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Words for Wednesday


The Enkindled Spring

~ D.H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration 
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.

Picture found here.

It’s Just the Old Gods Getting Older

It’s fashionable these days to poo-poo any suggestion that Pagan traditions have passed down, unbroken, from Neolithic times until today.  And, fair enough, things change.  But I will tell you this for sure:  Every Beltane night, every Beltane night, from then until now, there have been people out in the fields and woods, doing their best to make the Earth fruitful, and fertile, and fecund.

And I will tell you this, for sure, as well.  This year, in the midst of madness, on the eve of war, in this time of tyranny, we all need to bring in Beltane as if it mattered.  Because it does.  This year, go forth and Beltane as you have never Beltaned before.

A Witch’s job is to turn the Wheel.  And round and round the Wheel must turn.

Monday at the Movies

Sunday Ballet Blogging

The Magical Battle for America 4/22/17

Thank you so much to everyone who has been doing these workings.  If you’re just joining us, you may want to go back through some of the early posts about this project in order to orient yourself.  Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.

Today, we’re going to work with some American Tricksters.

America is a country rich in Tricksters.  From Coyote and Crow, to Pecos Pete, to Brer Rabbit, to Tom Sawyer, to Bugs Bunny, Tweety, and Felix the Cat, to Grouch Marx, to the Three Stooges, to Red Skelton, to Eloise, to Harriet the Spy, to Pippi Longstocking, to Bart Simpson, to Matilda, we seem to grow Tricksters as thick and as fast as we grow dandelions.  You can probably think of other Tricksters, perhaps some who are special to you or upon whom you have called before.

One of the skills of our current foes is an ability to create chaos, to do one unbelievable thing after another, to keep us all off guard.  Today, we’re going to work with our own Tricksters to counter that.



Ground and center.  Cast a circle.

Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.


As you move astrally to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky:  Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work?  Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

Stand and look around you.  Call across the plain, in whatever way seems best to you, to that innately American spirit of fun, silliness, contrariness, and clever misdirection personified in our many Tricksters.  Ask one of two of them who are interested in this work to come to you.

Who answers?

Make an offering to the Tricksters.  Maybe you can tell them a joke or give them a pun.  Maybe you can show them the whoopee cushion that you saved up to buy when you were eight.  Maybe you can demonstrate some sleight-of-hand or pull up a youtube that always makes you laugh.  Maybe you can give them the tale of the time you pulled off a great practical joke or when someone did that to you.

Travel now on the astral with the Tricksters to the place where our enemies are doing the most harm.  Maybe to a bot farm, where they keep inserting fake news and fake discussions into social medial.  Maybe to the White House, where a buffoon sits in our sanctum sanctorum, the Oval Office, and makes a mockery of our democratic traditions.  Maybe to Wall Street, where fools’ gold entices people to destroy their own environment.  What other places appear before you?

As you stand in that place, call in the Tricksers.  Invite them to do their best.  See them creating chaos and uncertainty for those who would harm America.  They work on a landbase already illuminated with sunlight, washed clean with rain, purified with fire.  They may go a bit wild!  Can you breathe into their madness and see the order behind it?  Can you help them to make America’s foes look foolish, even to themselves?  Right now, during Mercury Retrograde, is a perfect time to ask the Tricksters to confuse the communications of those who want to destroy the environment, foster war, and sow hatred of immigrants, people of color, and strong women.  The Tricksters can confuse their travel plans, broadcast their secrets to the public, undo their schemes.  The Tricksters can reveal what our foes would keep hidden.

You are an American Witch and you can use the forces of deception, silliness, and trickery to protect America.  You both direct and give strength to this most American of forces.

Now, slowly, see the Tricksters getting tired.  Their work is done.  Invite them back to your secure hillock.  Again, make an offering to them.  Cookies and punch.  A funny book from the library.  Time to sit and watch a puppet show.  An old Soupy Sales routine or Dick van Dyke doing slapstick.  Praise them.  Thank them for their assistance.  And then, firmly, dismiss them back into America’s storehouse of archetypes, the astral American lodge of avatars, myths, and heras.  Watch carefully; make sure they go safely home.

