The newsletter is back! We’ll be publishing an edition for every High Day of the Wheel of the Year, starting with this, our 2023 Vernal Equinox Edition.
We have several members who have offered to contribute. All contributors get free advertising, so if you would like to propose a piece for the newsletter, use the contact form on our Submissions page!
We’ll be covering events of interest to members of our Order, as well as articles on Deep Ecology, Sustainable Living, Druidry as practiced by the Black Mountain Druid Order, and much more!

Click here to subscribe to the newsletter

Celebration of the Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox is the first day of spring, when night and day are of equal length. Alban Eiler, or the “Light of the Earth,” is celebrated at the Vernal Equinox as the light of the Sun returns to Mother Earth. As another spring begins, life is renewed for another cycle. Ostara is a holiday to the Goddess of Fertility, often associated with Easter. It is from this tradition that we get the Easter habit of coloring eggs and eating chocolate bunnies. Eggs and bunnies are both symbols of the Goddess of Fertility.

The Vernal Equinox is a time for blessing the fields and for celebrating renewal and fertility. It is a time of balance and harmony. On this occasion night and day are of equal length, but the days will increase from this day forward until the autumnal equinox. So it is a time of balance before a period of increase. Just as early seeds may be planted in your home garden at this time, so may magical and spiritual seeds be planted for harvest later in the year.

Many Pagan rituals for this holiday include ideas of birth and rebirth, growth and fruition. It is a time for blessing newborn babies and manifesting dreams and visions. The most powerful time to hold rites and rituals on this day is at dawn, where the Sun is balanced between night and day. Eggs are used for decoration on altars and feast tables. These eggs may also be ritually eaten as part of your rite for the Vernal Equinox. The white of the egg is associated with the purity of the Goddess Ostara, and the yellow of the egg is associated with the Sun, which in turn represents the God. So the balance between male and female, God and Goddess, is represented within the egg itself. The egg as a whole is a symbol of rebirth.

Spiritual Significance of the Vernal Equinox

At the Vernal Equinox the day and night are in perfect balance, and from this day forward until the autumnal equinox, the light shall continue to grow. This equinox is a time for balance and rest before beginning a period of new growth. It is a time to contemplate achieving balance within you. Are your mind, body, spirit and emotion in balance? If not, what is keeping you from achieving that balance? What would that balance look like if it were already here?

As you contemplate these questions, use the gathering energy of the coming brighter days to make the changes within yourself that you would like to bring to fruition. It’s a time to set aside the slumber of the winter. It’s a time to awaken from hibernation and to start to move, grow and learn again. It is also a time to celebrate your own personal growth in the past while looking forward to new growth in the future.

Symbols of  the Vernal Equinox

As symbols of fertility, the egg and rabbits or hares are often seen at his holiday. Any other symbols of fertility would also be appropriate at this time of year. Lit candles, representing the return of the Sun, are also used. Any local flowers that bloom at this time of the year would be symbols of the new birth and growth of this season, so they would be appropriate decorations. This is also a time for decorations that indicate balance, such as graphic portrayals of the imbas or awen.  Since this holiday celebrates the return of the Sun in addition to fertility, depictions of the Sun are also common festive decorations for the Vernal Equinox.

Gods and Goddesses of the Vernal Equinox

The Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre, known to the Germans as Ostara, gives this holiday its more common Pagan name. It is also where we get the name of the Christian holiday of Easter. Ostara is a Goddess of fertility. Her feast is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox at a time when new life is springing forth throughout the land. Eggs and rabbits or hares are this Goddess’s symbols of fertility.

Cernunnos, the Horned God, is also associated with this holiday. Cernunnos is in many ways the male counterpart to Ostara, being the God of the Hunt and a fertility God. He is associated strongly with the seasons of the year and the cycles of life, death and rebirth. It is his rebirth aspect that is honored at this time of the year.

Colors of the Vernal Equinox

As spring begins anew and flora and fauna spring to new life, one of the colors associated with the Vernal Equinox is the color green. Green represents the new plants that begin another season of growth at this time of year. Ostara is also a Dawn Goddess, so the color orange, representing the rising Sun, is also a color associated with this holiday.

