*~* Witchcraft and Wicca Forum *~* EUTM


Creating a Place-Based Practice

Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Xiao Rong » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:21 pm

I was excited to read this post about creating a place-based practice, since that's been something I've been thinking a lot about myself:

a dissatisfaction with the ‘traditional’ seasonal wheel that clearly did not sync with our lived (place-based) experience, a deep desire to meet and work with the Powers of our specific Place, and a willingness (even desire) to listen for or create new tools and practices that matched our experiential discoveries. We were, in a real sense, willing to craft a Place-based cultus ...

Our group identified a few areas of import, ones we felt were vital to our work. The first was developing, or honing, our observation skills, seeing again the landscape around us–which for most of us is urban–and looking with new eyes. Many committed to taking notes of significant occurrence, i.e., the cycle of plants, bird calls and flight patterns, celestial positions, etc. The second was a willingness and ability to use our witchcraft tools–or the tools of mindfulness and meditation–to facilitate deep listening, and a form of possession with/of the living land around us and the Powers we may encounter ... Since the practices most of us had been taught were built on a largely European model, we surmised that energies/beings/Powers/Persons we encounter in North America–a continent away from the Euro-centric myths we all know–and specially central Texas, could feel different, express themselves differently, or generally interact with our energies in ways unique and different.


This post really resonated with me because I have always hoped that my spiritual practice would give me the capacity to connect with my home. So I thought I'd start this thread so we can all share our ideas on how we adapt our practice to work with our local spirits, geography, flora, fauna, etc.

I'll start: One of the things I did when I was still a little budding pagan was to walk around the area around my home (a.k.a. my college campus, since I was still living in a dorm at the time) and start learning how to identify the local weeds that grew on the sidewalks. I was amazed to discover all the medicinal and culinary uses of these random plants that I had never noticed before! That was the first several pages of my BoS.

Another adaptation I've made was that in my practice, I've changed the cardinal directions and their elemental associations such that East is now Water, since I have always lived my life next to the Atlantic Ocean (it follows that Air is North, Earth is South, and West is Fire - just makes sense in my head).

How about you?
~ Xiao Rong ~ 小蓉 ~ Little Lotus ~
User avatar
Xiao Rong
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3456
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am
Location: New England
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby loona wynd » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:31 pm

My elemental associations with the seasons are based entirely on where I live and how I experience the fullness of the element. Each element rules a season and has seasonal and elemental Gods that rule it. They also have specific roles they fill. These views and deities arose out of a combination of your normal sabbat lore and my seasonal views and experiences with the land I live on.

Right now for example we are in winter which is normally associated with the earth. I associate winter with water and reflection. Where I live we encounter water in liquid, solid, and mush forms all winter as well as seeing a cloud and occasionally steam or fog. This for me is why winter is water. The water sabbats are the winter solstice and Imbolc which relate to underworld reflection and growth in my path.

Spring then is the earth element. Here we grow and plant seeds of beginning. The earth for me is foundations, strengths, renewal, and life. This is why fertility rites are performed here as well. This is growth and it is the real source of life. The sabbats here are Ostara and Beltane. One is about renewal and rebirth and growth while the other is about fertility. These are some of the traits of this element,

Summer is fire. Fire is rules by passion. In the summer the sun is at its height. The world is abundant with growth. A lot of time is spent playing and enjoying. Its more of a relaxed time. Here we have camp fires and short warm nights. The sun is strong enough that the moon can be enjoyed outside without blankets in some area. The sabbats here are Litha and Lammas.

Finally the fall is the season of air. Here we typically have a lot of long windy gray days. The winds blow the changes and we know that soon the cold will settle in. Its time to plan for the winter and gather your harvests for the year. Its time to set aside what you need for the new year as well. Its preparation and planning for the winter when we can reflect on what we did that year and work to be stronger and better in the next year. The sabbats here are Mabon and Samhain.

The elemental directions in my circle are also some what land based. I use the east for Fire as the sun rises in the east. This still keeps water in the west. Earth remains in the north for me. North of me there is a lot of wilderness and mountains which are the realm of the element earth. South then is air. All of the storms and weather we get here is based on winds blown from the south so the air currents that cause snow here are from the south.

I can also elaborate on a view of a land based ancestral practice if you would be interested in that. However I figured I gave you a lot of information there about the path I have been developing over the years. Feel free to ask me any questions about the God or Goddess of the season or anything else in that matter related to what I've said. I'll answer to the best of my abilities.
User avatar
loona wynd
Banned Member
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:27 pm
Location: Bath Maine
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Violet » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:21 pm

Xiao Rong wrote:This post really resonated with me because I have always hoped that my spiritual practice would give me the capacity to connect with my home. So I thought I'd start this thread so we can all share our ideas on how we adapt our practice to work with our local spirits, geography, flora, fauna, etc.

