Daily Stuff 5-11-21 Eisheilige

Hi, folks!

Minus Tide at 7:27 AM of -0.4 feet.Today

The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday. Spring hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm.

Two fire spots, plus the Meadow fire. Here, it’s clear and chilly with beautiful stars! 43F, wind at 0-2mph and gusting, AQI 12-36, UV7. Chance of rain % today and % tonight. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY through 8pm on Wednesday. The 10-day forecast is all more or less cloud, highs in the upper 50’s and a slight chance of showers from Sunday on.

Yesterday we headed home in sparkling sunlight, got some breakfast and slept until the noon alarm, at which point we headed back to the shop. I started to sunburn, sitting in the open car door, waiting, and for less that 5 minutes! That’s a beautiful drive down-river watching the Alsea roll past. We got opened up and coffeed and started in on the day. Both of us were working on bills and other paperwork. Tempus also started getting the rolling table ready for the summer.

Later, I worked on getting the new Treat House display put together. These are all Rice Krispie treats in flavors like Mermaid, Unicorn, Sea Salt Caramel and so on. Tempus and I split one as an afternoon treat and they’re really tasty! They come in regular (one serving, $3) and jumbo (3 serving, $5) sizes. Yummy!

Late in the afternoon Tempus made 3 trips to Rayna’s to get the last of our plants out of her yard. The blueberry didn’t make it, but the pot of mint (that I thought was dead the last time I saw it) is high and lush! We’re going to have to plant rearranging to do at home, though. I got some baskets from a local that I’m intending to set up as gifts, as sewing project caddies.

We didn’t get home until past 8. The sun was setting as we drove upriver. Tempus offloaded, we ate supper and went to bed. That seems to be the story of our lives, but we’re in the same, quite-comfortable bed and enjoying having one of our own again!

He dropped me off here just before two and headed out for the paper run. I’m getting this out and then I have to finish one more before I go work in back to try to find some things that are missing, like my good iron. I know where it was, but it has vanished again. <sigh> I’m hoping to set up a seed cake mix before we head home in the morning. Doing it here means not toting a whacking lot of stuff home and it’ll wait in the fridge. It’s an old enough recipe that there’s no baking powder or anything like that, so it won’t sour on me.

Today we’re going to catch up on sleep. Once I’m up, I have plants to separate and re-pot and I need to have Tempus drag some of them around to where they’re going to live. He also have a bunch of cupboards to vacuum and more hooks to put up. Tonight is the bulk route, so I’m probably going to be working at the shop in the evening, as well as overnight.

I keep talking about Sioned. This is a page of pictures from this year. https://ancientlightshop.wordpress.com/calendar/psychic-fair-information/grandbaby-trip-2-28-to-3-6-19/grandbabys-third-year/

If anyone knows the source of this picture, let me know, please? I want to credit the photographer!

plant pacific aster Symphyotrichumchilense

Pacific AsterSymphyotrichum chilense, is one form of aster that grows in the PNW.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphyotrichum_chilense China Asters are the ones grown in gardens and are the common garden aster that Cunningham references:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callistephus_chinensis in his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. – Feminine, Venus, Water – The aster was sacred to the gods and used on altars in many religious paths. It is often used in love sachets or carry the bloom to win love. You can also grow them in your garden to draw love to you! …and here is an article on the whole family which includes sunflowers, chrysanthemums, yarrow and cone-flower!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteraceae

0511 feast motif weather storm Rolling-thunder-cloud

Today’s Feast is that of the Ice Saints, the Eisheilige, St. Mamertus (or, in some countries, St. Boniface of Tarsus), St. Pancras, and St. Servatius, who supposedly brought bad weather on their three consecutive feast days, May 11-13 in Central Europe.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Saints    and some odd weather lore. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather 

The shop opens at 1pm. Spring hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. For appointments contact us at 541-563-7154, anjasnihova@yahoo.com, on Facebook or here on the blog, or just leave a note on the door!

Love & Light,


Today’s Astro & Calendar

Moon in Taurus

Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 5/11 at noon. Dark of the Moon, End of the cycle – In the time leading up to the “New Moon” you may do banishings and other baneful magicks and healings that require blasting a disease away, as well as using the time for introspection and self-work. Do scrying, now. Good for reversing circumstances God/dess Aspect: The One Beyond, the Watchers in the Dark, psychopomps. – Associated God/desses: Hecate, Kali, Arianhrod, Anja, Kore in the Underworld, Ereshkigal who was Inanna, Set/Seth, Hades, Osiris . Phase ends at the New on 5/11 at Noon. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on5/26 at 4:14am. New Moon – The beginning of a new cycle. Keywords for the New phase are: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity. It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone. VISUALIZE your goals for the 29.6-day cycle ahead. The new moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting. God/dess aspect: Infancy, the Cosmic Egg, Eyes-Wide-Open – Associated God/dess: Inanna who was Ereshkigal. Phase ends on 5/27 at 4:14pm

