Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Readers, Lurkers, Fans: Come Out, Whoever You Are!

As I've mentioned, I injured my wrist a little while back — now, don't worry, I'm doing better, I'm able to feed myself, brush my hair, and even spend some time on the computer now (after a whole week of less than an hour a day! how did I survive?!). But yesterday, after typing a long post for Pagan+Politics, the aching stiffness had crept back up my arm from wrist to elbow. So while I have things I'm dying to write about (like how Columbia has seriously shaken my as-yet-scrawny and fledgling faith in polytheism)... I'll be taking it slow for the next few days.

In the meantime, another blog I read sparked an idea, and I decided it might be fun to encourage all you readers to chime in! I know there are a few hundred of you out there, and so I invite you now to leave a comment, say hello — even if you're just a lurker, even if you've never left a comment here before, why not share a little bit about yourself? To that end, I pose these two questions (adapted from the original meme):

1) Tell me about yourself. Who are you? Do you have a spiritual or religious path that you are walking? What was it that drew you to this blog, and why have you stayed? What would you like to see more of here at Meadowsweet & Myrrh? Let loose with those comments!

2) Tell someone else about this blog. Perhaps try to seek out someone who's not a Pagan or Druid but who you think might be interested in the kinds of things featured here. Send them a link to your favorite post, and let's see what they say!

I look forward to hearing from all of you! And if you haven't already, why not "Like" Meadowsweet & Myrrh over on Facebook and leave a comment or review over there while you're at it!


  1. Since you ask - I was looking for some Pagan blogs to follow - to see what people think.

    I found a blog called Pagan Bloggers Network. Many of the blogs listed on there no longer exist. Some haven't been updated for a year. The list itself hasn't been updated for months.

    A lot of people set out with good intentions, and then everything gets forgotten.

    Of the blogs that do exist and are updated, some seem to be just general chat - today I made some ice-cream and went for a walk. Nothing wrong with that.

    And a few are totally lost. There is one (nameless) blog which seems to generate lots of posts every day, and they are all completely... I'd better not say.

    The number of Pagan blogs which actually have something intelligible to say is quite small.

    Even amongst those, some ramble on and on, with masses of intellectual speculation unrelated to any experience, which gets them nowhere. If an idea can't be expressed in a paragraph or so, maybe the author lacks clarity in their own mind.

    Meadowsweet and Myrrh is a very catchy title.

  2. Hi! :-)

    I'm Jeff Lilly, a revival Druid with heavy Zen Buddhist influence. I've been reading for years -- I don't remember, now, what post it was that someone linked to somewhere and drew me in... But I was hooked immediately by your lyrical writing, profound religious feeling, and deep, analytical thinking. Your stuff just keeps getting better and better, too. Now I know you well, and see you every day, but I still don't know where your magic comes from. :-)

    This is a cool idea, by the way. I haven't decided if I have the cajones to try it on my blog. :-)

  3. Hi there. I am a reader/lurker of your blog. I am a Gnostic priest in the Universal Church of Autogenes. I enjoy what you write about. And on Columbia...that is fascinating! Blessings to you.

  4. Well I'm Rev. David P. Smith. I am a Druid and author. I was drawn to this blog because it was written by a Druid and I've really enjoyed the posts so I keep coming back. I just would love to see more of your writing, and if you run out of ideas I'd be happy to send you copies of my books to review... lol.

  5. Well, hello, Robur! And thanks, I think it's a pretty catchy title myself. :) Glad you can come here for some substantive writing (though I'm afraid I'm guilty of some abstract philosophical ranting myself once in a while!).

  6. Hi, Jeff - fancy meeting you here! ;)

  7. Hi Son, and welcome! Yes, I'll definitely be getting into the whole issue of polytheistic theology when it comes to Columbia and other "invented" deities of the modern era. Stay tuned!