And, now, sit again on your comfortable hillock.  Breathe in and feel the prairie air calming you, untangling any nerves, filling you with peace, order, control.  You will face the coming storm of Trump’s and Putin’s tricks much more calmly.  So will your fellow citizens.  We will see through the ruses and rogery, through the subterfuge and shams.  We will watch while America’s foes fall victim to confusion, chaos, trickery, missed flights, misdirected emails, and poorly-timed jokes.


Return to your own body, your own landbase.  Open your eyes.  Rub your face, move your arms and legs.  Notice the detail you  selected to call you back from the astral.  Drink some strong tea.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe an oatmeal cookie or blueberry yogurt.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral.  You may want to repeat this working several times.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art?  Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle?   What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance?  If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working



Are You Marching?

static1.squarespace.comThese days it can be easy to get all protested out. Particularly if you live in or near a major city, there are rallies and protests and marches it seems like every day, and certainly every weekend. Hey, protest is the new brunch, right?

And we just *had* a big march last weekend – the Tax March – and there’s another big march coming up *next* weekend – the People’s Climate March.

“Mrs. Whatsit!” you cry. “Can’t I please have at least one weekend off? If I don’t weed soon, I won’t be able to find my front door, and I have one more day before I’m going to be wearing my pajamas – or my last Halloween costume – to work!”

I hear you, but if you can, it’s really important to show up for the March For Science tomorrow, Saturday, March 22.

Science is not a partisan issue, but it *is* political, particularly lately.

Yes, we all know that so-called President Trump’s budget is not going to pass. Even the dipshit Freedom Caucus isn’t going to approve all his draconian cuts, and they love them some draconian cuts, let me tell you.

But his plan to cut 30% from the EPA’s budget is not going away. Because one of the few things it seems like all the Republicans can actually agree on these days is “Screw the planet! We want to kill every environmental regulation we can, and we don’t care if it causes asthma or cancer or decimates wetlands or kills endangered species, or, you know, DESTROYS OUR ABILITY TO SURVIVE AS HUMANS ON THIS PLANET due to climate change. YAY POLLUTION!”

This bunch of young-earth, creationist, heartbeat-bill, reality-challenged nincompoops is doing everything in their power to kick scientists out of national decision-making and to shape scientific results according to their desired political ends (aka, “I don’t care about your damn facts – I just want rationalizations for what I already believe, no matter how asinine it is”).

Which is why it’s important that we march. Science matters. Facts are a thing, and not, as some would have you believe, a liberal conspiracy. Research that helps us understand how the world and the cosmos work is worthy of support. Human-caused climate change is happening, and it’s the biggest collective threat humanity faces, more that ISIL or economic inequality or right-wing nationalist political movements or Ebola or the rapidly approaching post-antibiotic era or any of the -isms we can name. Science is the only way we can figure out how to halt it and maybe even reverse some of the damage that’s already been done.

As the march website says:

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

The main march is in Washington, DC, but there are satellite marches in over 600 locations worldwide. Maybe there’s one near you?

Come out and celebrate science with scientists and the science-supporting public – and me (and my secret “chief curiosity correspondent” crush Emily Graslie – well, at least if you’ll be in Chicago).

Image found here.

Almost Beltane PotPourri


  •  “Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”  Those are the words of an old nursery rhyme and, in The Secret Garden, when British children in India wanted to tease the heroine, Mary Lennox, they called her “Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary.”  And Mary was an unloved and, therefore, unpleasant little girl.  But, as she actually became a gardener, she also became far less contrary.  Some mornings, when I wake up and Trump is still sitting in the White House and it’s still Mercury Retrograde, I feel pretty contrary myself.  But time in my garden never fails to make me feel better.  Because we had such a warm February, my garlic is way ahead of where it normally would be this time of year.  Some of the allium are budding and whenever I walk past the front bed, I’m overwhelmed by the scent of lily of the valley.  My white camellias & white azaleas are in bloom.  How does your garden grow?
  • Asia has violets in bloom and a wonderful discussion of the spiritual and physical medicine inherent in these tiny plants.

