The Elements – fire, air, water and earth. You are already familiar with navigating them as the four essential stations about a circle that form the axis of the cosmos- the angular houses, and also the medium & imum coeli along with the ascendant and descendant.

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People of Wheat and Corn

Once, years ago, a local Indigenous Elder told me his people were People of the Corn (or maize if you prefer). He went on to explain the statement with information about agricultural and ceremonial traditions to contextualize it culturally. It stuck with me as a teaching.

But while I understood his nation’s relationship with corn and a little about how corn was part of ceremony, I confess, I didn’t truly understood this viscerally as a teaching until this winter. I don’t think it really became a “knowing” for me until I realized that “my” people are also people of corn (in the more broad definition of corn: the Germanic/Dutch root meaning grain. My people (modern and ancestral) are People of the Wheat. And yes, I appreciate the irony in that (white people of European descent often being represented by the wheat emoji). But let me clear: I don’t think that being a person of wheat or corn is about race. I think it’s about ceremony and relationship to land. I think it’s about how you or your ancestors build sacred relationship with harvest, abundance, and security in relation to the land.

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Book Review: Sigil Witchery

Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff explores the practice of creating art based sigils. It considers the ways we use art to symbolically represent the world around us and how that same symbolism can be applied to making sigils. While the overall result is the same, in that practitioners are creating an abstract image sigil, it is unlike the more common language based sigil structures used in magic because it starts with artistic symbols and weaves them into a new abstract talisman.

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Grow With Us – You’re invited!

After months of dreaming , Faye & I are both majorly reworking our gardens this year.

We invite you to join us in this experience of gardening as spiritual work, a practice of magic, a pleasure and an escape!

Please use hashtag #greenwitchgrowalong2022 on Instagram so we can indulge in your work.

You’ll also be able to follow-along as we share our big projects and some exciting news.