Traditions of Alban Eiler

Many of the rituals and traditions associated with Easter actually have their origins in Ostara. We’re all familiar with the tradition of dyeing and painting eggs to be hidden on Easter morn. This practice goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, where eggs were painted and eaten at the festival of Isis. These painted eggs were exchanged as gifts on the vernal equinox. Chocolate bunnies given at Easter have their origins in the hare. As a symbol of fertility, hares and rabbits were also venerated at this time of year.

More recent traditions for the Vernal Equinox include planting seeds or creating herb gardens. This is a great time of the year for healing rituals; especially those rituals having to do with fertility, growth, and increase. It’s a time for cleaning cobwebs out of the corners of the house, and out of the corners of your mind as well. Many Groves also make the connection between the protective power of the Druid’s Egg meditation and the association between eggs and this holiday. In doing so, many Groves add a Druid’s Egg meditation to their celebration of the Vernal Equinox.

Traditional foods included at feasts for this season are leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and dishes made from flowering plants and sprouts. These dishes are served on tables adorned with the first flowers of the season. Many Druid Groves have sunrise rituals, greeting the first day of spring, followed by a breakfast feast of eggs, fruits and vegetables. 

Sencha Skene now accepting bookings for 2023

Sencha Skene is a musician, author, and public speaker. I am currently accepting bookings for 2023! Please check out the information here for further information!

Book Signings

I am the author of many books. The most recent, Animal Wisdom for Druids, will be available in late spring or early summer of 2023.

This book will cover how to find your spirit animal, how to commune with your animal guides, and the Animal Wheel used by the Black Mountain Druid Order.

It will also contain an extensive reference section with characteristics of some common spirit animals.

The book Foundational Druidry in the Black Mountain Druid Order is a handbook for the free Foundational Druidry course offered by the Black Mountain Druid Order. It is divided into three sections about Druidry as practiced by the Black Mountain Druid Order. The Earth Path section is about the Ogham, animal wisdom, and Deep Ecology. The Sun Path section is about the Wheel of the Year, Gods and Goddesses, and Rites of Passage. The Moon Path section is about dream work, meditation, and vision questing.

I am available to present workshops and book signings on any topic covered in either of these works.

Concerts and Music

I have been a musician since the 1970s and have been writing and performing music specifically for the Pagan community since 2000. I occasionally perform with my wife and daughter, making it a true family affair. Please visit my Bandcamp to learn more about my music. I’m now booking for the 2023 season. Please use the contact form below for more information!

A crowd favorite, The Order of the Flaming Robe, performed with my wife and our band at Upstate South Carolina Pagan Pride Day.

Workshops and Seminars

I’ve been public speaking since the early 1980s. My workshops feature audience participation, teaching valuable life skills for all who walk a nature-centered spiritual path.

Some topics I’ve presented in the past include:

  • Nature-centered Spirituality
  • A Guide to Pagan Religions for Mental Health Professionals
  • A Guide to Pagan Religions for Law Enforcement Personnel
  • Dream Work
  • Meditation
  • Vision Seeking
  • A Sustainable Future
  • Ecospirituality
  • Animal Wisdom for a New Age
  • Tools of Druidry
  • Introduction to American Druidry
  • Rites of Passage
  • Elements of Ritual: Celebrating the Wheel of the Year
  • A Brief History of American Druidry
  • The Appalachian Fae
  • Contemporary Norse Spirituality
  • Wisdom Circles

If you would be interested in workshops on any of these topics, or would like to propose a topic, please feel free to contact me! Booking rates are based on the type of event, travel distance, accommodations, duration of event, and amenities. 

Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary

by Marie Strang, a.k.a. Ember

It all started with wanting to feed the birds. We put a little seed out and sparrows, robins, mourning doves, and starlings showed up, then cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and juncos. I started keeping a notepad nearby to write down the different types of birds that visited us. That necessitated collecting books on how to identify birds. My husband and I would stand there, coffee cups warming our hands as we looked out the window. “Look, there’s a wren!” “I think that bird creeping down the tree is a nuthatch.” “Oh, a downy woodpecker!” Sometimes the blue jays sounded an alarm, and all the birds suddenly flew away. My husband and I would look in amazement as a Cooper’s hawk swooped down into our yard. 

