CR/Gaelic Polytheist Community Boost

If you are interested in Celtic Reconstructionist paths, a Gaelic Polytheist or interested in the Irish/Scottish outsider warrior paths, and you don’t know the work of  Saigh Kym Lambert, you should. She was the first to use the term Celtic Reconstructionism in a religious sense in print and has long been devoted to the Irish War Goddesses,  and has written the best of the pagan scholarship on the Morrigan (Check out some of her articles on Air-N-Aithesc). Saigh has a pack of canines and a small herd of horses (some rescued) on a mountain homestead. Animal health care, just as human, can become overwhelmingly expensive and she is currently running a fundraiser with various interesting items, and an offer for vouchers for future workshops in fennidecht (the Gaelic outsider warrior tradition, think Fionn MacChumhaill, and Scathach). Info about what these workshops would entail can be found here:

Here’s a link for the fundraiser itself.

So please help, if you are able to do so.


And on just a general note, we really need to be building community in these unstable times.

Standing Rock

Many of you are aware of the protests and violence happening in North Dakota, I’m sure, but there are aspects of what is happening I’m not seeing much talked about. I’ve written a fair amount about the Dead—and here we had a desecration of the Dead occurring on the Land over the Labor Day weekend, a desecration of native burial and other sacred locations in North Dakota just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Sioux/Lakota Treaty Lands (Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868).


An appalling attack made by hired oil security with badly trained (abused?) dogs biting and bloodying the Protectors of the land and water, a violence that carries long shadows of the long history of genocide in the Americas. “This demolition is devastating. These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.” -Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman



Dakota Access Pipeline pushed through in its bulldozing, using info that had been provided in court by the tribe regarding locations of burials, using it for the counter-purpose of destroying sacred sites and burials when they thought the outside world wouldn’t be looking (even though there was an injunction).


Something I find of note is that this is magical warfare, the attempt to demoralize the ‘other’ by destroying their most holy places and destruction of graves of their ancestors (a very ancient practice).


A crude attempt at erasure and violence but the Protectors are standing strong and prayerful at Sacred Stone Camp. But a federal judge has now denied the request to stop the pipeline construction even though it would have 200 river crossings. What now? And what of the Dead?



Map from Wikipedia.

A positive statement today from the Office of Public Affairs (source:

The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws.  Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.  The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution.  In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.  Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions:  (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.

“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely.  We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence.  Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities.  The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.


Plenty of info at Democracy Now:

How to help:    

My Polytheisms

So since I last posted here I’ve traveled to California and back, experienced a hurricane and even a small quake (everything’s fine though the wind still blows hard), so it’s time for a meme.


My polytheisms walk through cool eucalyptus groves, down mud lane, through the ferns, sometimes getting lost, but always striding on, sometimes a hint of panic in the woods. It’s on the mountaintop, in the flashing clouds, in the swirling mist, portals opening and closing. It is not something that can be dredged up and weighed in the lab, it has nothing to do with humanism and limited economies; it is slippery like elvers flashing in dawn light; it raises up stones and leaves flowers drifting in the stream, rushing to the sea. It is attentive to syntax, and fugitive languages of crime and polyglot economies, trades of the night; it serves and celebrates in multiple trackways.


They can cut, they can bring jouissance…they speak archaic languages and dream of weird futures. It raises lamentations on the clearcuts and plastic strewn strands and jubilates in the ruts of myths, and the voices of deities. It makes elaborate altars and shrines and prepares delectable foods for the Holy Ones and cracks hazelnuts and feasts on salmon. It is attentive to dandelions, and the hauntings of virtual space that unfurl through our collective neurologies. It sneaks through binaries and overturns logs and reads a lot of books. My polytheism burns juniper to purify, it mucks about in the sacred abject of the chthonic, of the base. It satires. It dives deep in black waters, and steps through caves, inhaling fumes from volcanic vents. The spirits speak to it in languages of cricket and beetle antenna, of sentient plant root tips, serpentine sibilance and data streams and is intoxicated by the potlatch of the sun and the sacrament of photosynthesis. It visits otherworld castles and ancient druid groves, and reads omens carved in twigs and marked on burnt bones. My polytheism laughs at those who would limit it in ideology and rambles on, arms raised in praise in the storm. My polytheism magics on the bridge; it leaps off my tongue, and runs through my fingers and dances in my synapses. It undermines my autonomy, it offers my ‘me’ in sacrifice. And fills my body with song. It throws me dead into the waters, onto the vast percolation of the sea into currents of the deep, where I am food, and casts me back up in time on a far shore. My polytheism is ecstatic, liminal, devotional and philosophical, takes me onto an island in the stream, like Ariadne. My polytheism is immeasurable, music, waves, photons….


I.M. Katsu Goto

A brief post about something that moved me today.

Hawai’i has a vital shrine culture. I came across this shrine by happenstance this afternoon. Even though this labor activist was murdered when Hawai’i was still an independent kingdom (1889), it had largely been taken over by American plantation owners by then (who instituted the coup a few years later that led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the occupation by USA). This young immigrant sugar worker had learned English before leaving Japan but was lynched on the Hamakua coast.


Counter what a small, if very noisy, subset of American polytheists would have it animism/polytheism is hardly the precinct of the Right. I am moved that Goto’s shrine is still lovingly and beautifully maintained.