I'll start: One of the things I did when I was still a little budding pagan was to walk around the area around my home (a.k.a. my college campus, since I was still living in a dorm at the time) and start learning how to identify the local weeds that grew on the sidewalks. I was amazed to discover all the medicinal and culinary uses of these random plants that I had never noticed before! That was the first several pages of my BoS.

Another adaptation I've made was that in my practice, I've changed the cardinal directions and their elemental associations such that East is now Water, since I have always lived my life next to the Atlantic Ocean (it follows that Air is North, Earth is South, and West is Fire - just makes sense in my head).

How about you?


This is a topic that's occurred to me before. I wish I would put the effort in to learn my local plants -- that's a really impressive endeavor, Xiao. I am always reading pagan books and mentally trying to "lift" off the themes that I can supply to my personal surroundings and life patterns. So much has changed -- there are Wiccans in North America now, and some things about the Wheel of the Year aren't relatable for some of our lifestyles (slaughtering-animal-time vs. being vegetarian, etc.) but books about urban paganism and cyber paganism don't always hit the mark for me.

I feel, as you express it, that it's really an individual choice to make the adaptation that feels right for you, and that's a choice that brings you into more intimate connection with the Earth Mother.

Driving my recycling bin down to the city landfill may be the kindest thing I do for the Earth each week. I have to put some consciousness around it to actually do it, because it isn't just a practical action, it's a spiritual one. If I get lazy and don't do it, then I start throwing my recyclables in the garbage. Perhaps pagans have always brought spiritual meaning to these practical actions to strengthen their bond with the Earth, and that's more to the point than directives that don't make sense for some of us.
User avatar
Violet
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:41 pm
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Pinkpower_80 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:32 pm

I know this is an older thread, but I just have to post here. :fairy: This resonates with me on so many levels. Xiao, like you, I live on the East Coast too. I have a hard time associating the actual elemental directions with what is in most books. I did not realize I could change what they mean to me. The East has always been water in my mind, because of the Atlantic Ocean. West is Earth to me because of all the beautiful mountains directly to my west. Also, in my head, Air is North and Fire is South. I associate fire as South probably because of the warmer climates, and Air as North because our cooler weather usually comes from the North.

I am so happy to find out that I can practice this way. I am going to do more research and possibly make some changes in my BoS! Thank you so much for this. :fairy:
User avatar
Pinkpower_80
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:36 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Xiao Rong » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:45 pm

Glad you liked it, Pink! I'm sure there's much more that could be done to create a place-based practice, such as learning what kind of gemstones, flora, and fauna are common in the area, getting in touch with nature spirits of the area, etc. Would love to hear more about how you implement your place-based practice!
~ Xiao Rong ~ 小蓉 ~ Little Lotus ~
User avatar
Xiao Rong
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3456
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am
Location: New England
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Pinkpower_80 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:14 pm

Thanks Xiao! I am trying to learn more about the different types of flora are around here. There are so many different types just in my yard & woods. I harvest tons of plantain & dandelion from my yard for various purposes. As far as gemstones, I usually find quartz out here nearly everytime I look at the ground. I love it! Wildlife also love my yard/woods. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, racoon, tons of birds, and even turtles. I love where I live, but we need a larger home so we will be moving soon. :( I even have muscadines & blackberry bushes that just grow wild.
User avatar
Pinkpower_80
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:36 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Siona » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:37 pm

Having a local practice is very important to me, as I think it tends to be for a lot of hedgewitches. I've kept the wheel of the year as a part of my practice through all other changes I've gone through over the years (but without the Wiccan mythos that often goes with it), just because it tends to fit so well with the natural cycles where I live, but I have made some changes to get it to fit better. Like, a lot of sources recommend decking out the Ostara altar with flowers and such, but there's usually still snow on the ground here at that time, so I found other ways to celebrate that made more sense with what was going on outside my door.

I've also spent a lot of time studying the plants in my area, what grows where and when, how to harvest it, and so on, as well as watching the local wildlife. One thing I suggest when building a local practice is to actually sit and watch animals, and see how plants grow, and their role in the local system, and see what speaks to you, and what symbolism you see, rather than just always going by what a book has listed. You may be surprised at what a plant tells you about itself in the context of where you actually are, and how that can fit into your practice. (Medicinal use is something else of course, I don't recommend having a guess at that sort of thing. ;)) A benefit of incorporating local plants is being able to sit with them and observe them, and work ritual right there with them without necessarily having to harvest the plant itself.