One day, while buying more bird seed, I noticed the store offered “critter food”. I recalled neighbors complaining about squirrels “stealing” food put out for birds and I thought, “Squirrels need to eat, too” so I bought a bag of critter food. We found it was cheaper to purchase wildlife food at a local feed store. We put out sunflower seeds and peanuts on a regular basis in a dish low to the ground so the squirrels could access it more easily. They ate the “critter food” and leave the birdseed alone, for the most part. Occasionally, a squirrel made off with the better part of a suet cake, which is always entertaining to watch, and instead of getting upset about the “theft”, I figured maybe that was a mama squirrel happy she found rich food for her babies.

We live in southeast Michigan and sometimes it is cold and puddles of water freeze, which prompted me to wonder what animals do for water in the winter. We bought a heated birdbath and found another type of heater to put in a big dish on the ground. Next thing we knew, more bird species visited our yard, and we also had a larger variety of little mammals: chipmunks, a woodchuck one year, a possum the next, and plenty of wild rabbits. As long as their needs were met with easily accessible food, water, and habitat, none of these animals became problem pests.

I look around my neighborhood to see that most of my neighbors have plain lawns of chemical-covered grass. Some yards have a couple of ornamental trees and not much else. Very few of them have anything to offer the wildlife. Our property is an average-sized lot in an ordinary neighborhood, but it has become an oasis for the animals who seem desperate to survive in a world that is increasingly hostile to them. People dump pesticides on their lawns, eliminate habitat, plant ornamentals that are useless to wildlife, and generally seem oblivious to the havoc they wreak on the local fauna.
We’ve lived in the same place since 1990. We’ve spent decades working on our yard—time, money, sweat. We don’t have anything fancy, and it isn’t a large chunk of land, but I feel privileged to do what we have been able to do. And I think that’s the point, do what you can. You don’t have to have 20 acres. As I said, we have a standard sized lot. Some people don’t have even that much, but they might still put a bird feeder outside their window or a few peanuts in a dish next to their front steps. I think every little bit helps. You don’t have to eradicate every non-native species of plant in your yard, but concentrate instead on planting a few natives, if you have room. Native species provide more food and habitat for wildlife. For more information about this, read Douglas Tallamy’s excellent book Bringing Nature Home. We’ve worked on creating a wildlife sanctuary in our backyard, step-by-step, a little at a time. It’s an ongoing process. And while some neighbors have sterile yards, I see others put up bird feeders or bat houses. 

I have some raised beds, to make it easier for my arthritic bones to manage a little garden. Last year, a mama rabbit stashed two bunnies in one of my raised beds for a while. I’m not sure why she put them there, and they were only there for a few days, but I was able to look at them (I didn’t touch them!), to take photos of them, to see wildlife up close in a way I never would have been able to experience if I hadn’t taken the time to learn to live in harmony with nature, even in a small way, just in my backyard. 

I think the next step for us, for our yard, is to get certified as a habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. We’ll get a sign to put in the yard, marking its status, and I hope that will inspire my neighbors to do the same—to think of the wildlife and how they can live in harmony with their own patch of nature.


Federation, T. N. (n.d.). The National Wildlife Federation Certify Your Habitat. Retrieved from The National Wildlife Federation:

Tallamy, D. W. (2007). Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Portland: Timber Press.

For several decades now, M.B. Strang, author of Arrow’s Flight, has studied and practiced various forms of Paganism, including Druidry, Witchcraft, and Heathenism. She is a member of the Order of Paladins and Ardantane. When not engaged in earth-based spirituality, studying herbs, or writing, she likes to do HEMA at the Ann Arbor Sword Club, make armour, and do various crafts including sewing, embroidery, painting, and drawing. She’s also an avid gardener, until the weather gets too hot.

Want to read diverse and inclusive fantasy that’s Pagan-friendly? Check out Arrow’s Flight by M.B. Strang. Arrow’s Flight An unknown menace moves through the polite society of Pearl’s Holding. If not caught in time, it will bring down not just the hallowed Knights of the Pearl Order, but also everyone who lives and works with them. The answer lies with a young woman of mysterious origins whose life has been touched by tragedy. To fulfill her potential, she must confront her past and discover a future more amazing than she’d ever imagined and find the inner strength to fly. She’s not alone. A handful of Knights, a hearthmage, and their magickal companions all test their physical and magickal limits to make things right before it’s too late. Otherwise, dark forces will overtake the Knights for good. Go to for details on ordering your copy now. Sign up for the newsletter and receive a free story!