  8. Hey, David! Glad to see you over here as a reader, as well as a FB friend! I don't think I'll be running out of ideas anytime soon (though running out of time might be another problem entirely!)... but perhaps I could review your book anyway. I keep telling myself I'm going to feature more "pertinent book" reviews on this site - books that are not by, for or directly about Pagans but are important to the Pagan spiritual path in some way nonetheless - but I never seem to get around to it! Ah well. Right now I'm reading a fascinating book on "deep ecology." Maybe a review of that will makes its way here eventually... :)

  9. Hi there

    I'm also a reader/lurker, based in Somerset, in the South West of England, where I live with the lovely Rowan. I'm a Druid (well, I'm in the Bardic grade right now) and a Northern tradition worshipper of Odin in particular, but the Aesir and the Vanir in general also. as well as the more 'spiritual' side of my practice, I derive a lot of satisfaction from the more 'hands in the earth' side of Paganism, and I keep bee, grow vegetable, and will be moving into poultry pretty soon.

    In a previous time of my life I was a Benedictine Oblate (a kind of lay monastic), and I'm trying to incorporate the best of monastic spirituality into my more recently found Pagan practice. I have a blog about this if anyone's interested.

    I'm a polytheist, but can't put myself in the 'hard' polytheist camp for various reasons, but generally because I see too much evidence of people- (and therefore deity-) migration in history, anthropology and archaeology.

    Hope that's enough for now!

  10. Hi there, PaganMonastic! Thanks for saying hello. :) It's always fantastic to hear from readers outside the U.S.

    The idea of bringing a kind of monastic spirituality to Paganism sounds quite intriguing (and thanks for pointing me to your blog - I'm looking forward to perusing it :). My partner and I often daydream about establishing a kind of "spiritual retreat center" where folks can live that - as you call it - "hands in the earth" Pagan life in a shared community setting. The idea of looking more into a monastic model of such community life hadn't occurred to me before, but it sounds like it might be a fruitful avenue to pursue. So thanks again for stopping by to share!

  11. Been reading a few months, atheist/agnostic/hard polytheist/I don't even know. I don't remember why but I googled pagan blogs because I decided I wanted to read some and followed a lot of links in a lot of blogrolls and liked your prose!

    (If we're looking for location statistics, I'm currently in Arizona and will be moving to London (yes, in the UK) in the near-ish future.)

  12. Hi, Ali. I'm Heather, from British Columbia, Canada. I'm a student, studying natural resource sciences, with a special fondness for the study of trees and forest ecology. I would probably describe myself as a Pagan, specifically as a Druid, although many parts of my practice and belief may be closer to that of a Celtic Reconstructionist. Nature, specifically the land on which I live and the plants and animals that I share it with, plays a very large role in my spirituality. Sometimes, if someone who I don't know very well asks me what my religion is, I may just tell them that I'm an agnostic. I'm still not quite sure if I would really be comfortable as a polytheist... As you probably know, defining one's spiritual/religious identity can be complicated.

    I can't remember how I first stumbled upon your blog; I've been reading it for quite a while. It may have been from a link from Nettle's Druid's Apprentice blog. Why have I stayed? Because of the high quality of your posts. Many Pagan blogs are, I'm afraid, somewhat lacking, but yours is luckily an exception. Your blog has also been an inspiration for my own blog, which I keep trying to improve.

    There is nothing specific that I would like to see more of here, just a continuation of your excellent posts. (Actually I wouldn't mind more book reviews, but I know that they take a lot of time to write well.) I hope that you're feeling better and writing again soon. (I know that I'd be going crazy if I wasn't able to write or type!)

  13. Dear Ali,

    I don't usually read blogs. I don't write one either. I prefer to write to and for myself (and I do that a lot). I'm also not generally interested in what others have to say to or about themselves online. Personal communication, though old-fashioned, works best for me.

