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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in land

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Landwight

This land is home now. It's the place where the land spirit protects me, and where we exchange gifts and mutually grow stronger, and happier. It's the place where my neighbors' children swim in my pool and their dogs obey me. It's the place where I delight to see butterflies on the flowers with a simple joy that blots out all other thoughts. It's the place where I can go outside and harvest food and know that it's healthy and free of poisons and a product of my love of the land and the land's love for me. It's the place where my old cats are buried.

When I first moved from my old apartment in Las Vegas to our house in Henderson, I wanted to do an Asatru land-taking ritual when I moved in. I wanted to walk the boundaries of our land and mark out our property line as an innangarth (inner yard.) But, while moving, I had attempted to carry a couch down the stairs from my old walk-up apartment and injured my knee. As I sat in my room thinking about how to walk the boundary when I couldn't walk, I looked out the window and saw my cat Shadow walking the boundary for me.

Shadow understood territory, because she was a cat. So, I started out on this land by working with nature via nature, in the form of a cat and her territorial instincts.

Gradually, I became aware of the being of this place, the genius loci. I decided to contact the land spirit and see if I could communicate and start a formal gifting relationship with it. In Asatru we call the land spirits landvaettir or landwights, and there are traditions about what a landwight might like, but those traditions were developed in Europe, dealing with the beings native to that land. Since this land is in the Nevada portion of the Mojave Desert, I thought the local landwight might be used to dealing with humans within the traditions of the local Native American tribes, so I approached it by offering corn. It liked the corn. But it turned out the landwight wasn't particular; he just wanted some of whatever we were having, only plant matter, and only what would otherwise go to waste. The landwight here is a vegan and a freetarian. I began offering to the landwight by putting things in the compost pile, and the landwight accepted these gifts and returned gifts of rich, dark soil. Yes, this is how compost normally works -- I see the magic of the return of a gift for a gift operating and simultaneously understand that this process can be explained by science, for that is what nature is for me. It is both the science and the magic, both the logic and the joy.

The photo at the top of this post is my front yard in October 2011. I designed this garden, and went through the approval process to get the local water department rebate for replacing lawn with xeriscape. I grew both the squash in the foreground and the mimosa tree on the side of the house from seed. I started the lavender bushes and Australian racer in the middle ground of the photo from cuttings; the lavender cuttings came from the back yard lavender bush, which originally came from High Country Gardens, and the racer from my grandmother's garden in Arizona. The squash seeds came from Native Seed Search, an organization for the preservation of heritage Southwest Native American food crop seeds. It's a Tohono O'odham Ha:I which I have nicknamed "the squash that ate Las Vegas" because it is rampant.

After some years living here, as my relationship with the local landwight deepened, he decided he wanted to be represented by a garden gnome statue. He does not actually look like a gnome; he is a vast power, and his true form awes me. My mom chose the gnome statue. I positioned it in the garden near where I give the landwight the "Presents for the Gnome." I distribute the gnomic blessings into the planting beds-- that is, I shovel compost-- and the garden flourishes. The garden nourishes me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It takes care of me, I take care of it, and the cycle continues. The the mimosa and pine trees that I started from seeds in little pots in my apartment are big trees now. Their roots go down deep into the ground, and so do my psychic roots. This is my home.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Red Rock Power Spot

Continuing my story of my personal journey, I found Red Rock Park to be a healing place. Red Rock Park near Las Vegas, Nevada, is a popular hiking, rock climbing, and picnicking destination where one can view petroglyphs. I often meditated in a shallow cave I named the Yoda Hole. The trailhead to the rock climbing area with many small caves is on the first overlook of the scenic road in the park.

The image that accompanies this post is a photo of the the Yoda Hole. It was pristine when I used to visit it for healing in the 90s, but had been defaced with graffiti at the time I took this picture. The circular design in the middle of the cave roof is natural, and I liked to position my head under it when I meditated. 

 A quote from my memoir:

     “When my feet touched the red rock I felt power go through me.  It was like plugging into a socket.  My energy level skyrocketed, and I found my pace quickening.  I walked right out onto the promontory of calico stone and sat down, my hands caressing the deep red stone.  At the same time that I realized this was the first stirring of psychic power I had felt in a long time, and I reveled in the feel of the power coursing through me from the rock, I also wondered what it was in the rock that set it apart and made it powerful.  Was the red color from iron, like rust?  If so, was what I felt as magical power actually a magnetic field?"

The red color is, in fact, from iron. Meditating in the Yoda Hole and hiking in the park improved my health. I became able to sense other minds again, including the gods. The gray lifted from me, and there was color in the world again.  

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But what am I to do with all this fury, all this rage?

As you know, I am a woman of a particular place, a woman who is from and of the southern highlands of the Appalachian mountains. From my west-facing window, I look out on the third oldest river in the world, framed by the oldest mountains.

The energy is deep here, hoary, implacable. If you are brave and crazy enough to connect your energy to this land, there can be no turning back from it. And no turning your back on it, not for long, not if you value sleep and quiet thought.  This land will haunt you and you need only ask those whose families left here for greener pastures and died longing for a remote and drafty cabin set on a rolling hillside.  Those who still think of themselves as mountain folk--though they have lived in the flatlands for a long, long time.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Blessings on your land. May those of us who live far away sit up and take notice.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Good rant! The Progressive/Liberal campaign to kill energy production in the US has fallen hard on the people of West Virginia an

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

When I want optimum yield from my garden, I feed the soil with composted vegetable matter, old manure and yummy organic fertilizers.

When I am hungry, I make myself something healthy and/or delicious because I know this machine doesn’t run without fuel.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Sacred Precincts

 

This is part three of four of a series on physical infrastructure in the Pagan community. In this blog post I am focusing on temples, libraries, and land-based projects. For the sake of simplicity I am using the phrase temples, libraries, and land-based projects, but as you read this post also think of retreat centers, community centers, and other sorts of venues as well. There are currently a small number of Pagan temples, libraries, and land-based projects, for which I am grateful but there are not enough.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I'd love to see someone put together a "model organization". Legal forms, business plan; something that meta-groups across the cou
  • Leanne Pemburn
    Leanne Pemburn says #
    What would it take to get many groups on one area to pool their resources?
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I couldn't agree more. However, one thing that we need to also remember is that Pagans as a group cannot rely on the largess of a

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Place & Purpose

This is the beginning of a four part series on physical infrastructure in the Pagan community. Although there are many types of infrastructure that deserve discussion, I'll focus on three types in my next blog posts that I think have the greatest importance and greatest urgency at this fork in the road. I will be talking about: 

 

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  • Caroline Kenner
    Caroline Kenner says #
    The memory of Bell, Book and Candle on 9/11 brought me to tears. If ever there was a time when I longed for infrastructure, that

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