A gigantic asterism you may not know about is the Diamond of Virgo, some 50° tall and extending over five constellations. It now stands upright in the southeast to south after the stars come out. Begin with Spica, its bottom. Upper left from Spica is bright Arcturus. Almost as far upper right from Arcturus is fainter Cor Caroli, 3rd magnitude. The same distance lower right from there is Denebola, the 2nd-magnitude tailtip of Leo. And then back to Spica. The bottom three of these stars, the brightest, form a nearly perfect equilateral triangle. So maybe we should call Arcturus, Spica and Denebola the “Spring Triangle” to parallel those of summer and winter?

In you have a dark sky, or binoculars, look halfway from Cor Caroli to Denebola for the very large, sparse Coma Berenices star cluster. It spans some 4°, about the size of a ping-pong ball held at arm’s length.

Mercury passes 8° north of Aldebaran at 11 P.M. EDT. Although they will have set by then, you can catch the pair sinking in the west just after sunset. Closest to the horizon is bright Venus, blazing at magnitude –3.9 and roughly 10″ in diameter. About 9° northeast of Venus is Mercury, a much dimmer –0.3 and spanning 7″. The red giant star Aldebaran, which marks the eye of Taurus the Bull, is south of the tiny planet.

Northwest of Venus (and roughly the same height above the horizon) is the Pleiades. See if you can spot any of the cluster’s bright stars popping out as dusk falls and the cluster quickly sets. You’ll definitely need a clear view of the horizon.

Much higher in the sky, now sitting near the knees of Gemini the Twins, is ruddy Mars, shining at magnitude 1.6. It will take longer for the Red Planet to show up against the darkening sky, but it will also remain above the horizon longer, setting around local midnight.

Mercury and Venus come into view low in the west-northwest in the afterglow of sunset. You may first spot Venus, bright at magnitude –3.9, very low. As the sky darkens, Mercury will come into view some 9° above Venus. Mercury fades from magnitude 0.0 to +0.5 this week.

Runic half-month of Laguz/ Lagu, 4/29-5/13 Representing the flowing and mutable forces of water, Lagu symbolizes life, growth and waxing power of this time of year. Runic half-month of Inguz/Ing, 5/14-5/28 – Male consort of Nerthus, the Earth Mother, Ing is god of the hearth. This time of year expresses potential for abundant growth. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, p. 70.

NIGHT SKY FOR May 2021 – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-may-asterisms

Sun in Taurus

Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15
Goddess Month of Hera runs from 5/16 – 6/12
Celtic Tree Month
of Saille/Willow, Apr 15 – May 12
Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9
Pluto Retrograde (10/6)
Color – White

©2021 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright


Celtic Tree Month of Saille/Willow, Apr 15 – May 12 The Willow in the Tree alphabet stands for the female and lunar rhythms of life. She is water-seeking, thriving from preference on the damp margins of lakes and streams or across the low-lying water meadows. Water and the tidal movements of the sea are governed by the pull of the moon. The moon in its monthly rhythms is female, contrasting with the male sun’s daily and yearly turnings. In several ways, the Celts held women in higher regard than we do today. On the material level, women were property owners, and whoever controlled the property controlled the marriage. Women of all types and ages appeared in the Celtic pantheon, the spiritual strength and life-giving qualities given by both female and male recognized equally. There were colleges of Druidesses – learned women and teachers – respected equally for their gifts of see-ship, often expressed through dreams, or night visions.
Magical Associations: Romantic love, healing, protection, fertility, magic for women.

Saille – Willow Ogam letter correspondences
Month: February
Color: listed only as bright
Class: Peasant
Letter: S
Meaning: Gaining balance in your life

to study this month – Ohn – Furze Ogam letter correspondences
Month: None
Color: Yellow Gold
Class: Chieftain
Letter: O
Meaning: Information that could change your life

Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9 – I am fair among flowers – Color: Purple – Class: Peasant – Letter: H – Meaning: Being held back for a period of time – Hawthorn – Like willows, hawthorns have many species in Europe, and they are not always easy to tell apart. All are thorny shrubs in the Rose family (Rosaceae), and most have whitish or pinkish flowers. The common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) and midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata (Poiret) DC.) are both widespread. They are common in abandoned fields and along the edges of forests. Both are cultivated in North America, as are several native and Asiatic hawthorns. Curtis Clark

Huathe – Hawthorne Ogam letter correspondences
Month: April
Color: Purple
Class: Peasant
Letter: H
Meaning: Being held back for a period of time

to study this month – Ur – Heather and Mistletoe Ogam letter correspondences
Month: None
Color: Purple
Class: Heather is Peasant; Mistletoe is Chieftain
Letter: U
Meaning: Healing and development on the spiritual level.