    However, since there is no Pagan community in my country, I have been forced to research it over the internet, and keep in touch with Pagans through emails and blogs -- and yours caught my instant attention. I came here several months ago, looking for an explanation why Wicca doesn't chime a chord with me, and I loved your own thoughts on the subject. Your post also turned my attention to druidry, which I had theretofore evaded, since it seemed it was about middle-aged men dressed in white robes standing around in circles. Your own perception of it -- wonderfully poetic, inspiringly philosophical, pacifist, thoughtful and at times mellow -- bought me instantly. So you became the very first blogger I ever followed. Since then, I've also been lurking about Jeff's place, enjoying it immensely, for other reasons.

    What I like most here are the metaphysical subject, such as the nature of divine, the world and our place in it, and our relationship to Deity/deities. I also enjoyed the more practical entries, such as your disheveling and putting up an altar, meditation on tarot cards, and sharing your own pieces of writing.

    I must admit I haven't shared you with others, first because there are very few people around whose English is good enough to understand your writing, and second because I'm not sure who would find it relevant, since Paganism is on the other side of popular around here.

    Sorry to take up so much space, and I hope you get better soon!

    PS. Don't know why, but I keep having trouble signing in. Jeff knows me as Argenta.

  14. hello! i'm thora, a christo-pagan in the east bay. i lurk more than comment, but i find your blog fascinating. i have a blog too, but it's more personal and less spiritual, or at least less intellectual.
    honestly, i don't remember how i found your blog. i've been reading it for quite some time.

  15. I've spent a few years as a sort of wishy washy Celtic Reconstructionist. Of course, a few months ago, Norse gods starting popping up in my dreams, so I'm doing quite a bit of reevaluating! I read a pretty wide variety of pagan blogging, usually by adding random things my google rss feed recommends. But the blogs that stay have to be thought provoking and interesting.

  16. Hi Ali! I have no idea when I started following your blog, but it's been a while. Your writing is some of the best in the pagan blogging field - fearless and honest and deep. My path is a sort of druidical fairy shamanistic thing at the moment. Lately I've been more interested in doing than in writing so my own blog is pretty quiet at the moment, but I'm still keeping up with my blog reading. My favorite kinds of posts are those that talk about personal experiences, especially when that experience can be related to some larger theme. You're good at those already but I always like to see more of that sort of thing.

  17. I would love to invite you to my site, for those who are pagan, heathen, or old wayis in general. I myself follow my ancestor's ways like Choctaw, Angelcynn, Druidism and aspects of Pagan/Heathen Christianity. Please except my humble invitation http://grou.ps/folkchristianity/home

  18. Thanks for all the fantastic replies everyone! Keep 'em coming! :) I had been hoping to reply personally to every single one (though blogger's lack of embedded comment threads makes that a bit more difficult)... but you've been responding so fast and furiously, I'm not sure I can keep up!

    I wanted to say a brief hello, though, to:
    - Shiyiya (good luck with the move!),
    - Heather (a Druid ecologist - how cool is that? I'm reading some books right now on deep ecology, perhaps I'll get around to posting a review or two ;),
    - Argenta (hey! yes, Jeff has mentioned your correspondence with him! awesome to see you here!),
    - Thora (so wonderful to see a Christo-pagan reader!),
    - Katie (yes, I've had occasional what-is-this-deity-doing-here dreams, too - always leave me feeling confused ;),
    - Nettle (hello! I've missed your writing, but glad the "doing" is going well - and thanks for the suggestions about experience-focused writing... that's the kind I enjoy writing more, but I find it so easy to get lost in the abstract sometimes!), and last but not least,
    - Marko (thanks for stopping by and saying hello!).

    Sorry for all the exclamation points, guys. :) But you're all so wonderful and I'm thrilled to hear from you.

    Any others out there, why not come say hi? See, we're all nice here, we won't bite. ;)

  19. Hi Ali,

    I actually started by following Jeff's blog (and that reminds me - past time to add him to the blog roll) and came to 'know' you on FB.
    Your blog is beautiful - myself, I can't seem to get away from the direly dark theme, maybe I just feel more comfortable with it.
    I call myself an AnarchoPrimitivist Shaman, which doesn't explain anything, but broadly means I'm so in love with Life that I'm agitating for the destruction of civilsation. :)
    Druidic philosophy and thinking of course score very highly with me - I think it's the one sustainable and tenable religious outlook, and I hope to see crowds and riots of new Druids Coming into Being in the future.

