I’m really excited to announce that my new book through REDFeather / Shiffer Publishing is now availableo! The Book is titled Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year Through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices. I wanted to give you an introduction to the book and the concepts behind the book. If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you’ll see a great deal of familiarity: my explorations and writing on this blog shaped this book, although the book goes well beyond the blog. In a nutshell, Sacred Actions presents a hybridization of nature spirituality, sustainable living, and permaculture practices and ethics. I can’t wait to introduce it to you in today’s post!
As I’ve written on this blog before, I believe that we are possible of creating a better future–a healed, nurtured world where humans, animals, plants, and all life can live in harmony and balance. Not only is this possible, but it is also critically necessary for us to survive. Perhaps this seems like a far-off fantasy, but I have hope in this future. To build this future for our descendants and for all life on earth, this work starts with both a vision and starts in the lives of each of us who desire to take up this work. Consider Sacred Actions a manual of personal empowerment for those who want to integrate nature spirituality, sustainability, permaculture, and earth-honoring approaches and build a better tomorrow.
It’s no secret that it’s extremely hard to practice any nature-based spirituality in an age where the destruction of nature is a product of daily human activity. The deeper that you go into any path of nature spirituality, like Druidry, the more you experience this dissonance. How do we practice nature spirituality when we are experiencing ecological decline: extinction, pollution, global warming, ocean acidification, deforestation, and much more? Seeing news reports and dealing with ecological issues in our own region and communities can leave people feeling lost, confused, and stuck in a place of inaction. People come to paganism, Druidry, and nature spirituality because they want to reconnect with nature. But in the process of doing this, they also struggle with the integration of spiritual practices with their everyday lives and balancing their lives with the harsh ecological realities we face. As we are increasingly confronted with the catch-22 of holding nature as sacred but participating in a culture that is harming nature and threatening ecosystems globally, the question that so many of us ask is: how can I integrate an earth-based spiritual practice with an earth-honoring lifestyle?
To address these challenges, I wrote Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year Through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices. What is sacred action? Sacred action is the principle through which we can solve the challenges I’ve shared above. Recognizing that everyday, mundane life can be an opportunity for deepening our spiritual practices and connections with the living earth by living in a way that honors nature through those everyday actions. It is the process of transforming our lives, through our intentions and action, where we turn the mundane through a wide set of new practices, skills, and activities. It’s about taking small steps towards a brighter future.
This book was born here on the Druid’s Garden blog. For years, as part of my own path, I explored a wide range of practices and worked to integrate my own path of druidry into my everyday life by learning sustainable living, organic gardening, permaculture, herbalism, and so much more. In time, I learned to teach these things to others, organize community groups, and start to spread the word further. I have written the book to be accessible to anyone, regardless of their living circumstances, resources, or life path.
Sacred Actions offers a wide variety of sustainable living activities, rituals, stories, and tools using an eight-fold wheel of the year approach. Thus, this book is a synthesis between nature-based spirituality and sustainable living practices through explorations of a wide variety of topics. Each chapter, tied to one of the eight holidays, offers a specific theme, rituals and activities for sustainable living, stories, and fun graphics.
One of the core aspects of the book is that I use permaculture ethics (people care, fair share, and earth care) to weave through the book. People care focuses on making sure ourselves, our families, and those around us have their basic needs. Earth care focuses on attending to sustaining our earth and all life on earth through our own actions. Fair share focuses on taking only what we need so that others may have what they need too. Through the presentation of these ethics of care from permaculture, we are able to re-see a number of everyday life practices through the lens of sacred action.
The eightfold wheel of the year is the framework through which I present stories, practices, rituals, activities, and much more with the goal of helping readers further practice sacred action. The book begins at the Winter Solstice, where I offer core rituals and activities surrounding an ethic as care as a core foundation of sacred action using permaculture’s three ethics of care as a foundation of the book: people care, earth care, and fair share. At Imbolc, we focus on the principles of drawing upon the wisdom of the ancestors through reskilling and knowledge building. At the spring equinox, I present one of the most challenging topics: addressing consumption, materialism, and waste, and I show many alternatives to typical living such as worm composting, ecobricks, and spiritual tools and rituals for various kinds of spring cleansings. Beltane focuses on our homes and everyday lives–exploring sustainable options for cooking, heating, water usage, cleaning, lighting, and so much more. At the Summer Solstice, we think about the energetic and ethical dimensions of food, developing seasonal food rituals, and honoring the land through our daily eating choices. At Lughnasadh, we explore sacred gardening, planting by the signs, growing food indoors and outdoors, lawn conversions, and so much more (this is my favorite chapter, haha!). At the fall equinox, we explore how to take things into our community: in our workplaces, creating and organizing groups, transportation, rituals and tools for our broader action in the world. Finally, at Samhain, we explore how to create more sustainable ritual tools and working with nature outside of our door.
Here is a list of just some of the topics covered in this book:
- The ethics of care: people care, earth care, and fair share
- Rituals for harvest, planting and growing
- Rituals to honor food
- Composting methods (vermicompost, compost piles, humanure, liquid gold)
- Lawn liberations and conversions
- Sacred gardening techniques (Planting by the signs, preparing soil, using available resources, swales, hugelkultur, organic gardening, pollinator-friendly spaces)
- Indoor sacred gardening techniques (container gardening, sprouting, sacred herb windowsill garden)
- Developing ritual tools and materials sustainably and locally
- Turning waste into resources (ecobricks, trash-to-treasures, upcycling)
- Cooking by the sun or sustainably (hay boxes, solar cookery)
- The home as a sacred space
- Ethics of food and how to work with times of local abundance
- Honoring food through ritual and ceremony
- Energy and transportation
- Food storage and sustainability (pantry, root cellar, root cellar barrels, canning and more)
- Community organizing, groups, and earth ambassadorship
- Developing workplace sustainability practices
- Rituals for sacred activity and bringing the sacred into everyday life
- Reskilling and honoring ancestral wisdom
Thus, through reading this book, readers will gain access to rituals, philosophies, ethics, tools, practices, and activities that they can use to integrate, and expand, their own spiritual practices and tie these to earth-honoring living. It is, ultimately, a manual of empowerment for neo-pagans wanting to make more earth-honoring lifestyle choices.
If you want to hear more about the book, you can also view my recent interview with Chris McClure on Facebook live with Shiffer/Red Feather here. You can also listen to the upcoming Druidcast (releasing in June with Philip Carr Gomm) or the Carrowcrory Cottage Podcast with John Wilmott (Woodland Bard) on June 27th at 9am EDT! I’ll share more links as they come through.
Thank you, readers, for your longstanding support, comments, and faith in me. This book exists because you have supported me for so many years! If you have enjoyed this blog and this journey, please consider picking up a copy of sacred actions. I am in gratitude for your support.