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”


Remembering my grandparents

Though the first post didn’t appear until a few days after, this blog truly began a year ago on Samhain. I made a vow to write of my journey in the worship of the old gods. I pledged it in fire, and in the witness of my ancestors. I’ve written of my journey, and I’ve written of my gods, but my ancestors have stayed in silent witness. But it is again Samhain, when the veil thins and the departed are near us, asking to be remembered with reverence. Two weeks ago I gave a brief toast to my departed grandparents around a blazing bonfire, then walked a candlelit labyrinth under the cold night sky to greet them in the center of the worlds. Tonight my fire is small, a single candle, but I honor them all the more on this holy night as we pass into the dark of the year. Continue reading “Remembering my grandparents”

Following the heron: art, time, and prayer

I’ve been thinking a good deal lately about the way art interacts with my religion, especially when it can seem like my art is somehow getting in the way of my religious practice. Usually this is a nebulous time-management question, but sometimes there are clearcut moments: this weekend, for example, Three Cranes Grove’s vernal equinox rite will honor Indra, the Vedic god of storms, and will ask him to to send his rains to the waking earth. I’d love to attend and join in that communal ritual, but I have a conflict: I’ll be on stage with the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, celebrating our shared history in a 25-year retrospective show. Additionally, the final rehearsal process for that same show is taking up a good deal of my mental space and energy this week. After a full day of work and 4+ hours of evening rehearsal, I can only manage the time and energy for a brief whispered prayer before I fall asleep. Continue reading “Following the heron: art, time, and prayer”