    Terri in Joburg

  20. Hi, Ali,
    You know, I can't remember how I started reading you. Did you find me first, or did I find you? But I know what has kept me coming back over and over again: I love your honesty, and your willingness to look your spiritual practices in the eye and let them change if your experience demands it.

    Not many live that skinlessly, and fewer write about it. Still fewer write well... So no wonder I'm addicted to your blog! It is one of the very few Pagan blogs that consistently feeds my spiritual growth. So thank you!

    My own path I think you know began as a pretty ordinary Wiccan one, though perhaps with a richer experience of Pagan community than many have had, and, with the events of September 11, 2001, expanded to include a Quaker practice as well.

    It's especially gratifying to read the words of another Pagan whose approach to Paganism, like mine, is often syncretistic, and for whom peace is a powerful spiritual imperative.

    As for recommending your blog to others, I do that all the time!

    Bright blessings--and may your wrist heal quick! (I'm hoping for a post someday soon on the challenges to your polytheism/ your sense of what's up with this "Columbia" figure, and so forth. *fingers crossed* *smile*)

  21. Hi Ali, I'm Anne. I venerate all deities, as I feel that they represent the rich cultural diversity of humanity and the many Paths we mortals have found to commuicate with the Divine. I've lurked as I can (being a first-year school teacher), and I appreciate your serious consideration of deep topics both here and at Pagan+Politics. Being silly and flip myself, I leave the deeper considerations to better minds like yours (and Jeff's and Nettle's).

    Anne Johnson

  22. Heh - I actually know exactly when I started reading you - May 10, 2007 (it's the day I pimped M&M on my blog... is that cheating? :)

  23. Greetings, and many thanks for inviting us to introduce ourselves on your blog! It seems that most responders are seasoned readers of yours, but I am brand new - I've only read a few posts in-depth and skimmed others, as I found your blog (by a desperate web search, if I remember correctly) only a few weeks ago, but I am certainly glad to have stumble across it. This online home of yours is beautifully decorated, and seems to reflect the personality and attitude of its author; I trust that I will familiarize myself with the musings and reflections of a truly curious and compassionate person - or persons, rather, given the sense of community here from reading even just these responses. And of course, the subject matter intrigues me.

    I consider myself simply Pagan, open to all the wonderful possibilities underneath that umbrella, and I have been on this never-ending path of self-discovery for about five years. I'm attending a local university studying language, and I founded our Pagan Student Union last year, which has gained a handful of adherents who are eager to study the Pagan path and grow together in a safe, academically-centered environment. They will assuredly be hearing about this blog, as you seem to have wonderful resources and outside information to help guide your readers into their own practices. I might even refer to the sensation your writing gives me as those "warm fuzzy feelings" :)

    I'm naturally a long-winded person, so I had better stop here with an extension of thanks to you for not only being so conscious as to provide this wonderful source, but also for caring enough about your followers to ask for a glimpse into our experiences. I will assuredly be seeing more of you as I continue to read!

  24. I'm Rose. I'm Pagan, attending both Wiccan and Druid open circles at the moment.

    I used to read your blog religiously (excuse the pun); it was the one I'd always make time to read but somewhere along the way, life got hectic and I lost touch. I did link to you a couple of times from my old blog/s and I hope to read more of your work over the next few months. I'm just getting back into blogging and have time to come back to those blogs I used to love reading. I hope to be around for a while :)

    I've always been impressed by how poetic and.. coherent your posts were, not to mention the most amazing words you used. I loved looking up a new term and trying to use it in my daily life.


  25. I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian, here via anamchara. I've continued reading because I appreciate and learn from earnest, honest, thoughtful writing on religion, regardless of tradition.

