Book Release: Calling to our Ancestors

CallingToOurAncestors_Front_lowres I’m excited to announce that Calling to Our Ancestors, an anthology of devotional work with ancestors, has been released. I have an essay in it called, “Ancestors and Descendants: Building Connections.

Below is an excerpt, and a little more info about the anthology.

About the book:

This devotional is dedicated to giving a voice to those roads that honor the Ancestors, and to those who seek the Ancestors. The Ancestors can be found by many roads: by blood, adoption, the Gods we worship, and the Elements that sustain us. They can be found in the newly or ancient Dead, in the old forests or the candle flame. The devotional is dedicated to giving a voice to those roads, and to those who seek the Ancestors.

Several excerpts from my essay “Ancestors and Descendants: Building Connections”:

In the fall of 2010, I planned a public Samhain ritual for the Chicago Pagan community. One of my team members was pushing for more work with the Ancestors, and I was pushing for more work with our personal shadows and wounds. Both kinds of spiritual work fit well with Samhain and the Underworld. But once again I found myself faced with my guilty secret as a Pagan leader—that I really didn’t feel any spiritual connection to the Ancestors….

Though my connection to the Ancestors was weak, I was profoundly moved by the Descendants. Those who come after us, those for whom our actions will shape their future…this was an extremely visceral piece for me, often bringing that emotional “full” sensation to my chest and tears to my eyes.  Partly my emotions were triggered because so much of the work I do is around trying to transform and heal this world of ours….

My father passed away the February following that ritual; I had been procrastinating going up to see him. He was young, in his mid 50’s, but he’d had several medical complications in past years….

One month before my father died, he frantically called friends and family. He’d had an intense spiritual vision, a mystical communion and rapture with the divine where he spent two days going in and out of a spiritual rapture. When we talked on the phone about this, he had never sounded so happy. He said he’d been crying at the intensity of love, the feeling of being connected to all that is.

You can read the full essay, as well as many others, in the anthology.

Contributors include:

To Buy:
You can purchase Calling to Our Ancestors in print and ebook forms, or specifically in Kindle format here.


Filed under: Pagan Community, Personal Growth Tagged: adoption, ancestor, ancestors, beloved, blood, bone, book, calling, Calling to Our Ancestors, dead, devotion, devotional, Disir, elevation, healing, hope, inspiration, poem, poetry, praise, prayer

Roundup: Sex, Ethics, Predators, #YesAllWomen

9046129_xxlSo there’s more that needs to be discussed on the sex, ethics, harassment, predators, abuse, and consent front. There’s the #yesallwomen movement, and there are a lot of conversations happening. I’ve written more blog posts on the topic–but I’ll be honest, I haven’t published them. Why?

Well…I know I tend to go raw with my posts, but the posts I wrote may be too raw. I’m not sure if I want to go there. Maybe I’m not sure I want to reveal that much, or be that much of a bummer. Maybe I’m sick of triggering people.

And yet, if we don’t talk about these things, how can we heal them? How can we build healthier community? How can we build a better world?

I admit, when I hear about people doing horrible things, I can get pretty depressed. I think, what’s the point if all these people are going to do these terrible things? But then my optimist rears its head and insists, we can be better. We must be better.

While I work out whether or not to post some further blogs in my Pagans and Predators series, here’s a roundup of a lot of other great posts on these topics. If you read all the source posts here (I’ve pulled some pithy quotes from each) I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of the core issues not just in the Pagan community, but in our broader culture, that contribute to making this a self-perpetuating cycle.


“At a drumming workshop, the instructor asked each person to individually play back a rhythm. I decided to pass on that particular exercise, being self-conscious about my sense of rhythm. When it came to my turn, I told the instructor that I would prefer not to and he was fine with that, but someone else in the class said “we’re allowed to not do it?”. It shocked me that those around me didn’t know that they were allowed to say “no” to something.

If we value consent as individuals and as a community, we will all develop the ability to lovingly enforce boundaries and respectfully step back if requested.”



“We failed his victims. It is an aching, glaring reality in the hordes of blog posts out there: there’s lots of talk about how we had warnings about Klein, but only the victims talk about how they were (mis)treated along the way. Call it rape culture, call it Peter Pan syndrome, call it Pagan fantasy culture at its worst – but also, call it our fault for not listening, for not paying attention, for dismissing instead of investigating.”

“But then real life happens: a woman tells you she’s been raped by someone you know – a guy you just had drinks with, a guy who’s on your trivia team, a guy who just helped you move.