Foundational Druidry in the Black Mountain Druid Order

“Druid” is probably the Gaelic equivalent of the word “shaman.” It means “oak wisdom” or “one whose knowledge is great.” This book is a foundational course for members of the Black Mountain Druid Order. It is our manual for training those new to the Druid Path in what it means to be a contemporary Celtic shaman.

What is now the Black Mountain Druid Order was founded in 1997 by former members of Emerald Coast Druid Grove in Pensacola, Florida. When we moved to the Western North Carolina mountains in 2000, we often met in the town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, near Asheville.

Our Mother Grove was then called the Black Mountain Druid Grove. The Grove became an Order in 2003 when it began training apprentices in the teachings of the Black Mountain Druid Grove. As we grew as an Order, we gradually found ourselves shifting to an emphasis on Celtic shamanism.

This book is a new version of the old Black Mountain Druid Order Handbook, which was revised and greatly expanded to reflect the changes in the nature of our Order as we introduced more shamanic teachings. The result of that revision is this book.

The primary mission of the Black Mountain Druid Order is to foster the growth and development of individual Druids and Druid Groves through the Black Mountain Druid Order’s educational programs, while helping our members to develop in mind, body spirit, and emotion through the Way of the Druid.

Click here to purchase

Eostre, the Goddess of Spring Equinox, Hares and Eggs

a story by
Ellen Evert Hopman

Once Around the Sun by Ellen Evert Hopman © 2022 Destiny Books.
Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.

Henrik and Annemie led a very unusual life. They lived with their Oma (2) in a tiny thatched cottage, deep in the forest. Oma 2 didn’t care if they did their lessons or combed their hair or even if they finished their beans at dinner. She always said there were more important things in life, like knowing where the otters hid their slide into the river, and where the wild swans nested, and which herbs were good for a wound or a cough.
Since they didn’t have a calendar in the house, Oma taught Henrik and Annemie to read the signs of nature, to know which month of the year they were in.
“Do you know where the word “month” comes from?” Oma asked early one morning as they were setting out with woven wicker baskets to pick spring greens for their supper.
“Hmmmm”, said Henrik, who liked to think long and deeply about things and thought of himself as a philosopher of the mysteries of life.
“No clue”, said Annemie, who liked to read books by candlelight.
“It comes from the word “Moonth”, said Oma.
“Moonth” isn’t a word!” said Annemie who was very sure she had never seen that term in a book.
“Well, it may not be a word in your books, but it certainly is the way Mother Nature organizes her calendar”, said Oma. “Let’s go out tonight and see what happens under the March Full Moon. You might learn something!”
Oma didn’t care if they went to bed on time either.
After a supper of soup made with the fresh greens they had just picked and slices of warm grainy bread topped with goat’s cheese and wild violet flowers (yes, you can eat those!), they put on their warmest cloaks, hats and mittens to ward off the still chilly, spring air. Henrik unbolted the oaken front door to their cottage while Annemie lit a small lantern that contained a single bee’s wax candle, and Oma filled a thermos with hot herbal tea. Then out the door they trooped, into the misty night.
The path through the forest stretched before them, easily visible in the bright moonlight. Oma had taught them to be very quiet in the dark woods and to talk in whispers, and to speak only when it was absolutely necessary. They were so quiet that they could hear owls conversing overhead while mice rustled in the leaves at their feet. A deer crossed the path right in front of them and it didn’t even notice they were there!
Soon they came to a large open heath where the spring grasses and heather were already thick and long. Moonlight glistened on the damp meadow. “We can sit down here”, Oma whispered.
They hunkered down and were very still. (Any person or animal walking by would have thought they were just three large rocks in the middle of the field). They waited for a while, enjoying the stars and the soft spring breeze.
Suddenly there was a flurry of movement at the far end of the field – and it, whatever it was, was coming closer!
“What could that be?”, wondered Henrik in a loud whisper. He was scared he might have to defend his grandmother and sister from a bear or a wolf. Annemie slithered closer to Oma so they would look like a bigger lump to whatever was coming towards them.
And then the grass seemed to part and whatever it was, was right in front of them! It was a crazy moving tangle of hares! Suddenly hares were everywhere, jumping and chasing and boxing each other. The ones that weren’t doing that were just sitting and gazing – looking up at the Full Moon!
“See how the hares are dancing?” said Oma. “Some say that Witches shape-shift into hares under the spring Full Moon, at the time of the Vernal Equinox.”
“That’s when day and night are equal length and the Sun rises exactly in the East and sets exactly in the West” added Henrik, in a professorial tone of voice.
“I know that”, said Annemie, who had already read about it in a book.
“Look closely at the hares and see if you can find one that is white and larger than the rest”, Oma whispered.
Henrik and Annemie squinted and stared until finally they did see one that seemed to stand out.
“I think I see it!” whispered Annemie.
“Who is that?” whispered Henrik. “Is it the king of the hares?”
“Well,”, said Oma, “there is a Goddess whose sacred time of year this is. Her name is Eostre and she has a large white hare that goes with her wherever she travels. You might be seeing that hare now! Eostre herself takes the form of a hare at every Full Moon. All hares are sacred to her, they are her messengers”.
“Messengers?” whispered Henrik. “Who do they take messages to?”
“When hares burrow underground, they commune with the Spirits and then they bring messages from the Faeries and the ancestors back up to the world of the living”, explained Oma. “But Eostre has one extra special white hare that lays colored eggs just for children every year at exactly this time of year!”
“Is that how we get them in our baskets?” asked Annemie.
“Yes! That is why we always put out a basket at this time.” said Oma. “And have you noticed that the days are getting longer and longer now?” she added.
“Oh, yes”, said Henrik who was very glad he could stay out just a little later each day, to study bugs and frogs and other interesting creatures.
“That’s because Eostre is followed by a long procession of hares carrying torches and each morning when she rises at dawn, they follow her. As they approach the light grows stronger and stronger and the strengthening light tells the birds that it’s time to lay their eggs. And so, we celebrate with colored eggs. Easter is named after her and that’s why we have Easter bunnies and Easter eggs!”
As they were watching the hares leapt higher and higher, as if they were trying to touch the Moon. Oma, Henrik and Annemie sipped their warm tea, enjoying the spectacle. And when they started to feel the cold and damp, Oma said it was time to go home. And so, they went.
The next morning when Henrik and Annemie got up their baskets were filled with beautiful colored eggs and lots of sweets like cookies, candy and dried fruits.
“I hope you will never forget how magical these eggs are, brought to you by Eostre’ s special bunny,” said Oma. “The Goddess Eostre always carries with her a basket of newly laid eggs. They hold the promise of new beginnings and the yearly resurrection of nature after the long sleep of winter. Every time you see an egg, know that it is blessed by Eostre, and give thanks.”
And do you know, that is just what they did.