  26. So nice to see you all (and sorry for once again not being able to keep up with all your awesome comments)! This time, I want to say a warm and welcoming hello to:

    - Terri (aka Aquila — I share your hopes of Druidic riots! I also really admire the writing you've been doing lately, you make dark and dire into gorgeous things)

    - Cat (yay! hello! I can't remember which of us found the other, either, though I suspect I found you while looking for other "Christo-Pagans" out there on the webs — though my own path has led away from that blending since then, it's always nice to hear from you, here or on your own blog!)

    - Anne (but your silliness and flip-... uh... -ousity (?!) is why we love you!)

    - Erik (it certainly is not cheating! plus, you may be pleased to know, you were my very first pimp! I think I'd only been writing for two months at that point, and was so thrilled to have even a single reader, so I remember it well, too ;)

    - A.R. (welcome! it's always awesome to see new names and faces around here — I hope you enjoy poking around old posts, and I promise to keep trying my damnedest to come up with new reads, too. in the meantime, check out the new buttons at the top of the sidebar, which will be pointing to longer, more "serious" essays on various Druidic topics!)

    - Rose (welcome back! as much as I love the online writing world, I definitely know how important the real world is and how life can get hectic. hope life continues to be beautiful for you and you find that precious balance — especially if that balance means just a little bit of time to stop by here once in a while! ;)

    - Verdanthe (a reader after my own heart! I'm very glad to be one of those voices of diversity for you; I know how important the study of various religious traditions has been for me over the years, and it's wonderful to know I'm not just preaching to the Pagan choir (or... drum circle, I guess) ;)

    Thanks for all your lovely responses, everyone!

  27. I'm your old academic adviser from Ursinus. I read this blog too and I like it.

  28. Feral Boy here ... I've lurked up to now. I appreciate the depth of your religious thoughts. Much of religion in general, and Paganism in particular seems to be like what a friend calls "cafeteria Catholicism" -- picking and choosing among the elements of belief structures until you find a label that kind of fits. You seem to know yourself much more, working from within to find a name for what resonates with your soul. I'm not sure of my "path", if anything it is much more of the Wild than of any established religion. And one of my core beliefs is that there can never be a single path to deity. Deificiation of "us" (U.S.) almost always leads to demonification of "Them".

    Many thanks for sharing your travels on these seldom-trod paths. Perhaps someday they will help me determine who and what I am!

    -- Feral Boy

  29. Me, I'm just a lay pagan. I'm not a priest, or a Druid, or a Prince of far off lands. Try to make sense of my experience and of the world around me, while seeking a deeper community.

    At times open hearted and utterly judgmental, sometimes I despair of all the Lord High priests and Arch-Druids in the pagan world, and long for a community of quiet thinkers, striving toward a pagan philosophy and worldview that is as rich as the revealed religions (most of it isn't) and visual art, music and poetry as rich as that inspired by them (it does exist, but mostly outside "paganism"... I run a mile from most anything labelled pagan poetry). So I am grateful for a little oasis of thought and examination.

  30. I'm a Revival Druid and religious syncretist with a Hellenic bent. I've read for blog for awhile now and always enjoy it. I think you have many valuable insights, and one of the things I like about your blog is how open and honest you are. It is very refreshing. I hope to be reading your insights for a long time to come!


  31. Ali,

    Can't recall when or how I began reading your blog. I think it may have had something to do with Graeme and following a trail to your blog. I do, however, know why I continue to read: your willingness to sort out your thoughts - you struggle openly and don't portray yourself as the one with all of the answers - just searching for your own understanding. Frequently that understanding matches well with my own (even if I'm unable to articulate it as thoroughly and eloquently as you do). Obviously you're an artist and that makes your writing incredibly easy and a pleasure to read as well.

  32. I began reading your blog via Networked Blogs on Facebook a couple of months ago. I had just started my own blog (I'm a Hedgewitch). I enjoy reading your blog because of its relaxed nature and the insights you give to your own journey.

  33. I'm an Orthodox Christian living in South Africa. I can't remember when or how I first came across your blog, possibly through MyBlogLog or BlogCatalog, but I drop in occasionally.