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Showing posts from July, 2016

Barefoot Paganism

Barefoot Pagan. Original photo, 2016. E very now and then, I look at what most Pagans want to read about and what I want to write about, and I wonder how many of my readers are left scratching their heads about what makes me even think I am a Pagan.  Or a Quaker friend will ask me to explain my Pagan practices, and their sense of disappointment when I do is almost palpable. I don’t talk about spells.  My rituals are simple in the extreme.  I rarely wear fancy robes and jewelry, and while my gods are very important to me, they’re somehow… personal.  I don’t talk about them for something the same reason I don’t talk about my sex life; it would just feel… awkward, for lack of a better word. So what is there to show that I’m a Pagan? Yes, I revere the Old Gods (and no, I’m not going to tell you which ones, and I’m not going to show you nudie pics of my sweetie, either).  And yes, I do the odd bit of magic here and there.  Some of it, like my prayer stones for friends,

Peter on the Otherworld, Truth-Telling, and Racism

There is a place in the woods of Western Massachusetts where there is a fairy ring. Mountain laurel grows in a circle, maybe dozen feet across, not planted by any human hand. The center is open, bare earth with a soft carpet of pine needles. Not much to look at. You could see it and miss what it was. But it was there and it was real. Peter Bishop, 1989. Camping in those woods thirty years ago, walking back to my cabin in the dark, it seemed as if the woods were full of mischievous spirits. I remembered stories of humans being pixie-led, losing their way in the woods to wander, lost, all night. I did not lose my way. Whatever was in those woods did not trick me off of the trail, and I found my cabin only a few minutes later. But there, just downhill from it, was the fairy ring. I walked down to it, walked around the outside of it, and it felt like static electricity. If I opened myself to it, I could feel a buzz of energy flowing outward from the circle i

To the Pagan Community: A Love Letter

To the Pagan Community: A Love Letter I have been trying for weeks now to write a post about something many Internet Pagans say does not exist: Pagan community. To be specific, I have been trying to write about spiritual community among Pagans and across the theologies that often divide us, across what Internet Paganism increasingly sees as an unbridgeable divide between Wiccans, Witches, and Druids and the emerging polytheist community–or at least, the parts of modern Paganism that are not “Wiccanate,” to borrow the term of our critics. That discussion is sometimes so heated that I’ve allowed it to get in my way here.  I keep writing elaborately constructed arguments, trying to convince people who don’t believe in it that this thing that has meant to much to me is real. That’s foolish.  I’ve been writing defensively, not from my heart. In truth, I can’t convince anyone of any such thing.  I can’t convince you that spiritual communities can exist