Then believing her is a very different story.

Even after she gets the rape kit and the DNA proves something happened, you dredge up anything  that can make this not be so – even blaming her – to convince yourself you’re not the kind of person that would befriend a rapist.

Maybe she’s just trying to get revenge in a bad breakup, you tell yourself. You look for every fault she has. Something has to be wrong with her – because there’s no way you’d just let this happen, that you might have been a passive party to someone else’s violation….Or: look at how she wears baggy clothes and no makeup – why would anyone even want to rape her?

This train of thought is wrong – beyond wrong. It’s a complete moral failure.”



“Because if a woman says no she is a prude, but if she says yes she is a slut

Because when I worked as a waitress and a bar maid I was repeatedly slapped on the ass, pinched, groped, physically pulled, and cornered by male customers who thought it was ‘just a bit of fun’

Because body shaming and victim blaming are so common that women are told to just ‘get over it’”



“When allegations and discussions came up before, they were often isolated. Either by geography, fear, or by the nature of the early Internet, where different groups tended to circulate in a limited number of forums.”



“There’s more out there, including people defending MZB, as well as people insisting we must “separate the art from the artist” and not let MZB’s “alleged” crimes detract from the good she’s done. And there’s the argument that since MZB died fifteen years ago, there’s no point to bringing up all of this ugliness and smearing the name of a celebrated author.”



“Every woman I know has a story where, if she wasn’t assaulted, then was nearly assaulted. All have been stalked, at least once. My wife, my mother, my female friends, all have been subjected to fear in a way I can’t relate to. Every woman I know has a story where they didn’t feel safe because of something a man said or did to them. And no, not all men are bad. We’re not all “like that.” But how is anyone supposed to know that just by looking?

A major point of the #YesAllWomen trend was to show how women have to frequently deal with situations they aren’t in control of. This is lost by those opposing it. Some of them ironically say that these women are “out of control.” And that’s exactly what theyfear.

This also ties in to how people (men) think false accusations of rape happen frequently. The notion being that the woman is in control. All she needs to do is say it, right? “He raped me!” These men simply assume that this is easy to do, so it must happen all the time. Therefore, women are clearly lying about rapes.”



“Friend zoning, is, in broader terms, something bad that a guy who is not getting laid decides that the woman won’t fuck him is doing. It’s an incredibly self centered and self-pitying way to externalize one’s own mistakes or shortcomings, to blame the complex mystery of fickle human attraction on a woman’s agency, and makes about as much emotional sense as showing up to pick up your dry cleaning at 3 am and becoming so enraged that they’re not open that you throw a brick through the window.

But should something that originates 100% in the feelings of a man (note: women can be “friendzoned” too, but, according to The Internet, this happens much less often) perception be attributed to a woman? Probably not. That’s why, months ago, the ladies of Reddit came up with “girlfriendzoning” in the first place — it’s when guys “only see a girl as a potential girlfriend and not as a friend (or a human, really, in my opinion).”

Girlfriendzoning is not when a man is interested in a woman and is disappointed when her interest is not reciprocated; that’s a normal human way to respond to rejection. It’s the word for the pining blame men place on women for their own unrequited feelings, or for how some men completely lose interest in women as people once it’s clear she’s not interested in them sexually. It’s something done by a man who was never interested in anything but a sexual relationship in the first place, and tried to use faux friendship as a way to achieve sexual ends.”



“Associating misogyny with a mass murder would mean having to recognize just how dangerous misogyny really is and – if you’re partaking – giving it up. Some men want to believe that they can continue to call women “sluts” and make rape jokes without being part of a broader cultural impact. But they can’t: sexism, from everyday harassment to inequality enshrined in policy, pollutes our society as a whole and limits our ability to create real justice for women.”



You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.

Here’s a bullet-point list of examples of rape culture.

· Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)

· Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)

· Sexually explicit jokes

· Tolerance of sexual harassment

· Inflating false rape report statistics

· Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history

· Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television

· Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive

· Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive

· Pressure on men to “score”

· Pressure on women to not appear “cold”

· Assuming only promiscuous women get raped

· Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped

· Refusing to take rape accusations seriously

· Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape”

More blog posts certainly to follow on this topic. Thank you for reading, and thank you for working to be a part of the solution.


Filed under: Leadership, Pagan Community, Personal Growth Tagged: #yesallwomen, abuse, community, consent, ethics, harassment, healing, leadership, sex