I started those first lonely weeks without a single piece of furniture or any connections in town. It was exhilarating and terrifying, and some days I wondered how I would handle the bigness of it all.

I was still sleeping on a pallet on the floor of my room when the violets arrived. It started with a few small handfuls of violets, scattered here and there, like tiny daubs of lavender amongst the winter-flattened grass. And then one morning I awoke and the entire hillside was alive with grape and hyacinth. Stretching for almost an acre, I was living amongst a sea of Viola. It was spectacular, and often stirred me to tears. When I looked at them I had the distinct feeling that I too was being seen. 

Violets grow here in Virginia like weeds and I try to keep them to a small patch by the shed.  When I was a girl, we had a huge patch out in front and I used to make nosegays of them by the basketful.

I have to find a new magic because it is telling me to find it, because I hear the thunder of running feet through streets and the crash of falling stone and broken glass and it waits behind all that, or just before.

It is easy to ignore, isn’t it, here where rivers carry away the dreams of sleepers down to the sea which drowned Ys, when the great floodgates broke because she no longer cared to keep their world together, no longer cared for their dreams that kept the world together.

  • Terri Windling is talking about kindness, and a way of doing science that revolves around meditative walks and knowing the plants.  She’s talking about how we can be both scientific and, at the same time, have the mystical experience that Mary Oliver describes when she writes:  “for a pure white moment/while gravity/sprinkled upward/like rain, rising,/and in fact/it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing.”
  • Check out the pictures of bluebells.
  • We all love Bill Moyers, right?  I do.  I’ve followed him for years because he does the kind of in-depth reporting so few people bother to do, because he interviews important thinkers such as Joseph Campbell and Wendell Berry, because he asks deep questions and is willing to step back and let his guests think through an answer instead of immediately re-centering himself.  And, of course, I follow him on Twitter.  Mr. Moyers’ practice on Twitter is to link to half a dozen or so articles a day.  They’re almost always good articles by smart people, writing about something that not every other Tweet is already covering.  And, as I came to realize over time, the people who write those articles are exclusively male.  Once I started paying attention, I saw that several days could go by without even a single citation to a woman writer.  It’s not that women don’t write about the topics that Mr. Moyers tends to cover:  the environment, politics, economics, etc.  Women write, prolifically and publicly, about all of those topics and more, but Mr. Moyers seldom cites them, features their articles, suggests to his audience that there are women with something important to say.  To be clear, I don’t believe that this is intentional.  In fact, I believe that it’s completely unintentional.  So I started simply responding to the Tweets with “Another man!” or “Why does @BillMoyers only cite men?”  or “Did any women have anything to say about this?” or “Ignoring women effectively silences women.”  Mr. Moyers never responded and weeks and weeks went by with me, whenever I could, noting how seldom he cited women and him ignoring me.  In the last week or so, I think I’ve noted an uptick in citations to women.  I’m going to keep just pointing out how often men are cited vs. women.  Could you pick a blogger or Tweeter and do the same?  Awareness is the first prerequisite for change.
  • A day is coming when water is going to be the focus or more and more of our attention.
  • Next year, in Edinburgh, next year in the Holy Land.
  • My escape reading for the last few days has been Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory.  She, maybe as much as Mary Lennox, understands how gardening can make us less contrary:  “Joseph and Johnnie filled the sacks with the Flame tulip bulbs.  . . .   Whether the price for tulips ever recovered or stayed as low as it had been thrust by the collapse of the market, still there was something rich and exciting  about the wealth which made itself in silence and secrecy under the soil.”  I’ve never been able to grow tulips here because the squirrels dig up and eat the bulbs as quickly as I can plant them.  This year, I grew them in pots on the screen porch and FINALLY have tulips.  May it be so for you.


Picture found here.