Tides for Alsea Bay

Day        High      Tide  Height   Sunrise    Moon  Time      % Moon
~            /Low      Time     Feet   Sunset                                    Visible
Tu  11    High  12:38 AM     7.7   5:53 AM    Rise  6:02 AM      0
~    11      Low   7:27 AM    -0.4   8:33 PM     Set  8:43 PM
~    11     High   1:46 PM     6.3
~    11      Low   7:15 PM     2.3


Affirmation/Thought for the Day – When you love yourself, others will do the same.


Journal Prompt – Favorites – Who are your favorite writers?



~   Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. ~ William Arthur Ward
~   A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. – Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit
~   It’s never so bad that it can’t get good. – Alan Cohen
~   … for the benefit of the blockheads opposite … – Paul Keating

My lilac trees are old and tall;
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roofs and streets, to find the bees. – Louise Driscoll (1875–1957)


Magick –

What Can and Can’t Be FixedBy Starhawk | Published: March 29, 2011

I swore off blogging until my book was done. Which was kind of a shame, because so much has happened in the last two months—social and geological earthquakes, political and real tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns—things about which I have much to say.  But I exerted discipline.  Dial 1-800-blognomore and hear a cheery recording reminding you of why you should pay some attention to your family and your day job.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t swear off vehicular breakdown. So, yesterday, as I took a little break from the fussy work of trying to make sure all the footnotes were correctly numbered (so challenging when you keep moving sections around) my neighbor Jim came over to help me move a big trailer out of its resting place, so that the guys who are moving on could move out their dead truck.  Or rather, before Jim came over he called me to say his battery was dead, so I hopped into the truck and went over to give him a jumpstart.  Then we headed up to the old cabin on the ridge on my land, so we could dig out the fifth wheel hitch.  This is a big double A-frame of metal that fits on rails on the truck-bed and in held by big slide-in bolts with pins in the end.  After moving about ten big hog panels we dug out the hitch and successfully attached it.  Then Jim noticed a belt was hanging down from the front of my truck.

I had actually noticed that belt the night before, and then forgotten about it when I rushed off to give him a jumpstart.

Now, my inclination was, let’s tuck it out of the way, move the trailer and then worry about it.  After all, the truck was running.

But Jim, though he has dreadlocks and worries about global conspiracies, along with being one of the sweetest guys in the known universe has a more orderly mind.  He wanted to look under the hood.  Me, I try at all costs to avoid looking under the hood.  I once got my finger caught in the hood of my Toyota, back in about 1971 when I was trying to be a good feminist and learn all the guy things even though they make your hands greasy, and the car had stalled on the freeway out in Pasadena and I was stuck there by the side of the road for over an hour trying to attract someone’s attention one-handed while tethered to the front of the car, and trying not to think about how my mother always told me never to get out of the car in the first place because predatory rapists prowl the freeway looking for hapless women victims with car troubles.

Jim ascertained that the belt was the fan belt.  He thought pinning it up and ignoring the problem—my proposed solution—was probably a Bad Idea.  I was willing to give up using the fan—but he said it ran a couple of other vital things, like the generator and the water pump.  But mostly, in spite of the fact that we were on top of a bare hill in the pouring, freezing rain, he was engrossed in the puzzle of how to put the belt back on.  We spent a happy quarter of an hour—more happy for him because he had rain pants on while I was getting soaking wet—trying to loop it this way and loop it that way until finally Jim admitted that the problem was beyond him.

So we went and got Jay.  Jay lives in the little A-frame house further down the ridge and is known in these parts for his consummate skill with engines.  Jay and his partner Judy were cozy by the fire when we came in, dripping, and Jim opened the conversation by merely asking for advice.  But after a moment Jay, the Mother Teresa of auto repair, said, “I’ll get my jacket and follow you up.”

Here’s where I made one of my two Helpful Contributions.  When Jay asked if we needed a light for the engine, I said, “I don’t have much in the way of tools.”  “I’ll get my trouble kit,” he said.

We drove back up the hill, and he and Jim opened the hood again, and peered happily in.  The gusts of cold rain had turned to a steady, driving sleet and my jeans were soaked through, but if the Selfless Saints of truck repair are staring at your engine, you kind of feel like you should stay with them for moral support, even though you know absolutely nothing about what they’re doing.

But here’s where I made my second vital contribution—I noticed a sticker on the bar of the hood thingy that had a diagram on it of how the belt was supposed to go.  Oh blessed people in the Dodge factory!  Some brilliant person, a veteran, perhaps, of his or her own truck breakdowns, had realized that someday, someone might be stuck on a freezing hillside in the rain with a fan belt that had popped off, looking for guidance, and here it was, just where it was needed!