The sugar plantations are gone, but corporate and oligarchic interests are still rife. But as the plaque says his spirit lives on! What is remembered, lives.



And apologies for the blurry photos—it seems that (and not altogether unrelated) smartphone cameras are designed to degrade purposefully to get us to ever buy new models.

Lughnasadh and Various Announcements

On Sunday, we lit a druid’s fire for the first time here. Such a different environment (and no berry-picking!), but I believe the Gods were pleased. Praise to the Shining Ones!


A Beautiful Resistance #2 is out, and edited by Lorna Smithers. I have an essay “Bataille and the Dead”, exploring the application of aspects of the philosophy of Georges Bataille for contemporary pagans and polytheists. Words from Emma Restall Orr, Heathen Chinese and other interesting writers can be found.

“The thought of French philosopher and writer Georges Bataille (1897-1962) can help reveal the ‘limited economy’, its role in creating this wasteland that is blighting the entire biosphere, and via an understanding of the ‘accursed share’, hidden by modernist productive ideology, afford pagans insights into a life beyond utility in a ‘general economy’ of sacred expenditure, one where the dead (always) await, and animality returns to us.”–Finnchuill

A Beautiful Resistance, #2


With Lyre and Bow: A Devotional in Honor of Apollo, edited by Jennifer Lawrence, is now available from Bibliotheca Alexandrina. I have a sonnet for the God therein.


I remember that this time a year ago, I was in beautiful Olympia, Washington attending the first Many Gods West. It was so awesome! Wish I were able to attend this year, but here I am on a tropical island, thousands of miles away. Best wishes to all attending, and presenting–I’m sure it will be wonderful.

Report from a Windy Place

The winds are blowing hard. Last night they howled and moaned, things clattered and knocked about outside. A light rain falls. A storm is expected tomorrow. It seems to reflect things happening far away in the national ‘center’. I think of David Abram’s intuiting of the wind as spirit. This has been a difficult year on a personal level. When you have a local focus and animistic practice big moves, changes of geography and ecology are painful. At times I have been nearly overwhelmed with what the French call mal du pays (yes, the French have a much better word for what English makes do with homesickness; readers of Haruki Murakami, that animist novelist, will recognize this term, and know Lizt has a musical piece by this name). Local spirits left behind. Meeting new ones, but that takes time.


Things are shifting, realignments occurring on the macro-level. This is happening within our pagan/polytheist communities as well. Unpleasant things have come to light this year, things that weren’t exactly invisible before, but like seeing peoples’ masks slip, and seeing such ugliness revealed.


Rootedness is good for animism, good for learning ecological ways. But uprooting can be needed, so a god tells me. And there are much greater ones, much greater uprootings. I received rebuke (it hurt), my complaints getting in the way of doing the work. The storm warning says trees will be downed. Be prepared. Stock up on water, batteries…


A god shows me we must make otherworld sanctuaries, places not of this world. With our gods-given gift of imagination we co-create these places. They will be needed.


The winds blow harder. I am much more aware of the sky here. The stars. Much of my practice has long been deeply earth-focused (and still is) but the sky is becoming more prominent. There are times for flight. I receive lessons. I watch the birds, especially the white ones. At times it is necessary to fly high above the cloud layers, above the storms to high mountain summits, to the Cities of Knowledge, to the abodes that shine with the light of the Shining Ones.


We need to unleash the imbas, the awen, the intuitive flows. I touch the odd vitreous substance of the castle walls. There are others here too, others heeding have flown here.


I went up on the mountain, almost to the summit. Iron-red and black cinder all about. I was light headed, this one was this-worldly but not really, it all intersects, the heavens and the earth. Some build bridges with science, some with poetry. I was oxygen deprived, I was drunk, the light was tangible. Poetry flit in the thin air, the god wanted me to go there for a long time, I could see for two hundred miles. It’s necessary at times to go high above the cloud layers above the storms to high summits.



In Honor of a Sacred King

This post got delayed due to the horrific massacre in Orlando.

There’s been some discussion here and there this year of sacral kingship, including something on this blog awhile back …. Here in Hawai’i, Kamehameha the Great is such a king who maintains a kind of guardianship over the islands to this day. On Saturday, June 11th, I had the opportunity to celebrate the king’s birthday (a state holiday). In the little town of Kapa’au stands a statue of this sacral king who spent part of his childhood in the vicinity. On his day, huge leis (20 feet long) are offered up to him, among other offerings early in the morning, followed by a parade and other festivities, including traditional chanting. Quite inspiring.



The statue itself has an intriguing history, having been created in Paris in 1878, put ona ship that sank off the Falkland Islands and was eventually salvaged and placed in Kapa’au in 1912. Kamehameha, who was born around 1736, unified the archipelago and navigated the kingdom through the treacherous waters of international relations during the late 18th century and early years of the 19th. Kamehameha authored the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the “Law of the Splintered Paddle”, which protected rights of non-combatants in war. He is very much the object of reverence in various sites associated with his life. In a story reminiscent of other sacred heroes as a boy/young man he was able to lift a stone that prophecy could only be lifted by the would be king. The stone stands in front of Hilo’s public library today and receives offerings.

The stone in front is the stone the young to-be king lifted.