Self-Help Love-Hate

I'd like to read some Montaigne -- partly because it's like 18th-century self-help, and partly in spite of it. I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of self-help. On the one hand, it's a genre full of charlatans, fly-by-night money-back … [Continue reading]



The moon was full this morning in Virgo -- an earth sign ruled by the messenger god Mercury. What better time to bring the moon to earth? And by coincidence (?), just as the Earth was placed directly between the sun and moon, the sun reached out with … [Continue reading]

The Upper Airs: Layers of Landscapes in Meditation

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In meditation I almost always return to an inner landscape which I've described in a lot of detail elsewhere, but starting about a year ago I discovered I had access to another world, one that felt like it was directly above the old one -- as if it … [Continue reading]


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This afternoon, shortly before four o'clock, the sun, which had been low and sickly most of the day, began to seriously consider setting, her flames licking the clouds and igniting them all along the horizon above the Olympic mountains, and tracing … [Continue reading]

A Wedding on the Edge


Ocean, a poem Mary Oliver I am in love with Ocean lifting her thousands of white hats in the chop of the storm, or lying smooth and blue, the loveliest bed in the world. In the personal life, there is always grief more than enough, a … [Continue reading]

Storm and Throng


Last night a whopper of a storm raged through Pittsburgh, with thunder in hordes and lightning thronging. For hours it bellowed and shouted, grumbled and threatened, like an old man sitting on the porch, banging his stick and raging against the … [Continue reading]

Snake, Serpent, Drake, Dragon


Ali and I almost jogged right over a great black snake in the park this morning. Alison said: Black snake stretched, unwound across the path. We stopped to watch in the steam and sun-slant of morning as it melted back into the brush. It was … [Continue reading]

The Druid and the Wild Goose II: Conversation With Doctrine


In the previous post of this series about the emergent / progressive Christian Wild Goose festival, I talked about the courage of Christians facing moral contradictions between church authority and Biblical doctrine on one hand, and the call of heart … [Continue reading]

The Druid and the Wild Goose I: Christians Courageous

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At the emergent/progressive Christian Wild Goose festival this year, I was extremely fortunate to meet a new kind of Christian. I was raised with a sort of American Zen / New Age philosophy. But growing up in the American Southeast, I met a lot of … [Continue reading]

Musings on Wild and Goose


Ali and I just got back from the Wild Goose festival, a gathering of "emergent" Christians -- those who, broadly speaking, are seeking a way to reconcile Biblical authority and church teachings with issues of justice, technological and social change, … [Continue reading]

Sun, Summer, Summit

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This trio of words — inspired by the Summer Solstice — are completely unrelated historically, but their phonosemantics are remarkably similar. Sun Sun derives from Proto Indo European swen or suwen, a slightly modified version of the base form … [Continue reading]

The Cat Cure: Animal Husbandry and Human Civilization


I do love my cat. Gods, do I love my cat. Cu Gwyn is his name, meaning "White Dog" in Welsh; we chose it for him because he's a black cat, and that's the kind of sense of humor we have. Cu wanders the house at random, mostly sleeping or looking … [Continue reading]

The Sea and the Soul


The Proto Indo Europeans of the steppe near the Black Sea had no word for "ocean". They had mori or mari, meaning "lake" or "sea," but this most likely referred to the sparkling quality of its surface (cf PIE mer, "clear, sparkle") and did not carry … [Continue reading]

Ruminations Under an Oak


On Wednesday we visited the Angel Oak near Charleston, South Carolina. It is a vast thing, probably over a thousand years old, twisted and hoary and huge, like a cross between a live oak and an elephant. From a short distance away, it looks like a … [Continue reading]

Moss, Mire


This week we're in Charleston, South Carolina, visiting the Angel Oak. It's considerably sunnier and wetter here than it is back in Pittsburgh: the earth is sandier, the blue skies paler, and the waters warmer. In the morning we went out jogging past … [Continue reading]