Then I stood, for nearly an hour, getting colder and colder, watching Guys being Guys, oblivious to cold and rain, happily engrossed in the puzzle, saying things like, “The stop on the automatic adjuster appears to be extended to the maximum” and “That pin needs to slot into that hole there,” and “The rotor appears to be too high in relation to the pendulum”. Jim lay under the truck on the cold ground, Jay pulled out wrenches and unbolted vital parts of the engine and I smiled and nodded and murmured encouraging things while thinking about hypothermia.

Did I mention that I have The Cold—you know, the one that everyone has that goes on for weeks?  It’s an admirable cold in many ways, one that should be an inspiration to us all, a sort of Republican cold for even when it’s defeated and discredited it doesn’t quit, but soldiers on, creating low-level misery and scheming for a comeback.

Cold, wind, and sleet did not daunt Jim and Jay, but finally I gave up, begged off and went down to Luan’s yurt below the cabin to stand shivering by the woodstove and drink hot tea.  I was feeling rather dismal, because it seemed that at best, I’d be spending the next day, after finishing my book, hopefully—driving around the county trying to get truck parts, instead of having a well-deserved day off.

But finally I had thawed enough to trudge back up the hill.  Much to my surprise, I was greeted by happy smiles from Jay and Jim.  They had discovered the underlying cause of the belt problem—and it wasn’t, after all, a stretched-out belt or a shot tensioner, but apparently the whole thing had been installed wrong to begin with.  It was like CSI—Truck Repair.  Now we could go after the criminal who had caused the problem, maybe years before.  Meanwhile, they’d reinstalled it and the truck was running fine.  Jay even took the time to show me what to look for when I open the hood to check the oil—which I do force myself to do periodically—so I could tell if the fan belt was at the right tension and if it had stretched enough to need replacing.  I’ve noticed this before—that guys who are good with engines like to explain things to you, and although, as I’ve noted, I know next to nothing about auto repair the one or two things I do know have all been shown to me by helpful guys in the pouring rain.  Given enough time, and the increase in precipitation predicted to follow global warming, probably even I could learn to do a tune-up.

The sun came out, as if to celebrate our victory, and pledging my undying devotion to Jay, Jim and I went on to move the trailer.

But reflecting on these events, it occurred to me that the guys and I live in different realities.  Jim and Jay, attuned to machines, believe that there are logical causes for things and that they can find those causes and fix things.

I, on the other hand, believe that there are mysterious forces at work beyond my comprehension, that machines are inhabited by evil or beneficent spirits that need to be placated, and that no matter how well you build something, it will inevitably break down.

I’m thinking about that as I read posts about the ongoing melt-downs at Fukushima in Japan and as my friends organize to protest the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s application for relicensing.  Thirty years ago, we did our best to prevent Diablo from going online.  We blockaded the plant for nearly a month, and there were five thousand arrests, one of the largest nonviolent direct actions of its kind.  I got arrested twice—and formed some life-long friendships, learned a whole new style of directly democratic organizing, and became a dedicated anti-nuclear activist.  Many of the people up here in these hills took part in that blockade, or the ones that followed against nuclear weapons at the Livermore Weapons Lab or Vandenberg Airforce Base.

At the end of the blockade, an engineer who had worked on the twin plants came out with a revelation—the two plants were mirror images of one another, and at some point, blueprints had gotten mixed up and parts of each had been built backwards.

That is just the sort of thing I would do if I were building nuclear power plants, which thank the Goddess I am not!  It took them another four years to straighten the mess out.  But the plant did finally go online, although our sustained opposition to nuclear power prevented another fifty plants from being built in California.

The authorities assure us that Diablo is safe, although it is built on an earthquake fault, on the ocean like Fukushima.  PG & E, our utility company—the ones with the exploding gas pipes in San Bruno—swears it is safe.  Of course, it turns out that some key safety systems have not actually been working for about a year and half, but no one noticed.  It seems that they, like me, avoid looking under the hood.

Plants are built by guys—and probably now some gals—who are good with machines.  They believe the world is logical, orderly and they have a handle on it.  They believe that they are in control.

And no one can deny that their picture of reality is correct.  It works.  It gets the truck fixed.

And yet, my view of reality is real, too.  There are forces out there beyond our control.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, disasters—mysterious intersections of causality and sheer dumb luck, or lack of it.  I may now know how to check the tension on my fan belt, but that doesn’t mean I’ll remember to do it.  We may have every backup system in the world in place, but that doesn’t mean that technicians will maintain them or that they won’t all fail, one after another, when Mother Nature unleashes the Big One, as surely in time she will.

Without the water pump, my truck’s engine could seize, and that would be a disaster, for the vehicle, potentially for me or a few others.  But a nuclear power plant, without its pump—we’re talking about hundreds of millions of people affected, land made uninhabitable, a disaster that goes on for ten thousand years.

No one, no technician with an orderly mind, is ever going to convince me that’s safe.  It’s not safe.  By its inherent nature and the way the universe works, it cannot be made safe.  To think it can is the ultimate hubris.  Even now, there may be particles of poison from Japan in that driving rain.

Stop building them.  Shut them down.  Do not, under any circumstances, extend the licensing of ‘diablo Canyon: an aging plant on an earthquake fault run by a company with a horrific safety record.  Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming—its a new level of disaster waiting to happen.

Take the billions Obama wants to put into nukes and build new wind generators and solar panels and hire kids from the inner city to install them.  Use that research money to solve any problems with renewables—and I guarantee we’ll have a renaissance of clean, abundant energy that can bring us all healthful and fulfilled lives without burning coal, fossil fuels, or living with the shadow of nuclear wasteland hovering.

I am so grateful to Jim and Jay, and all the guys and gals who come out in the freezing rain to fix things.  To those brave technicians risking cancer and horrific deaths to cool the nuclear monster.  To all who labor to repair the world’s ills.

But some things can’t be fixed.

Posted in life on the ranch | Tagged Diablo Canyon, Fukushims, nuclear power | 1 Comment

On Egypt

By Starhawk | Published: February 12, 2011

Just over a year ago, I was in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, demonstrating with other members of the Gaza Freedom March, trying without success to pressure the Mubarak’s government to let us continue on our humanitarian peace mission to Gaza.  In these last weeks, I’ve often thought about that day on the square—the heady few moments when we blocked traffic, the adrenaline as the police rushed in to beat us back, the long, grueling day on the edge of the square.  We took those risks knowing we had some measure of protection, as internationals, from the torture, imprisonment and potential loss of life faced by our Egyptian friends should they take the same kinds of actions.

As I’ve followed reports of the protests, I’ve been awed by the spirit, the courage and the stamina of all the people who have come out to take those risks.  Yesterday, Mubarak finally yielded to the people’s will, and stepped down.

Moments of political euphoria don’t come often in a lifetime, and when they do, they are sweet.  I wish I could have been back in Tahrir Square to share that celebration, and to honor the sacrifices that so many have made.

As the drama has unfolded, I’ve been working on a book about power and group process in collaborative groups—with a deadline so tight that, with all my other commitments, it leaves little time for blogging.  I’ve been writing this book because I believe we are entering a new era in which the top-down organizations of governments, corporations and military are more and more being challenged by emergent, collaborative and co-creative movements without traditional lines of authority.  I’ve been working in those kinds of groups for thirty years, and believe I know something of their strengths and pitfalls—if only through the many, many mistakes I’ve made.

So I’ve found the unfolding events in Egypt fascinating and affirming—to see a loosely organized movement led by young people rise up, almost without warning, and sweep away the tight control of dictatorship.  Because the movement had no Great Leader nor central control, the government had no one whose death or imprisonment could stop the uprising.  Because people were voluntarily choosing to participate, they took enormous risks and suffered hardships without faltering.  Because they remained committed to nonviolence, they were able to deter the army from extreme reprisals and win over world public opinion.

I wish I knew more about how they made decisions on Tahrir Square, how they communicated in the absence of the internet and those cell-phones we’d come to depend on.  I hope that in succeeding days, we’ll hear more reports from inside the protestors’ camps.  I have a deep, professional curiosity about what kind of meetings they had, and how they were facilitated.

And I know that the work of transformation is not done, by any means.  Amorphous, emergent movements can be unstoppable—but building a new structure requires some sort of organization.  Structures can be washed away by the tides of spontaneous outrage, but to govern a country over time, new structures must be built on a new foundation.  The Egyptian people will continue to need our support to make sure the transition is a real one, not just a removal of one face while the infrastructure of oppression remains.

In the meantime, we have much to learn from their experience, and that of the Tunisians and all the other movements arising in the Middle East.  Let us all savor this sweet moment, with gratitude to those who bravery, sacrifices and unflagging determination have challenged repression and brought liberation.

Posted in Gaza, political activism | 12 Comments

Save Tasmania’s Ancient Forests!

By Starhawk | Published: December 12, 2010

Back in 2004, I had the wonderful privilege of visiting Tasmania for just a few tantalizing days.  Activist and forest defender Adam Burling, my host, took me out into the spectacular old growth Eucalyptus forests, magical places of immense trees with an understory of giant ferns.  Strange animals that live nowhere else on earth haunt the underbrush, and the silence is primeval.

Permaculture was born in these forests, back in the 1970s when David Holmgren and Bill Mollison were wandering through them, studying their wildlife and biology.  They began asking  “Why can’t we grow food in systems that maintain themselves as forests do?”  You can see some shots of the forest that I took in our new documentary, Permaculture: The Growing Edge, directed by Donna Read and me and available at  www.belili.org .

Sadly, Tasmania’s forests are under attack, like old growth forests in so many places.  Although a new forest conservation agreement has been made on paper, roads are still being cut and ancient trees are still falling.

Tasmanian environmental groups are calling for an international day of action on December 14/15 to pressure the Australian Government to enforce a moratorium on logging the old growth.  In Australia and New Zealand, there will be banner hangs and other actions.  If you’re somewhere else, you can join this effort, as I have, by writing to Tasmania’s Premiere David Bartlett and Austrailia’s Prime Minister Jullia Gillard to tell them that the world can’t wait to see these priceless forests preserved.

You can also join in a night of linked prayer and ritual, on the 14th in the US and Europe, the 15th in Australia.  Adam suggests the following intention and imagery:

“FOCUS- to ensure the balance flows towards the protection of the forests and healing for those who feel disenfranchised by the now massive groundswell to protect the forest; the groundswell that has taken many years of hard work by lots of people to achieve. We can use the image of the green wave comming in and healing the land and all who have been involved in making this change. A green wave for the old growth forests of Tasmania and the species they harbour.”

Magic and action together make a powerful union!

Here’s the links—it’s easy to write the letters!  Koala bears and Tasmanian devils will thank you!  (Okay, my Tasmanian friends inform me that there are no koala bears in Tasmania.  But I’m sure they, wherever they are, as forest dwellers, would support this action in solidarity with their Tasmanian counterparts and thank you, nonetheless!)



And here’s some more details on the magical activism–from Adam and Australia Reclaiming:

The Australian Reclaiming Community invites you to join us in a national magickal action as part of the International day of Action for Tasmania’s Forests. Help us weave a spell to heal and maintain the ecological integrity of Tasmania’s wonderful forests. At 6:30pm on Wednesday 15th December 2010, people around Australia will create their own personal and group rituals to help weave a spell for the forests of Tasmania. What to do: Ground and create sacred space, then use drumming, singing, chanting, etc, to raise energy to send out as part of this national spell.  The spell’s intention is to ‘heal and maintain the ecological integrity of Tasmania’s forests’.  We will use the image of a ‘Green Wave’ rising up from the ocean, and from underground, surrounding Tasmania (and the rest of Australia) and spreading a deep love for the forests, and an urge to protect their ecological integrity, into the hearts and minds of all Australians. At the peak of your spell, imagine this green wave of love for the forests spreading throughout the land – as you release the energy you have raised. Then uncast your Circle and ground, when you have finished. Feel free to use any song/chant of your choice for the ritual.
I have found an appropriate song by Dana Lyons (of ‘Cows With Guns’ fame) – that has lyrics that could possibly be worked into the ritual, if anyone is interested. It goes like this: Prayer For This Land
by Dana Lyons Won’t you please hear my prayer for this land
Won’t you please hear my prayer for this land
And you know that I’m ready to do my part
I’m just standing by waiting for that wave to start Only the moon can turn the tide
Only the moon can turn the tide
So I kneel and I pray at the ocean side
And I watch for that wave, that great green wave to rise There’s a sparkle of hope in every eye
There’s a sparkle of hope in every eye
And when those eyes sparkle at the same time
That’s the time when that wave, that wave of love will rise. Thank you for your support
SunBird P.S. Below is the request for assistance from Adam Burling which prompted this national event.  Please take the time to check out the links that Adam has sent through. hi all, I’m passing this on in the hope of gaining extra support for the ancient
forests of the isle of Tasmania. This beautiful southern forested
island with its rare creatures, like the Tasmanian Devil and the giant
Wedge-tailed Eagle, has been the subject of widespread clearcut
logging for decades. The logging industry has sued activists,
vigilante logger groups have assaulted protesters, firebombed cars and
threatened to rape tree-sitters. We are at another cross roads now with the potential to end the
destruction of our wildlands. The loggers are in financial crisis and
there is a new political structure with The Green party holding strong
influence over decisions (Tasmania has Australia’s first Green
ministers in a minority govt). There is a massive public groundswell
for protection of these giant trees, wild rivers and prehistoric fern
glades. But the loggers want it all, public subsidies and continued
trashing of the forests. We need you help now with this International
Day of Action on Dec 15th. Already we have people from 20 countries
supporting us. Please help, you can send an email of support through
http://www.nativeforest.net, organise your own action or do some
magical support for the forests and the people that work for them. You can also join the facebook group and help spread the word:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136438633077930 for the forests,

Posted in Paganism/earth-based spirituality, earth-based spirituality, magical activism, permaculture, political activism, sustainability | Tagged Tasmania, Tasmania Old Growth Forests | 1 Comment

A Recipe for Diversity–or, A Bunch of Diverse Things and a Recipe!

By Starhawk | Published: November 26, 2010

So it’s been a rather intense little period of time, this last month and a half.  I’m going to post some pictures and hit some of the highlights…

–We held our 31st anniversary Spiral Dance ritual for Samhain/Halloween.  It was a powerful and beautiful night, with an amazing spiral and a strong cone of power.  One of the highlights for me was our group of teen earth magic-makers, who danced the activist Goddess.  Even in rehearsal, when they all marched in with signs and puppets, it brought tears to my eyes.

Tristan Anderson came to the dance.  Tristan is an old and dear friend who has been part of building the north altar for many years.  In April of 2009 he was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister by an Israeli soldier as he participated in a peaceful demonstration in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.  Last year we dedicated healing energy to him—this year, he is finally home, still gravely injured but fighting as hard for his own recovery as he’s fought for justice for so many years.  The young folks were dancing with shining faces, so filled with energy and fervor, just beginning their own activist journeys.  I’m proud of them.  I’m glad to know there’s a new generation willing to take up the causes I’ve worked for and fought for—and enraged that they should have to fight battles all over again we though were won, that all our struffles and sacrifices haven’t freed them to simply live and enjoy a free, secure, thriving world.  I’m afraid of the price some of them may be called to pay.   But I know that they are strong and loving and creative and vibrant, and will always have the support of a proud and loving community behind them.

So, from the Spiral Dance we jumped into the launch of our new documentary, Permaculture: The Growing Edge, made by me and my dear friend Donna Read who also directed Goddess Remembered, Burning Times and Full Circle. You can see the trailer on our website, www.belili.org.  (And order the film, or course—also our earlier documentary on archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, Signs Out of Time.) The launch meant a wild flurry of writing things like press releases and event announcements and website copy and I went through one of those periods where you’re constantly sending things out and then realizing you got some important detail wrong.  Nonetheless, we had a lovely event and showed the film to great enthusiasm and outright cheers for the chard and collard greens!

And along with those two big events, I started teaching our long-term training program in Bayview Hunters Point, teaching permaculture design and environmental leadership to both garden coordinators and young adults who live in public housing in San Francisco’s poorest neighborhood.  That’s my long term project for this year, and it’s exciting and enormously challenging.  Exciting because if permaculture and its approach to ecological design are going to really transform the world, we need to bring them into the communities that have the greatest needs and fewest resources.  Bayview Hunters Point is a little corner of San Francisco that is amazingly isolated and insular.  It’s predominantly African-American, and originally many people moved up from the south to work in the naval shipyard.  When that closed down in the early ‘eighties, crack, drugs and gangs moved in.  The navy left a toxic residue—the shipyard is a superfund site and the neighborhood has an infant mortality rate on a par with Bulgaria.  Like many inner city areas, it has lots of liquor stores and few if any places to buy fresh food, fruits or vegetables.

So if we can bring a permaculture vision to the Bayview, we will be reaching far beyond the usual suspects—and to do that, we’ll learn a lot about how to address the real and pressing needs of the inner city.  We have a great advantage in working with our partner organization, Hunters Point Family, which is deeply rooted in the community.  Hunters Point Family runs youth development programs, including violence prevention and job training, and our relationship has built slowly over time.  Lena Miller, who directs the organization, is a true visionary who wants to make the Bayview “the green jewel in the crown of the Emerald City.”

It might be worth a paragraph or two of reflection on how Earth Activist Training gained the trust that allows us to work in this community.  I’ve seen political and social movements struggle for decades with the challenges of working across barriers of race and class—and had my own fair share of personal struggles.  But really, it’s pretty simple.  Or maybe it just seems that way to me now.  Permaculture is all about principles—you learn what they are and then apply them.  Here’s some of my personal principles of diversity work:

1.  Be comfortable with who you are.  Okay, I know this alone can take some of us a lifetime, but as a start, learn your history, take pride in it, don’t try to be some other color or culture or class.  Let go of the white guilt or the male guilt or the class guilt.  You didn’t create those systems of oppression, and while they might offer you certain benefits they also cost you.  So just take responsibility for changing them.  You, as who you are, have something unique to offer.

2.  Be of service.  Watch, look and listen—find out what the community’s aims and challenges and struggles are, and look for ways you can be of service.  If you have something to offer—make it known, but wait to be invited in.  If you’re not invited, you can’t just barge in and start doing stuff, however beneficial it might seem to you.  Earth Activist Training can only do the work we’re doing in the Bayview because we were invited and have a partner in the community.  If you are invited, show up and keep showing up.  Share skills, resources, information and opportunities.

3.  Realize that trust must be earned, and that may take time.  Sure, it’s painful if people don’t instantly like and trust you because you are so nice and sweet and good, but when people have had a history of being exploited and ripped off by other people who look like you, they may not take to you instantly.  Don’t take it personally, it’s not about you.  Be comfortable with who you are, be of service and over time you will win that trust.  And it will mean a lot more when you do.

