The god you already know

CW: suicidal friends

This morning, during my walk to work, I pulled out my phone and idly thumbed at Facebook, and then came to a dead stop in the middle of the sidewalk. A friend had posted in a private group: “Everyone, you need to reach out to this other one of our friends; he’s in crisis, and we don’t know where he is.” Panic. Worry. Fear. I called our friend; I texted when he didn’t pick up the call.

But then, the obvious immediate moves done… what do you do? The authorities are already notified, people who know his habits better than me are looking… what do you do? Where do you turn?

Continue reading “The god you already know”
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Praying through the internet

My grandmother died last night.

I write a lot about death, to my sometimes surprise, but this isn’t a post about death, or dying, or about the Ancestors. This is a post about prayer, about the technology of prayer, and about the communities that sustain us. Continue reading “Praying through the internet”

Holding to the center

As I was walking home yesterday, a major front was blowing in. Low rainclouds had covered the sky all day, but the strong winds that had picked up toward the end of the workday were breaking them up, shooing them eastward to reveal a shifting tapestry of mid-level clouds, puffs and gauzes limned orange with the last rays of the setting sun. And as I curved around the high school football field, I glanced up just as the clouds parted to reveal the crescent moon, low above the school’s roof.

* * *

Continue reading “Holding to the center”

The enormity of the world’s grief: racial hatred and tikkun olam

I wrote our ritual script for Samhain, which was a joy to do, even if it was also a lot of work — I think there’s something extraordinarily beautiful about creating liturgy. But after the events of the past week, we knew we had to call an audible. This is my recreation of what I said, mostly off the cuff; it’s the closest thing to a sermon I’ve ever delivered in ritual.

Yesterday, in Pittsburgh, a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue. It was morning services, and there was a bris, a celebration of new life. That gunman killed eleven people. I want to say their names: Continue reading “The enormity of the world’s grief: racial hatred and tikkun olam”

Hard joy

I feel like the longer I practice druidry, the more I sit and talk with the gods and spirits, the more I have to sit with uncertainty and contradiction, the more I have to let go of my own knowing. Not that I don’t have my own will or direction — I do, and I don’t truck with spirits that would deny that — but rather I have to keep accepting that, smart as I may be, I often don’t know better. The spirits aren’t omniscient or infallible by any means, but they are very old. They’ve seen a lot, far more than I have or ever hope to.

But still, it’s hard to let go. At Three Cranes Grove’s most recent high day ritual, when we asked “what do the Kindreds ask of us,” we were told, fairly unambiguously, that they wanted… joy. Seriously? Continue reading “Hard joy”

Talking with gods

Thanks to some mostly-online conversations, I’ve been thinking recently about how we talk with the gods, how they talk to us, what it means to have those conversations. Much of the work we do in ritual is mediated: there are prayers, there are offerings. We pull an omen; the seer interprets it. This is certainly communication, but it’s markedly different from the sort of direct verbal communication that we have every day with the people we encounter in our lives. And I think that for most of us, raised in the often-distanced cultural context of the modern monotheist religions, that sort of of direct verbal communication feels, by default, a part of the mythic past: maybe once people spoke with the gods, but certainly not now.

But that’s simply not true; many people do talk with the gods. I know I do. Continue reading “Talking with gods”