A Magical Education

I will be speaking today at Signum University’s New England Moot, a reflection on twenty years as a religious educator. Specifically, I will address how the finest schools of magic influenced my work.

Here’s a link to my slides!

And this is the non-exhaustive list of books which I’ve been known to recommend on the general topic of ethical development:

The Harry Potter Saga by J. K. Rowling

Riddle Master of Hed (and sequels) by Patricia McKillip

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

everything by Ursula K. LeGuin

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwiggan

Number the Stars

Matty Doolin

Jenny Nimmo’s Snow Spider Trilogy

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

Tamora Pierce, Song of the Lioness Quartet 

Star Wars.  Episodes 4, 5, and 6 

Howard Pyle:

Robin Hood.

Men of Iron.

Otto of the Silver Hand.

the Sherlock Holmes corpus, 

Frankenstein, Lewis Carroll, 

Swiss Family Robinson, 

Treasure Island! 

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engel

A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari by Fabio Geda.  

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley 

“ABCs in Zero G” a short story by Elizabeth Moon; 

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold)

 Everything by Lois McMaster Bujold

Star Trek. 

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper.  

“Omnilingual” by H. Beam Piper.  

“Nodsaunce” by H. Beam Piper – 

Life As We Knew It & The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.   

everything Joss Whedon ever produced

The Curse of Chalion and especially its sequel, Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold. 

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

The Darwath Series, by Barbara Hambly

The Ladies of Mandrigyn, by Barbara Hambly

“The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. LeGuin.

The Little Prince

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente 

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle

Speaker for the Dead  by Orson Scott Card

everything by Agatha Christie, but especially the mysteries solved by that strong female protagonist Miss Jane Marple

27 September

The leaves are dripping onto each other wetly, but I wonder if they are telling a fib.

The sky is so clear and the stars are so sharp and the air is so crisp that I could embroider on silk with this morning.
Orion, Big Dog, Little Dog right there above me, clear, clear, clear sky limned with dawnlight.


First, have I told my dogs about those dogs?? We might need Dog Storytime tonight – it’s Friday!

But second, he has two dogs, Big and Little – I have two dogs, Big and Small. In Orion can I see my reflection? Even in part?

It’s the Dark of the Moon, and Things Happen during the dark of the moon, ye ken well what I mean.

Very well, then. When the Hunter Moon rises fresh, I will learn, study, read, write, follow, discern, listen to the lessons of the Hunter in the sky. My goodness.

26 September

Something very, very woofable was out there this morning.

We walked particularly early, particularly briefly, because the mundane world somehow filled up our Thursday.
Ridiculous world.

But, world aside, something very, very woofable needed woofing.
I must admit that I am not terribly convinced of the rightness of that statement, as Big Dog went two ways and Small Dog went two other ways with their sure and certain woofings.

If they didn’t know where it was… then… was it there?

Perhaps it was A General Woofing, Such As Might Demonstrate the Qualifications of the Woofers.

Here nor there, it was too damned early to be woofing and the Samoyeds next door answered, possibly waking my dear neighbor; then the collection of dogs across the street chimed in, possibly waking those dear neighbors.

I am truly sorry that you were wakened.
I think that they woofed for no reason, because that amount of woofing usually means “Deer in the meadow!” and we heard no retreating hoofbeats.

To paraphrase a wonderful writer, “This dog comes equipped with a woof.”

September 25th

The stars went early to bed this morning.
In no way was I frightened by this – they were not stolen, nor had they abandoned ship, they just all collectively yawned and pulled cloud-blankets up and rolled over and snuggled down.

Who doesn’t like a good early-to-bed on a rainy day when the power has gone out?
And when the ekkeltricity comes back, and the neighbor’s generator is finally silent again, I turn the lights back out and unplug the fridge for a few minutes to re-capture the delight of the silence which is our natural inheritance.

To nap in grey blankets. Not too long, remember the fridge.

It’s a beautiful day, Mama, clouds over all the world.

The Morning of Autumn – September 23

We walked the meadow this morning, down and around and up,
Visited staghorn sumac
And there is one maple tree with amazing personality, multiple trunks, sometimes a roost for turkeys and it issues invitations to read novels in its shade.
I passed the time with it…

And the dogs found a spot where the grass was irresistible,
right on the margin where lawnmown path meets meadow growth.

They ate it, they licked it,
And at first I assumed that they were thirsty and wanted this delicious dew.

Then I occurred to me, and I will lay a nickel bet down on this,
I’ll bet that’s where deer stood last night, browsing the meadow,
Leaving their scent like a ghost for flavor-hungry dogs.

17 September

There he was, after months away with only one glance across millions of miles in the middle of the night when we each had something else we had to do.

This morning, there he was, right outside my door, strong and bold,


There was more than enough moonlight for us to take a walk,
and talk,
and his dogs and mine ran together

Until dawnlight called all the dogs to breakfast.

Afternoon of September 16th

Morning was a bit too early for me to walk today,
but I know that one day missed is a very hard habit to break,
so we determined to get out later,

and we did.

We carried the mail up, which always brings up memories of designing this mailbox, so round and so green, covered with lichen, and the number not so much painted in white finger nail polish any more, but etched into the metal where the polish underwent some kind of stunning chemical transformation.

It was during a rough patch, when every single housebuilding thing was going wrong, and it felt like everyone was against us when the mail carrier – whom we never met – left a little sketch in the mailbox. A design improvement. A wordless message.

“I see what you’re trying to do, and even though I had to leave the “this does not conform with Post Office specifications” pamphlet, I have been thinking about how to accomplish your goals within the specs.”

Thank you, anonymous stranger, rural postal carrier, for saving our family’s morale with an act of kindness.

Morning Meander’s Samhain collection is on sale this week

Friends, I would love for folks to be able to walk along with the dogs and me using my Kindle book of Morning Meander poetry. It’s on a 99-cent sale this week, so that we can all walk, write, create, meditate, and pray together from September 23d to November 1.

Please use this link to find the book.

Friday the 13th of September

A beautiful day for me so far,

And most beautiful of all were Sgiobalta’s feet.
(say SKIPple-ta)

Her name means “quick, neat, precise, like a dancer’s feet”
And I watched her tritty-trot about a hundred yards straight toward me
never breaking into a lope, never stopping to sniff or saunter,
just a sweet, quick trot exactly like a dancer.

Have you ever watched a Highland dancer – one of those competitions?
Their torsos and arms so steady while feet fly in precision and power, but unrestrained pigtails can fly?


When Sgiob trots like that, it makes her ear-tips dance.

Twelfth of September

We walked in the middle of the night last night and Saturn was leading the moon to the horizon like a lover.
But Saturn was following Jupiter who had run ahead below the line where I am told that they still are planet, they still move steady in their marches,

But what if I didn’t have to believe those words?
What if I could believe the story in my head that they suddenly twirl and dance to the music of the spheres and spinning spun the arms and legs out of the center

— because centrifugal force —

and dancing ribbons and balls and the gods, once they have set, are wild expressions of power

and then, because they are deep expressions of place in the Cosmos, they return from that dance at the moment needed to define Time and keep us on our course.