For Sale: Neopaganism “As Is”

By | Animism, Community Issues, Witchcraft & Magic | 32 Comments

On the Origins, Problems, and Future of Neopaganism My goal here is to do more than just lift up a corner of the old wool carpet of neopaganism to reveal the dirt underneath. I think it is high time we just flip the whole bloody thing over and yell about how no one vaccumed under it for decades but just cleaned up what was visible. Lazy, right? Get your dusty brooms out of those closets and get ready to clean house! My intent in writing this long article is to use my best “professor of contemporary pagan studies” voice and define neopaganism, to explain how neopaganism and the paths within it make up a movement and not a religion, to point out where things went wrong, and to help foster a discussion on how and if things can be changed for the better at this point. You may find frustration and disillusionment in my words. I may make you angry or sad. Or, I may make you grateful that someone finally spelled out all the fake-lore and flaws for you. I ask you to keep in mind that in person I am a very sarcastic and silly person from a…

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So Long and Thanks for All the Abuse: A History of Sexual Trauma in the Pagan Community

By | Community Issues | 158 Comments

In light of yesterday’s political events in the United States and the bravery of Doctor Christine Basey Ford, I have decided to break my silence about sexual abuse in the pagan community. I am so proud of Dr. Blasey Ford for standing up and speaking her truth despite all the slander, death threats, and awareness that her testimony will still likely be ignored by an uncaring all cis white male senate. It is heartbreaking. Even those of us in Canada are watching with anger and tears. Social media is overwhelmed with people sharing their #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport stories while people on the opposite end of the spectrum are rationalizing assault, coming up with excuses, creating fake news, calling them whores, liars, and much worse. Some people are commenting that these events are even more important than Trump being sworn in as president due to the position of Supreme Court Justice being one appointed for a lifetime. Statistics courtesy of Fire Lyte, pie charts courtesy of Kathleen Borealis If a narcissist like Brett Kavanaugh is approved it can mean the end to women’s reproductive rights, a backslide away from gender equality, and an end to human rights being respected in the…

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Insane in the Membrane

By | Flying Ointments, Folk Medicine, Herbalism, Recipes | 37 Comments

It has been over a year since I wrote a blog post and I only wrote three blog posts total last year. It’s pretty unprecedented for me! I have been blogging for 15 years and never have I written so little. Granted I did write a few posts for my wilderness education website and I have been working on my book, but it’s still very little writing for this writer! I have never been the apologetic blogger, my policy has always been to write when I can and not worry about it when I can’t, but it’s gotten to the point people are emailing me to ask if I’m okay! What happened? Go read The Dark Year for perspective (in 2016 I was very ill and lost three people very dear to me all in a row). In the past four years I had two children, my little boys who are now ages one and four. My heart bursts with love for them and little ones are so freaking cute, but man does having children turn your life upside down! It is hard to run a business, write, and travel to teach when you have babies. You are a caregiver…

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Everything You Need to Know About Animism

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Folk Magic, Spirit Work | 23 Comments

“There is no environment ‘out there’ separate from us. The environment is embedded in us. We are as much a part of our surroundings as as the trees and birds and fish, the sky, water and rocks.” ~ David Suzuki What is Animism? The Latin animus means “the rational soul, intelligence, consciousness, and mental powers” and the feminine anima means “soul, living being, mind, and breath”. If you collect all the words for soul from all the languages around the world, almost all of their roots simply mean “breath”, insinuating that the soul and spirits in general are invisible and intangible. In the 1670s, the term anima mundi, meaning “soul of the world”, was used to describe the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Plato who believed the world and the universe itself was infused with an animate soul. In 1866, English anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Taylor popularized the already existing term animism from the Latin anima combined with the suffix -ism (attached to words associated with practices, beliefs, doctrines, worship, etc).  He defined animism as the “theory of the universal animation of nature.” Animism became the go-to term for anthropologists to describe and define the beliefs of non-Christian and prehistoric indigenous…

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Managing Magic with Small Children

By | Witchcraft & Magic | 18 Comments

In which friends Sarah and Cin talk about what it’s like to be a witch mom, give tips on how to juggle magic alongside tiny mischief makers, and talk about how to keep in touch with your magical practice when all you want is sleep and quiet. Sarah Lawless is an animistic witch, writer, and herbalist living in rural Ontario, Canada with her partner Alex, her three year old son, and a baby boy on the way. When she’s not chasing after the kiddo, Sarah works as a forager and herbalist crafting wild edibles and medicinals for her business Fern & Fungi. You could say she’s obsessed with herbalism, ethnobotany, native plants, and permaculture and you’d be correct. Sarah has been an author, teacher, and ritualist within the witchcraft community for the past 12 years and she can often be found teaching classes at herbal conferences and horticultural events as well as hosting rituals at the local Witches’ Sabbat and Kaleidoscope Gathering. Sarah’s idea of downtime usually involves baking sweets, cooking complex recipes, napping, and snuggling up with her man and binge watching Game of Thrones. Once upon a time when I was childless (which seems very long ago, but has really only been…

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