Pagan Culture - Literature

Death of a Bull Moose

Death of a Bull Moose

I began thinking about a moose. It didn’t start out so profound, but when I found one near my cabin I would sit and watch it until it wandered away out of boredom or in search of food. I would seek it out in the marsh in early mornings. I stayed whether I found the moose or not, watching the faint movements of the grasses, leaves, and water. I felt the sheer mobility of nature. Now I am the friend of a dead moose.

I walk south from my cabin to a large marsh located about a mile away from a gravel service road. The route to the marsh once brought me through an old growth forest, but the trail this day brings me by a field of stumps and brush. Across the field is a line of machinery — dozers, backhoes, and cats. They smoke and grumble. A solitary grove of maples frame the machines. The black smoke from the machines disappears in the maple’s shadows then reappears, seeping into the sky. Distant voices pulse with baritone cackles while tanned workers hack at fallen trees with chainsaws. I want to say something, but I don’t. I head to the marsh.

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At the Hut in the Wilderness

Twin guardians flank the eastern door.
A rainbow, curving, seals up all the rest.
Enter humbly, dropping all you think you are,
and with a heart receptive to be blessed.

Your flesh goes first tonight, and then your bones;
and both are safely set aside.
Your pattern lies inside of these —
the lines intended as your guide.

When these are broken bent, askew,
or poorly seen, your life goes ill.
But when they weave in beauty
with the greater beauty, all is surely well.

So invoke the hoops of every realm
and every hoop pass through.

O rocks and minerals, water, air,
I am your relative,
so may I treat you well.

O green and growing things,
I am your relative,
so may I treat you well.

O eagle, spider, frog, and all your kin,
I am your relative,
so may I treat you well.

All races, genders, tribes of humankind,
I am your relative,
so may I treat you well.

O mystery deep, whose hands have made
and now repair our broken lines,
I am your relative,
so may I treat you well.

Presently, in the vast gap of space
with its blackness and blazes,
there is a vibrating column of air
around which
your body wraps itself. Here
at the lip of the falls,
where the stream of now pours into then,
a bird is singing. How intimately
you know this song! It is
yours to bring forth.

O subtle pattern of our journey,
O lines re—clothed in bones and flesh,
the dawn has come.
May we wake up at every choice
and find our paths fulfilled in beauty.


Chris Hoffmans publications include Cairns (poetry) and The Hoop and the Tree: a Compass for finding a Deeper relationship With all Life (prose: ecopsychology and spirituality). More information at

Support your path Witches&Pagans #20 - The Animal Issue



Longest Night

The sun meets his end in a pastel swirl and a shimmer.

Long violet shadows on white velvet
Brittle and barren fingers pull the weakened orb
Down into a calm, silent fist
In a whisper This: Solstice.

All the world is still on the longest night.
Silence in the moonlit grove, 
But for the knowing crunch of snow
And odd shadows.
We sleep,
We dream,
We are.

Constellations in the tyrian blanket of sky;
Jewels in the dark,
The spark
To a million candles
 Of the yellow flame at dawn.


ARWEN LEIGH knew she was on a different spiritual page in Sunday school, where she was disturbed by the morbid fascination over the grisly death of a guy who looked unsettlingly like John Lennon a la Abbey Road. Arwen values sincerity, fairness, honesty, and joy. She is a Pagan kitchen/hedge witch.

Support your path Witches&Pagans #20 - The Animal Issue


Listening to the Cougar

Listening to the Cougar

I don’t know why he’s screaming 
like a banshee. I’ve known the sound
for years. When you grow up
in the woods, you’re taught things city

kids don’t need to know. I’m not
worried. My dad has a gun. He takes
one each time we go berry picking
in case we come upon a bear. He hopes

we do. Bearburgers, rump roast,
and bear chops are favorites at our place.
The mountain cat is deep in the green
Swearing in cougar because we have

Wandered into his realm. He knows
he is unseen and we know he doesn’t
eat berries. Perhaps he thinks we will
kill and eat his deer, the field mice

he takes as snacks, or other game he
claims in this neck of the woods. His
message is clear. He is not pleased.
I know he’s right. The universe spent

a long time creating a cat like him. He
has certain rights. They stretch back
to a day when he would have been
the hunter and the berry pickers the prey.

Fredrick Zydek is the author of nine collections of poetry, T’Kopachuck: The Buckley Poems being his most recent. He edits Lone Willow Press.

Support your path Witches&Pagans #20 - The Animal Issue


Flower Songs

head_Ruby-Sara_wp-19Figs & Honey by Ruby Sara

Flower Songs
Spoken Word in the Season of Fire

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility: whose texture compels me with the color of countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing
— e.e. cummings1


Sing praise to the Mama, Pagani! The delicious season of “intense fragility” carpets the grass with blue scilla and tulips, the ground is rich with rain and our tongues are rich with verse…yes, summer is a season of poetry.

Now, never let it be said that there exists a season without poetry! But for me, at least, it is first spring and then summer that seem to be most suited to the unique rapture of poetry in its ecstatic and vocal forms. In spring, the new shoots of bulb flowers dazzle moss-green and emerald above the black earth, and the robin makes its entrance. Hyacinths and crocus flowers unfurl their creamy petals, and the world opens. Yes! Then Beltane comes, and the Wheel turns inexorably on towards the great Summer Solstice. Fires leap high in the night, and Jack in the Green haunts the woods and thickets.

Read more: Flower Songs

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