I’ve been talking to other presenters about the upcoming FREE virtual Pagan conference MoonCon 21, and it looks fantastic. It’s a 2-day conference online June 5th and 6th 2021. (Click on photo for larger image.)
On the day of the conference you can access the event via the Moon Books Facebook link:
I will be presenting at 10:00 am Eastern Time on Sunday, June 6th. The presentations will be live, enabling viewers to ask question in real time. The presentations will also be taped.
Here is a short description of my talk:
Staring Back at the Deer
The deer is an emissary from the world of fey, a shapeshifter who watches from a distant place and brings messages which touch our spirit. This session will examine deer from a material and cultural point of view, with the aim of understanding deer signs and courting the deer to enhance our magic.
decided I would do a vision quest. I would go out on my own, build a fire, and
instead of sleeping I would stay up all night and have visions.
chose the dark moon for my journey. I walked a few miles along a deserted
beach, with cliffs along the edge that had small caves and alcoves. When I
reached a sheltered place I pulled firewood out of my backpack, gathered
kindling along the beach, built a small fire, and in the approaching twilight
commenced scrying into the flames. I didn’t have any visions.
there a long time, getting up only to add more fuel. It began spitting rain and
I became chilled even with the fire. I felt silly, shivering all by myself in a
deserted place with a car less
five miles away and a warm bed within a few hours’ drive. “This is boring,” I
said to myself. I gathered my belongings and scattered the fire. As I stamped
out the last embers, I had a vision.
Chinese Buddha appeared, so rotund that I could not discern the outline of his
body within my psychic frame of reference. I intuitively understood that he
appeared to me thus to
that he was bigger than I could envision. The limits of his influence were
beyond the scope of my understanding.
Buddha raised his hand in a gesture of protection and the apparition dissolved.
I commenced my journey home.
trekked northward, the cliffs at my right and the ocean to my left, I
discovered it was not raining at all; the fine droplets were from an unusually
rough tide. How had I blotted out the sound of that surf? I realized that I was
now in danger of being cut off from dry land; cliffs to one side of me with
water butting up against them. Though it was very dark, I put my flashlight in my
backpack because I needed both hands to scramble over the slippery rocks. I
felt angry with myself for having bumbled into such a dangerous situation.
the cliffs ended and the beach opened up. I had made it. I unloaded my backpack
and retrieved my flashlight.
now only two miles from the car, two rather slow miles over sand or a short
brisk walk via a trail close by. The logical option was to take the trail, but
I felt an unexplained reluctance. It was one of those feelings that don’t make
sense at the time, but you understand later. I was sopping wet from struggling
with the surf, and I was rattled, so despite my misgivings, the trail won out.
practically ran along the narrow path, so I was very close before I saw her.
She was huge, the largest carnivorous beast I had confronted in the wild. She
appeared confused. She moved a few steps from the beam of my flashlight and
stood there, staring at me.
supposed to run away,” I said helpfully. The conventional wisdom was that
cougars would not attack humans unless cornered, though they might possibly eat
children. Many well- publicized deaths from unprovoked mountain lions have occurred
since, but this was the prevailing belief at the time. I was not reassured by
this while standing face-to-face with my cougar, however, because I am not a
large woman. I thought to myself, “I hope this cougar understands that I’m a
grown-up and not a child.”
you’re blocking the path,” I reasoned. “Turn and follow this other path, or run
back the way you came. I have to go in this direction because my car is there.”
mountain lion took a few steps forward, slightly left of my shoulder.
I give you the path,” I said quickly. “I’ll go another way.” I took a small
step backward and shone my flashlight directly in the animal’s eyes. I took
another slow step backward, and another, and another. I began shining the
flashlight away, then back in her eyes, then away, then back, rationalizing
this would interfere with her ability to focus. She remained still.
finally turned away, I let out the loudest, most terrifying scream I could
muster, just to give her second thoughts about following me. “Take that, you
big scream machine,” I thought.
relationship with wilderness changed that night. After my third cougar
encounter I still went out by myself, sometimes after dark, but I interacted
with my environment in a different way. Hearing an unfamiliar sound I would
investigate not only out of curiosity, but also out of concern for safety. I
remained vigilant; I became cautious. Magical protection was no longer an
abstract concept. Once there was a girl who roamed the wilderness alone at
night, aware that there were mountain lions in the woods and completely
unafraid. I am no longer that girl.
Thea Prothero writes: “The book is brimming with wisdom and exceptionally well researched; this in turn guides the would-be diviner to access the natural world form a uniquely well-grounded and refreshing perspective.”
Indie Shaman is always a recommended read. The theme of this issue of Indie Shaman is “Shamanic Lands: The Otherworld,” and there are many in-depth articles about the worlds of the ancestors, from a breadth of perspectives and modalities. I have an article in this issue titled “The Weasel Underground.”
My book-in-progress is coming along nicely. I have completed the first draft and compiled the illustrations that will go along with the manuscript. This next book will be a more focused take on animal magic, looking specifically at divination with animal signs. I have been sharing short excerpts on this blog and I will be sharing more snippets over the next few months. The book will be published by Moon Books. Production schedules with commercial publishers can be quite long, so look for the finished product in about a year. It will be worth the wait.