That sort of goes into working with local spirits. It's amazing how diverse even just a square mile can be in some locations. I live in a rural area, so there's plenty of woods near by, but there's also a marshy area, a meadow in the woods, lots of hedges, a corn field, a small stream, and a bridge, and each area has a different feel to it, different spirits. It's been very rewarding and satisfying to get to know the plants, animals, and spirits that are right outside my home.
I sing of you, blessed, night-winged Dream, Messenger of things to come, greatest prophet to mortals, in the quiet of sweet sleep you come silently and speak to the soul.
User avatar
Siona
 
Posts: 700
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:54 pm
Location: NH, USA
Gender: Non-binary

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Shub Niggurath » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:03 am

Speaking of place-based practice, I'm trying to expand my knowledge about the ancient pagans from my area and finding ways to reconstruct their traditions and beliefs in my mind. It saddens me that our slavic indigenous faith is gone and "thanks" to christianisation there is barely any information about what our ancestors used to believe in. When christianity came here with their "holy mission" they made sure to burn and destroy everything related to slavic paganism, turned the deities into demons or didn't mention them at all in their chronicles. Now, centuries later, all we have left are some doubtful mentions in a few chronicles, occassional archeological finds and ethnological reconstructions.

The province I'm living in for three years now happens to be one of the most important places in the history of local slavic paganism. There is a mountain, 25 miles away from my city, that used to be a powerful place of pagan solar cult - there are still some remains of ancient sculptures and a mysterious round ridge built of stones. Near the mountain there's an archeological park with settlement remains, multiple barrows and a magical well.
There's not much left but I'm going to visit all those places of slavic pagan cult and what remained of it this Super Moon, to honor my ancestors.

I find it very important to get to know as much as possible about our ancestors and what they believed in before christianity. Every area is unique, has its own beliefs and different focus. I think it's also important to get to know our unique local beliefs and mythology before starting to work with foreign pantheons and deities.

Slavic mythology.
Image
User avatar
Shub Niggurath
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:18 am
Location: Moon
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Xiao Rong » Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:35 pm

One thing I suggest when building a local practice is to actually sit and watch animals, and see how plants grow, and their role in the local system, and see what speaks to you, and what symbolism you see, rather than just always going by what a book has listed. You may be surprised at what a plant tells you about itself in the context of where you actually are, and how that can fit into your practice. (Medicinal use is something else of course, I don't recommend having a guess at that sort of thing. ;)) A benefit of incorporating local plants is being able to sit with them and observe them, and work ritual right there with them without necessarily having to harvest the plant itself.


That's a fantastic idea, Siona. I think it's especially true because even the same plant may have different meanings or characteristics depending on where you live geographically.

That sort of goes into working with local spirits. It's amazing how diverse even just a square mile can be in some locations. I live in a rural area, so there's plenty of woods near by, but there's also a marshy area, a meadow in the woods, lots of hedges, a corn field, a small stream, and a bridge, and each area has a different feel to it, different spirits. It's been very rewarding and satisfying to get to know the plants, animals, and spirits that are right outside my home.


That's so true! (and also where you live sounds quite beautiful). I especially love the idea of finding the sacred everywhere around us, even those places you wouldn't expect. I am of the opinion that if rivers and trees can have spirits, why not buildings or roads or city blocks for those who live in more urban places?

The province I'm living in for three years now happens to be one of the most important places in the history of local slavic paganism. There is a mountain, 25 miles away from my city, that used to be a powerful place of pagan solar cult - there are still some remains of ancient sculptures and a mysterious round ridge built of stones. Near the mountain there's an archeological park with settlement remains, multiple barrows and a magical well.
There's not much left but I'm going to visit all those places of slavic pagan cult and what remained of it this Super Moon, to honor my ancestors.

I find it very important to get to know as much as possible about our ancestors and what they believed in before christianity. Every area is unique, has its own beliefs and different focus. I think it's also important to get to know our unique local beliefs and mythology before starting to work with foreign pantheons and deities.


Wow. That must be amazing to live somewhere with such a strong tradition of paganism, and to be able to continue on the tradition yourself. I have always wondered what that must be like (my parents immigrated to America before I was born, so my ancestors do not live anywhere near where I live now), to have such strong ancestral roots like that.
~ Xiao Rong ~ 小蓉 ~ Little Lotus ~
User avatar
Xiao Rong
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3456
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am
Location: New England
Gender: Female

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby frozenlight » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:55 pm

Old thread I know, but reading it reminded me of a book, I think the name was "Pillars of the World" not sure at all :surprisedwitch:

In this book, the witches magickal dance on an area of land specific to their bloodline that followed the turning of the year would ensure the passageways to the fae world remained open.

Neat huh? Just sharing :lol: :flyingwitch:
Love and light,
FL
Does anyone know where I can score some chronic mugwort?
User avatar
frozenlight
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:52 am
Location: Nessie's Loch
Gender: Male

Re: Creating a Place-Based Practice

Postby Myrth » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:53 pm

I am not on ancestral grounds. Indeed we moved to this place just 19 months ago. But to me it is very important that my space in the world be tied closely to my practice. Place and practice are evolving together in my new environment. It is very different here than my last home, but I am adapting to it.

The previous place was in a forest. My practice was much more forest oriented. This place is in the middle of farm country, and so I am evolving my practice accordingly.
Myrth
User avatar
Myrth
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:39 pm
Location: USA
Gender: Female


Return to Advanced Witchcraft

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests