The Burning Heart of the Forest


Not quite ‘meeting the Buddha on the road,’ but this was quite the trip.  I’d been working to awaken the spirits of the land, particularly the spirits of forest I’ve lived near for the last 8 months.  And just before I leave, I find this guy, placed atop one of the mounds built over the gasoline pipeline running through Seattle (and just over the fault line).

He’s not The Dagda, of course, nor any of the gods I worship, but someone else in the neighborhood (many Asian folks who were moved here after the internment camps closed) (remember America had internment camps?) (remember we still do?), responding to some beckoning of the sacred, placed this here.

And at the foot of the mound I found a gift from the crows.

More on that here: The Burning Heart of the Forest (A Sense of Place)

Also, more forest stuff!

John Beckett reviewed Your Face is a Forest!  I’m enchanted by the idea that my writing should be read like one reads scripture–not as sacred certainty, but with the mystic’s mind.

And speaking of the mystic’s mind, I’ve been reading Lorna Smither’s Enchanting the Shadowlands.  I’ll be reviewing it soon, but I don’t think you should wait for my review to buy it.  Each section’s like a Miyazaki film, bits that make your heart soar so high you cry in exuberance, bits so sorrowful you don’t think you’ll ever survive to read the next line.

And another review of Your Face is A Forest–actually, a poem!  No one’s ever written me poetry before.

And oh!  Speaking of forests and ferocity and beauty and mystics and also amazing people, a new site’s coming oh-so-soon.  It’s called Gods and Radicals, a collection of Pagan anti-capitalist writing from some of the most fascinating (and enchanting) people around.  More information soon.

Be fucking amazingly damn well, all of you!




By Carsten Tolkmit from Kiel, Germany (crossroads) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Carsten Tolkmit from Kiel, Germany (crossroads) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Maybe you’ve seen this?

There’s some interesting stuff there, stuff about my emotional stability and pain and inability accurately to recount a conversation with someone.  I received an email from that someone, actually a few, demanding I label my work fiction.

Unfortunately, I don’t write fiction.

Pays better, I hear.  I’ve only managed to write one short series of fiction in the last two years, What We Built From Ruins. Otherwise–no.

There’s a bit of fictive metaphor in Perceval.  It’s in the first section.  My interlocutor wasn’t wielding a scepter. Also, there’s a mythic element in it.  I can’t prove a fragment of my soul suddenly found itself in Gwynedd again, at the shores of Llyn Dinas.  The earlier was a literal device, the latter a spiritual experience.  That’s the sum of it, though. The rest?  All true, and particularly my accounting of my interlocutor’s words.

Here’s the thing, though.  He claims I am not telling the truth. But he says some awfully nice things, too, mixed in with some questioning of my emotional state and a description of my ‘pain.’

So, you know how this works, yeah?  I claim my account to be true; he claims otherwise.  Thus, I am either lying, delusional, or telling the truth.

If I’m lying, you have no reason to trust anything else I say.  My accounts of meeting gods, my description of ritual visions, pretty much everything else should be suspect.  You should not trust me.

If I’m delusional, you have similar reasons to doubt everything else I’ve said.  I say I encounter a land spirit or sense the dead: you should wonder how sane I actually am.  As I’ve said previously, the mystic or the spiritualist reports a reality outside normal observation, and the easiest way to shut them out is to diagnose their condition.  I could have been crazy (either temporarily or possibly chronically), and if this is so, that would qualify me as (what we call in social work) a ‘poor historian.’

In your judgment is that I fall into one of the first two cases, I’m gonna politely suggest, for your own integrity and mental health, that you stop reading me.  I claim to write the truth, and if what I say is untrue or delusional, I’m guilty either of a very grave crime (misleading people) or need some medications.  It’s the same advice I’d give anyone else.  It’s not safe to believe people who mislead or outright lie; it’s also very unsafe to be caught in other people’s delusions.  You should stop reading me.  No hard feelings, seriously.

If the third, though–awesome.  Glad you’re around.  You’re who I’m writing for, and you have my love.

Be very well and in peace. I will be, too.

Beltaine is for Radicals

You’ve been thinking there should be more Pagan Anti-Capitalist writing in the world, right?

Good.  Me too.

Interested in writing for a site full of that stuff?


Email gods.and.radicals [at] for information.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 889 other followers