Eostre (Eestra or Oostra), an Anglo-Saxon Goddess
Oma (Oh-mah) a German name for grandmother.

From : “Once Around the Sun: Stories, Crafts, and Recipes to Celebrate the Sacred Earth Year” find it at  and other retailers worldwide here:

Ellen Evert Hopman is a Druid Priestess, Master Herbalist and lay Homeopath who holds an M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling. She is a former Co-Chief of the Order of the Whiteoak – Ord na Darach Gile and is currently ArchDruidess of Tribe of the Oak . She was Vice President of The Henge Of Keltria, an international Druid Fellowship, for nine years. Ellen is a founding member of The Order of the White Oak (Ord Na Darach Gile) and the founder of the Whiteoak mailing list. She is a Bard of the Gorsedd of Caer Abiri, an ArchDruidess of the Druid Clan of Dana and has been a member of The Order Of Bards Ovates and Druids and of ADF. 

Find my books and blog at My new children’s book: “Once Around the Sun: Stories, Crafts, and Recipes to Celebrate the Sacred Earth Year” find it at and other retailers worldwide here:

Druid Chants – Sencha Skene’s Latest Album

“Druid Chants” contains several songs and chants that I’ve used at rites for years now, plus a few new ones. “Ancestor Chant” (track #5) features the assistance of several Pagan musicians and vocalists, including Barefoot Bran, Lord Alexian, Paula Reoha Randal, and Abigail McBride.
If you’re looking for chants to use at your next rite, this album can help!

