Tag Archives: Appalachia

I Want a Great Rucksack Revolution Like a Lover

“I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution, thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ’em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.”

~ Gary Snyder

Love the Land You’re With


So, there’s lots of interesting discussion coming out of this year’s Sacred Space conference, and a lot of the buzz is related to the various sessions on Appalachian folk magic. On Facebook, Jason Pitzl-Waters said:

I wish I could convey how special this weekend had been. I went in feeling very burnt out after doing two events right before. But I left with new friends, new perspectives, and wonderful new connections. I bow before you all. Much love.

One of the messages that I took away from the Hillfolks’ Hoodoo sessions that I was able to attend was the importance of interacting with our ancestors (“blood” in the parlance of the hills) and with our land. Several times when Byron Ballard urged participants to interact with whichever landbase upon which they found themselves living, I was tempted to break out into song:

“And if you can’t be with the land you love, honey, love the land you’re with, love the land you’re with.”

What I can tell you, unequivocably, is that the land longs for relationship with you. Even someone housebound in a city apartment can move astrally out to the hellstrip at the end of the parking lot and develop a relationship that will benefit both of them. One participant in the panel discussion spoke of his relationship with the land in downtown Detroit.

What land calls to your spirit? Which landbase is the place where you do magic, raise a family, make a home, cook meals, drink water, walk to work, watch the Moon rise, see the stars, listen to animals howl? Start there.

What do you bring to that land? What are the practices of your family, of you ancestors, of the culture where you feel at home? As Orion Foxwood, Byron Ballard, and Linda Ours Rago explained, the European settlers in Appalachia brought their Celtic practices with them and then they mixed them with the magic of the land, the magic of the Native Americans, the magic of African Americans. The result was a uniquely American magic.

What land calls to you?

Picture found here.