Tag Archives: Global Climate Change

Monday at the Movies — What World Leaders Saw at the UN

“What’s Possible,” a New Film for World Leaders on the Urgency of Global Warming from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

I think I should have given this post the title: Bill Moyers is getting tired of trying to reason with you people. Except that, Goddess Guard Him, he never seems to be.

This short film — and I am pleading with you on bended knee to watch the entire twelve and one-half minutes — was shown to our world “leaders” last week when they gathered at the UN to mouth platitudes talk about the crisis of Global Climate Change.

The brief discussion afterwards, between Mr. Moyers and the people who made the film, makes important points about how art can shift a conversation, how humans are hard-wired to care about and protect beauty, and how, when it comes to saving our only home, quitting is not an option.

Even so, the film barely skirts the real issue: too many people; not enough planet. That would require addressing women’s rights.

Holding a Dying Planet in My Arms

Wildfires Scorch Three States: It’s Like Nothing I’ve Seen Before

Colorado Wildfires: 3,2000 Flee Their Homes.

Colorado Wildfires Signal One of State’s Worst Seasons Ever.

Torrential Rains Cause Flooding, Damage in Florida Panhandle.

Biblical Flooding in Progress Near Tallahassee, Florida.

Florida Flooding Causes Millions in Damage.

Fire Rules: Energy, spirit, heat, flame, blood, sap, life, will, healing and destroying, purification, bonfires, hearthfires, candle flames, sun, deserts, volcanoes, eruptions, explosions.

~ Starhawk in The Spiral Dance: Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (20th Anniversary Ed.)

Water Rules: Emotions, feelings, love, courage, daring, sorrow, the ocean, the tides, lakes, pools, streams, and rivers, springs and wells, intuition, the unconscious mind, the womb, generation, fertility.


I came home last night to see a glorious waxing Half-Moon hanging in the Western sky. The Half-Moon represents a time of balance between the promise of the New Moon and the Fulfillment of the Full Moon. I sat in my garden, full just now of flowers — daisies and white day lilies, Queen Anne’s lace and silvery sage — that are especially lovely in the moonlight, and meditated upon balance.

When Witches cast a circle, we strive for balance among the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.

And, yet, it certainly seems that Mama Gaia is out of balance.

Too much fire in some places, too much water in others. Record-breaking heat waves covering much of the country, even though it’s only June. My own watershed is technically in drought, but, when we do get rain, it comes in a deluge and brings with it winds that rip the roofs off of buildings. Editors are running out of adjectives; floods are now “biblical,” and fires are “unlike anything ever seen.” And, beyond the irreparable loss of huge forests, liminal wetlands, precious plants, and endangered wildlife, there’s a huge amount of property damage and even loss of human life. A dear Sister who does mental health work in disaster-struck communities has been educating me about how the emotional damage caused by these “natural” disasters lingers for years after the actual event.

As a Witch I grieve and I try to hold Mama Gaia in my heart and rock her as she burns with fever and sweats and cries and rages with too much rain. As a magic-worker, I send healing energy to the affected landbases and watersheds and hope for renewal. I call to Brigid, Hestia, Pele, and Stata Mater to protect Colorado. I call to Chalchiuhtlicue, Vellamo, and the Nix to protect Florida. I burn incense and I make other offerings.

As a citizen of Planet Earth, I am outraged. For years, every single suggestion for controlling our out-of-control population, for decreasing, via conservation, the amount of carbon-based fuel that we use, and for substituting less-polluting forms of energy for coal and oil has been fought tooth-and-nail as “too expensive.” Every day I read a round-up of energy-related news and every day I see corporations and Republicans (but, then, I repeat myself) and, sadly, even Democrats, insisting that moving to renewable energy will “kill jobs,” (it wouldn’t; it would create them) or would make it “too expensive to do business in our state,” as if the expense of re-building after a flood or wildfire were negligible.

And, so, my magic does not stop at meditating on balance, grieving with Mama Gaia in her death throes, or sending healing energy to the mountains and the swamps.

My magic includes my vote. My magic includes protests, and letters to my representatives, and speaking up for the environment whenever I can. My magic includes my decision to have only one child. My magic includes my rain barrel, and my hybrid car, and my decision to not run the air conditioner. My magic includes my efforts to buy food and other products from local merchants.