4.  When you’re in a different culture, norms and values may be different.  You might not even realize what your own assumptions are until someone steps all over them.  I remember feeling excruciatingly uncomfortable visiting a Sami friend in the north of Norway.  I kept trying to make dinner conversation and everything I said dropped into a void of silence.  I had just about decided they all hated me, when it occurred to me to ask my friend, “Ellen-Marit, is it like a Sami thing that you don’t talk during meals?”   “Why would we talk?” she asked.  “We’re eating!”  Watch, look and listen.  Expect to learn a lot!

5.  Commit to the children.  Years ago when I was perplexed about issues of cultural appropriation, I went and meditated and asked for guidance from the ancestors.  The ancestors said, “We don’t really give a damn who your ancestors were.  We care about what you’re doing for the children.”  I would define cultural appropriation as “Taking the gifts of the ancestors without a commitment to their descendents.”  So—be comfortable with who you are, don’t lay claim to knowledge or spiritual teachings or entitlements you haven’t earned, and then relax, enjoy, and get on with the work that will benefit the generations to come.

And now, as a thank you for all the generous support we have received, and because so many people on Facebook requested it, I’m going to post here my Thanksgiving Sour Cream Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe:

(I got this recipe from a book called The Political Palate put out by a women’s collective in Bridgeport, Connecticut who ran a restaurant called Bloodroot back in the ‘eighties.  I don’t know if it’s still there.  This recipe is from their 1980 edition, when the political part of the palate was all about how fat is a feminist issue and cream is really good for you!  Later they became vegans but their pie recipe lives on in my adaptation and blood cholesterol (okay, it’s high—but I had my arteries scanned and they are as clear and unclogged as any arteries of a gal my age can be!  So there!)  Here’s how I do it:

  • 1 large organic sugar pie pumpkin.
  • (Or one sixteen oz. can of organic pumpkin).
  • 1 cup sour cream.
  • Three eggs.
  • ½ cup sugar (I use the groovy, organic, unprocessed kind like demerara sugar or rapidura.  But if you can’t get it, bless yourself and say three times, “It’s the holidays!”)  Plus 1/4 cup extra for egg whites.
  • 1 t. cinnamon (good for your blood pressure and cholesterol, helps counteract the cream.)
  • ½ t. ginger.  (Good for stomach ailments and nausea.)
  • ¼ t. nutmeg.  (Do not, under any circumstances, succumb to the temptation to eat half a cup of it and see if you can get high.  You can, but it’s no fun, and you won’t be able to think straight for days, and you will flunk your final exams and it will be years before you can eat a pumpkin pie again.  Don’t ask how I know this.)
  • 1/8 t. salt.
  • 1 cup sour cream.  (Don’t get the low fat stuff—yecch!  Why adulterate perfectly good cream by trying to take the fat out of it—the flavor’s in the fat.  Read Nourishing Traditions and you will find out that butter and cream are indeed actually good for you.  Only if you’re a devout vegan you can substitute some veganish form of this.)

For topping:  1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, plus 1 1/2T sugar and 1/2 t. vanilla.

  1. Cut up the pumpkin, scrape out the seeds and steam it until soft. (How long would that be?  What, am I Julia Child?  However long it takes, something between half an hour and an hour and a half.  If that’s too time-consuming, use the canned stuff.)  Puree it in a food processor until it’s soft and smooth.  If necessary, add just a touch of water.  Measure out a cup and half of pumpkin puree.
  2. Separate the eggs.  Set the whites aside, and add the yolks, lightly beaten, to the pumpkin.
  3. Add the spices, salt and sour cream and beat together until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Put the mixture in a saucepan and cook gently on the stove until it thickens.
  5. Beat the egg whites into peaks that are stiff but not dry, adding ¼ cup of sugar.  Egg whites beat up best when they are at room temperature.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture.
  7. Pour it into an unbaked, 9 inch pie shell.  (I ladle it in with a soup ladle.)
  8. Back at 375 degrees, 40-45 minutes until firm and brown.  Test with a toothpick or knife—push it in and it should come out clear.
  9. Whip 1 ½ cups of cream until stiff and firm, adding 1 ½ T of sugar and ½ t. vanilla.  Top the pie with the cream and serve.   Mmmmm!  Since you’re going to all this trouble, I’d double the recipe and make two pies.  Freeze one and you’ll have it ready to bring to the next potluck!
  10. Enjoy!

Thank you  Betsy Beaven, Noel Gordano, Selma Miriam and Pat Shea for the original recipe and many years of pie!

Posted in Bayview Hunters Point, Food and recipes, Paganism/earth-based spirituality, gardens, permaculture, social justice, sustainability | Tagged food security, gardens, Pagan, permaculture, pumpkin pie, recipes, social justice, Spiral Dance, sustainability, urban gardens | 7 Comments


Silliness – Please Come Out and Give Yourself Up – Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, “Please come out and give yourself up.”

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