The Gods and Spirits on Your Holiday List

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Time to revel in the onset of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and pay our respects to Those who rule this time of year.

The “holidays” can often be difficult for pagans within the framework of the dominant culture,  and one way to ground yourself in your own traditions, whether you are practicing them alongside the dominant paradigm or not, is to put your Gods and Spirits on your holiday gift list.

During one of my forest wanderings I realized that in the stress of the outer Christmas season I had actually been ignoring one whole wing of important “family”—my spiritual family. So, after having received requests in the mail to donate for years, I went ahead and finally paid the money to become a member of the natural area that I often walk and worship in. I had to scrape the money together but I immediately felt the rightness of doing this. I often leave other offerings to my spiritual family, such as traditional gifts of food or wine—but to contribute to the fund that keeps the place they reside in protected is a very important addition to what I can offer. And, it adds me as officially one more person who cares. This will be very important in the future, I believe, as we face an uncertain political landscape that seems to be shaping up to be made up more and more of those who do not care.

It is time to really evaluate what is important and to prepare to honor it and hold on to it. For many pagans, this means a particular natural area or cause that is meaningful to them. Even if you find yourself never worshipping outside in the natural world, you can still hopefully appreciate that natural areas serve as buffers both physically and spiritually to the metro areas that many of us live in. And natural areas are, on many levels, truly the genesis of Those we honor.

So, make a new tradition of spending money, if you can, especially on a local level, to protect the natural areas you find your Gods and Spirits in. Is it a city park? There is probably an organization that serves the park. Donate to it. Is it a wilderness area? Donate to a group dedicated to stewardship of wilderness areas. Make it a yearly tradition. If other things move you, say animal shelters, or helping the unhoused, donate to those causes. The time is now. Prioritize it. The money you spend on this sort of thing will be so much more meaningful than buying useless crap during the commercialized holidays. And, it sends a message as you join your support with others who contribute, a message that says people find this cause worthy and important. Hey, if you can get away with giving a present to someone by donating to a natural area/local cause in their name, do it.

And of course, if you truly cannot afford to donate money, donate time and labor. Do you walk a certain stretch of woods? Dedicate some special time to pick up garbage. You can do this without spending money or having to be part of any group, and it most definitely honors the Gods and Spirits.

Make the holidays meaningful again.

 

 

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Liminal Leaves

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It was cold yesterday, and so dark. I felt it deep in my marrow, the coming of winter. But the leaves, which were late in turning this year, have been spectacular, their brightness an echo of the sun that once powered them. I walked in the hills of the city and witnessed the indescribable beauty of the leaves as they fell, detaching from their tree homes and drifting to the ground, aloft for one brief, shining moment before their descent into decomposition.

They fell behind me as I walked; the noise they made was like the footsteps of ghosts.

Crossroads and Naming

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“Psychogeography” is a relatively new term to me. I had remotely connected it to Dadaists, urban thrill seekers or academic groups. I had not related it to my own solitary primal wanderings, especially because most of my exploring takes place just outside the city zone, or within the so-called “urban wilderness” of large, rambling parks.

Now, after having done some pychogeographical internet drifting, I can see that the term can cover a whole range of wandering practices and it definitely could cover what it is that I do. Especially the expanded term “occult psychogeography”.

It does make me wonder. How much does the naming of something then change it? Because I now know that this term can be applied to what I do, how does that affect it? Does it affect it at all?

Everyone assuredly practices psychogeography in a slightly different way, even if they are in a group situation and having the same general experience. I have realized that I regularly practice several different forms. The urban wilderness wandering I mentioned above, another form specifically related to thrift store shopping, which I will address in the future, and a form focused solely on urban foraging, i.e. the practice of gathering things like hawthorne berries, chickweed, pears, rose hips, etc, from around the city.

I call myself a “liminaut” because, for various reasons, I often feel I have entered a liminal zone when I do the things I have mentioned above. I have a friend who frequently plumbs an urban wood for spiritual reasons—I term this friend a “liminaut” as well. So, it appears that I have also attempted to name something, something that was already in existence, and piggybacking off words that are already in existence, but attaching my own meaning to the process and the words. Does this change the process? Well, for me, the single act of having cobbled together that word was the final spark for starting this blog, so in a way, it has. Not bad, not good, just…different. And yet another series of crossroads presenting themselves.