Yes, I do understand, as Derrick Jensen so eloquently says, that we can not consume our way out of this problem. But I can recognize the first rule of healing which is: Do No Harm. It’s significantly close to the Wiccan Rede: “An’ it harm none, Do what ye will.”

Tonight, I will sit at my stone altar and breathe, and center, and ground. Tonight, I will send all the energy that I can send to Mama Gaia. Tonight, I will conserve all of the energy that I can conserve. Tonight, I will write a letter to my representatives, on paper that I have blessed, with ink that I have spelled, under the waxing Moon which adds increased energy. Tonight, I will move what magic my old, broken body can move in order to help re-balance the circle.

I shan’t be gone long. You come, too.

Picture found here.



Lately, I’m noticing dragons everywhere: on my G/Son’s t-shirt, in paintings, in cloud formations. I recently gave G/Son d’Aulaire’s book of Norse myths which has some great pictures of dragons. He asked me why people are always fighting the dragons. That’s a good question. Dragons breathe fire and fire can be dangerous.

Dragons keep coming to mind as I sit with my Bit of Earth and ground myself into this preternatural and extreme Spring we’re having here in the mystical MidAtlantic. Spring, which normally unfolds over a period of months seems to have happened in the course of a few days. I have jack-in-the-pulpits blooming now that normally don’t bloom until late April. The Japanese maples are leafed out already. My pots of mint, nettles, and parslies are already full of juicy green leaves. Even the birds seems to be courting earlier than usual; I’ve already seen the male cardinals feeding seeds to the female cardinals out by my birdfeeder. Yesterday, I worked for an hour pulling hairy bittercress (which seems determined to replace wood sorrel as the weed with which I will wage a war of attrition; it is edible and, as lamb’s cress, had magical uses, so perhaps I’ll learn to work with it) out of the herb bed, where the lavender, rosemary, and sage are already leafing out and where there’s volunteer dill wanting to be harvested already. The sandy soil was warm to the touch and the sun was so hot that I was sweating. In March.

And as I prepared the ground for French tarragon (“Artemisia dracunculus,” also known as “dragon’s wort,” back when “wort” or “wyrt” meant a plant), I kept thinking of dragons. The sun beating down so strongly, even though the Earth is still tilted towards Spring, was a dragon. The strange stirrings underneath the Earth that so many Witches are feeling nowadays when we ground was a dragon. And the heatwave spreading out from the Midwest and pushing my own Bit of Earth into the chaos of early birth was a dragon. I dug and pulled and composted and remembered Dune, that desert planet inhabited by giant worms (wyrms was an old expression for dragons) and how Chani, in one last desperate attempt to give birth, consumed so much Spice that her pregnancy accelerated, draining her, in the end. And I could feel Mother Earth engaging in the same desperate attempt to produce before the heat wave becomes too intense this summer and kills things off.

Late last night, as I performed Hecate’s Deipnon, I thought more about G/Son’s question. I wonder if there’s a way to cooperate with these dragons, to work with them, to begin to know and understand them. Because I don’t think they’re going back to sleep anytime soon.

We’ve gotten to that place on the map, it seems, where the old cartographers put the sign: Here Be Dragons. And it’s too late to turn this ship, Gaia, around in time to avoid them, I think. Should be interesting.

Picture found here.

Pre-Imbolc Poetry & Meditations on a Swiftly Tilting Planet

It’s the end of January.

This morning began with a downpour and a thunderstorm. We never have thunderstorms in January; they’re a feature of Summer here in the mystical MidAtlantic. But we had one this morning, just as I had to grab a cab (it takes magic to get a cab in the rain in DC; luckily, I know a good spell).

Then, within the hour, the rain cleared out and it was sunny and windy, a perfect March day, here at the end of January. I walked to lunch holding onto my scarf for fear it would blow off between my office and my lunch meeting at Morton’s.

This evening I drove home along the banks of the Potomac River and Spout Run watching salmon and purple clouds run ahead of the wind. There’s an exquisite fingernail of a crescent Moon hanging low in the West.

