Category Archives: Ecological Consciousness

Pilgrimage to Uncivilization

By | Bones & Blood, Ecological Consciousness, Ethnobotany, Folk Magic, Folk Medicine, Herbalism, Pacific Northwest Folklore, Storytelling | 18 Comments

Me and Little Red met Jan and Seb at The Gathering this spring and were lucky enough to hang out with them again at Freyfest in August. Much mischief and mead was involved (they seem to follow in my wake…).  Since then Little Red (aka the hot Asian schoolteacher in our local pagan community) got married to her love and Jan and Seb got engaged. Jan is a survival-skill/outdoors type with James Dean’s hair and looks, dressing all in black, and quick with a joke. Seb is part woodsy shaman and part sexy punk, shy but full of mischief. They both work for a wilderness school in Washington and invited us down for the thanksgiving weekend to visit and to hike to the Goldmyer Hot Springs with them.  Of course we said yes and drove across the border last Friday, excited for adventure with a sunny forecast ahead of us. The GPS tried to kill us by leading us into a stone quarry instead of Jan and Seb’s home, but eventually we found it outside a small town in a beautiful cedar and fir forest behind farming country. Little Red and I were a bit early and so we explored the…

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Wildcrafting and Insects

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | No Comments

The old ones said to be careful of the creepy crawlies when I wild harvest and to try my best not to harm them. I’m an animist so I figure I’d better practice what I preach. Since then I’ve been trying my best to be aware of them and try my best to leave them in the wild not take them home with me in my bags of wildcrafted bounty. A few hide so well and still come home with me regardless. Others might think I’m a bit mad to pick up the beetles, earwigs, and spiders and put them back outside again. They don’t bite and they don’t run away – especially when you tell them you’re just putting them back outside. If you don’t want to touch them you can get them to crawl onto a piece of paper and put them in a box or tupperware container. Maybe it’s because I was looking for them that I saw so many more insects than normal including ones I’ve never seen before even though I was born and grew up here. The tiny little turquoise beetle above wasn’t even in my insect field guide and neither were the shiny…

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New Moon Wildcrafting

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Ethnobotany, Folk Magic, Herbalism, Spirit Work, Wildcrafting | No Comments

Offering of apricot, cherries, and tobacco When the first silvery sliver of the new moon appears you have two weeks to harvest of the greenmantle from forest, field, and fen before her face turns, darkens, and her demeanour sours. Two weeks to harvest the plants at their best and then for two weeks you must rest and wait for the moon to turn her face once more to the light. If you are a dreamer, wait for the dreams when the plants come to you and tell you they are ready to be harvested. Wait too long to heed and the time will pass, sometimes not to come again for a year. First comes the ritual of declaring intent to the genius loci and asking for aid in finding that which you seek. A suitable offering must be made to show gratitude, manners, and that you do not expect something for nothing. Spirits of the mountain, accept from my hands this offering and open my eyes to see your hidden treasures and what they may be used for in medicine and magic. When I leave my humble offering near the base of the giant Big Leaf Maple by my home,…

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A Tithe for the Forest

By | Ecological Consciousness, Folk Magic, Wildcrafting, Witchcraft & Magic | 24 Comments

Leaving offerings in the forest as thanks for the botanicals and animal bits I wild harvest is a common practice for me, but now I wish to pay a larger tithe 1-2 times a year as animists of old would have done. I think I will pay a tithe to both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of spirits each year. Yesterday I gave my first big tithe to the Seelie spirits. I was inspired from watching Beyond Survival with host Les Stroud (a fellow Canadian). He travels all over the world living with indigenous peoples for a week or more to live how they live and document their traditional practices and beliefs before they disappear. In the episode with the Sea Gypsies of Malaysia he documented them paying a large tithe of precious goods to the Sea to propitiate the spirits for all the food and supplies they take from it and to prevent deaths caused by their rough lifestyle. It was simple and beautiful, but not the first such offering he’d documented. My tithe consisted of mouth-watering fruit cakes soaked in brandy and mead for five months (with “real” cherries, figs, and candied chestnuts), pomegranates, beets, heirloom garlic, a…

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Weep for the Forests of Death

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Spirit Work | 32 Comments

My gods are the powerful spirits of the wild, horned and antlered, of sharp tooth and claw. They are the wolf in the field of grain, the shark in the blue sea, the ancient tree in the wood, and the mother and father of all spirits walking this earth. They are so ancient they have no names for we did not yet exist to name them. To name a thing makes it feel safe and knowable – they are neither. I simply call them Old Man and Old Woman. I made an oath to these great spirits two years ago. I made it under duress while violently ill during a powerful lightning storm. As great snakes made of fire and light struck away at the ground, I thought I was going to die or pass out, but instead words tumbled from my lips like water from a fountain and made the promise,”I will not let them forget you”.  I did not realize all that simple oath entailed when I made it. It seemed easy enough, but from it came the podcast, cosmological writings, the urges to write books and continue with my woodwork, as well as my work with the local…

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