Category Archives: spirituality

Interview with my father

My father died five years ago. Our relationship continues to evolve. Last summer, while brainstorming an exercise for a group at an artists’ and writers’ retreat organized by my friend Bethany Ides, I invented the ancestor interview. It turned out … Continue reading

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Tarantella, an ancient Sicilian dance ritual

My Italian ancestors lived in the Dolomite Mountains, the Alps near the Austrian border. However, there’s a theory that the family name, Ciliotta, referred to a migration from Sicily (note the “cil” in both words), many centuries back. So when … Continue reading

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Ancestralization: Water your family tree

My friends and I are digging a home for our ancestors under an old church. Maybe your ancestors would like to live there too. The church has been deconsecrated, as it is no longer needed for Christian services. We find … Continue reading

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Singing the body back to health

When an individual falls ill…the shaman… after dealing with the cause, begins to rebuild the World House of that person’s body by…speaking or singing out a sacred map, following a natural order of holy words and magical sounds, in a … Continue reading

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Divining Eddie

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a divination (a reading of my spiritual status, based on objects I spread around on a cloth inscribed with nature symbols) by my friend Glenn, he said, out of nowhere, “There’s something … Continue reading

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A loss talisman

Loss is awful. Loss keeps coming up in my life this month, not as in new losses but as in memories of past losses, perhaps insufficiently grieved. In the West, we use therapy to uncover and discharge past griefs. Indigenous … Continue reading

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Ancestral flood relief

I’m not saying I totally believe in this stuff, but it does seem to work. I’ve been excessively anxious since the hurricane. I’m grateful the water didn’t enter my house, but cleaning up the flooded garage and crawlspace has been … Continue reading

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