Global climate change is turning everything topsy turvy. Nothing knows when to bloom anymore. This week, the USDA released the new hardiness zone map (Zone 7b! Represent!) for the US, clearly showing zone creep. There’s sadness, indeed, in watching Gaia heave and moan, trying to give birth to a new equilibrium. She’s indeed, at the moment, a swiftly tilting planet. But it’s also a gift, to be present at this limbic time, this moment of shift, this time sacred to Hecate.

In just a few days, it will be Imbolc. Sacred to the Goddess Brigid, patroness of poets and blacksmiths, Imbolc always represents a big shift along the Wheel of the Year. Days are now noticeably longer. Anne Hill will be organizing her annual Imbolc poetry slam. May your Imbolc be blessed and may you find new ways to be in relationship with the spirits and powers of your own Bit of Earth, with the animals, and plants, and microbes, and rocks, and clouds that live there.

Here, in anticipation, is a poem about February by Margaret Atwood:


Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

What poem are you readying for Imbolc?

Picture found here. (In comments, Ruth notes that this picture is by the amazing artist Joanna Powell Colbert.)

Gardening at the End of the World

Well, those of us who accepted the scientific findings years ago aren’t too surprised. But this week’s weather across most of the United States, and coming tomorrow to my watershed, certainly indicates the severity of global climate change. Friday may be one of the hottest heat index days ever in Columbia’s beautiful city on a hill above a swamp.

I’m kind of glad that G/Son is off visiting his other grandparents at a home near the water.

It’s just crazy difficult trying to garden in these times. Out last few Winters, here within the Potomac watershed, have been extreme, first in terms of the amount of snow and second in terms of the very frigid days. I was out for almost a week every day this Spring covering up budding alliums and drancunculus vulgaris when temps dipped way below freezing after warmer temps enticed the gentle buds of these plants to come up above ground.

And I’ve been out every day since Sunday watering (from my rain barrels and from water that I buy from the county (and then pay a sewage fee for, even though water sprinkled on the garden doesn’t use up sewage facilities the way that water flushed down the toilet does. Arlington County, I’m looking at you. The ancient trees I water keep the temperature down all over the county.)

And even so, some of my beloved plants aren’t looking so good. An ancient eounymus, that I’ve never had to water before, and that provides a ton of cover for the birds both Summer and Winter. The new azaleas. Some new astilbe and hosta. Everything in pots, from the brugmansia to the parsley, in spite of daily watering. This includes coffee. Most plants love coffee and I never pour any of my morning nectar down the drain.

Meanwhile, the weeds, lavender, rosemary, and thyme appear entirely suited to the situation, although we’ll see how the next few days go. Oh, and bindweed. The bindweed is happy as ever, although I’m now, (thanks to Fern’s suggestion) harvesting it for, well, later use.

And, of course, if, as I do, you garden while holding down a full-time job, having a family, being in a Circle, writing, etc., etc., it’s even more insane. I realized today that I need to come up with a list of things for Landscape Guy to put in this Fall and also that I can’t do that until I spend some time in deep meditation about where this Bit of Earth is headed.

And I don’t know where it’s headed. And neither, really, does anyone else. (We seem to have moved from Zone 7 to Zone 8 or 9 in the Summer, but maybe to Zone 6 in the Winter. That’s insane. No one knows how to garden there.)

We’re in Hecate’s time, a liminal time, that space where you’ve lifted one foot to step over the threshold, but haven’t yet shifted your weight. And so, in the early morning hours, when I wake, old-woman-like and needing to pee (it will happen to you, if you live long enough), I go out to water in the soft, gentle light of the pre-dawn hours. And, Hecate’s devotee, I go back to bed, dream of grabbing President Obama’s jacket lapels and saying, “Keep Your Promises!”, send that energy from my Bit of Earth to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and then wake up enough to go move the sprinklers again. And again, And one more time before I put on make-up and a suit and go off to do law.

This isn’t the work that I thought that I’d be doing at this stage of my life. But it is the work that I am doing. And I want to do it — the work of a gardener, and the work of a Brehon-crafter, and the work of a Nonna, and the work of a member of a Circle — I want to do it as well as any Priestess of the End of Empire can do it.

And that means that I water and that means that I sit at my altar. What does it mean for you?

I shan’t be gone long. You come, too.

Photo by the blogger. If you copy, please link back.