released January 17, 2023

01 Three Sisters 01:24

02 Awen 04:49

03 Odin’s Throne 03:23

04 Brighid’s Lullaby 03:57

05 Ancestor Chant 05:03

06 Taliesin 05:53

07 To the Morrigan 05:41

08 Lyke Wake Dirge 04:39

09 The Night Before Solstice 03:55

Click here to hear samples

Spirit Animals and the Solutrean Hypothesis

by Sencha Skene

One of the exercises in the Foundational Druidry course of our Order is to take a spirit animal. On occasion someone will object to the practice because in the United States we tend to associate this practice with Native Americans, but ancient Celts, the people of Scandinavia, the Mongol people, the people of Asia, and even the early indigenous peoples of Europe all had some sort of practice of taking a spirit animal.

The association of spirit animals with Native American culture probably came from the idea of “totem animals.” “Totem” comes from the Ojibwa language and may be roughly translated as “kinship.” A totem animal is considered part of the family and guides a person throughout life. Not all Native American people took on totem animals, but many did. It’s probably safe to say that most Native American nations engaged in the practice, but it was not universal.

Also, although the word “totem” is exclusive to Native American culture, the practice itself was and is a worldwide phenomenon. Hiiemäe (2019) studied the northern European country of Estonia and found that the practice is still widespread to this day. In the study, Belief Narratives of Spirit-Animals: A Case Study on Estonian Contemporary Folklore, Hiiemäe found that belief in spirit animals help those who held such beliefs to cope with life stress. The study also found that belief in spirit animals offered psychological support in many other areas of life.

In Norse lore the fylgjur (pronounced FILG-yur) in the plural and fylgja (pronounced FILG-ya) in the singular, are animal spirits like totem animals. This Norse word means “to follow,” and the fylgja is said to follow the person throughout their life, offering guidance. The spirit animal that chooses to attach itself to a person is said to embody the characteristics of that person. A sly person might have a fox fylgja, a strong person might have a lion or a bear, a timid person might have a rabbit, and so on.

The Celtic púca (púcaí), (pronounced POO-ka) are shapeshifters who can take on many forms, including human form. They can be associated with good or evil. They were made famous by the Mary Coyle Chase play Harvey, about an alcoholic man who sees a púca in rabbit form. They are like the shapeshifting bakemono from Japan, who can also take the form of humans and work either good or evil. The Chinese jīngshén dòngwù and the Korean dongmul-ui yeonghon have similar characteristics. The further back into history we go, the more we find that indigenous cultures had some concept of spirit animals.

The Reindeer Shaman of Les Trois Freres

How far back does the practice go? There is some indication that it may even predate modern humans. A Neanderthal burial site that was the inspiration for Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series featured a skeleton that was buried with herbs and flowers of a healing nature. Near the skeleton several cave bear skulls were arranged in a ceremonial fashion, leading some archaeologists to conclude that this person must have been a shaman or healer for the tribe whose spirit animal was the cave bear.

While this conclusion is speculative, there is another piece of evidence from southern France that seems to be less so. This is an image called the Reindeer Shaman. Believed to have been painted circa 13,000 BCE, this cave painting at first glance appears to be a reindeer, but on closer inspection it can clearly be seen that the face is that of a man with a long beard, and the arms, legs and genitals are human.

This means that as early as 15,000 years ago Europeans were engaged in the practice of taking spirit animals. It would be hard to draw any other conclusion from the image.

How does this relate to spirit animals in North America?

It has long been believed that North America was first settled by migrants from Asia. The accepted theory is that they came across the land bridge at the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age some 17,000 years ago.

Woolly mammoth carving found in North America

A recent discovery, called the Solutrean Hypothesis, indicates that this theory may be incorrect. The theory centers on a Solutrean-style spear point found in Virginia. Solutrean culture was based in what is present-day France, Spain and Portugal, from roughly 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. This particular style of spear point is more advanced than the Clovis point commonly found in North American sites settled by Asian migrants due to its sharper edges and more lightweight construction. Solutrean points are 100 times sharper than a steel blade and make it possible to kill large prey like woolly mammoths.

Solutrean-style points are particular to the Solutrean culture of Europe and to date have not been found in any other culture.

The interesting part of this find is that carbon dating of organic material found at the site shows that the spear point to be around 20,000 years old, predating the Asian migration from the Bering Strait by at least 5000 years.

When this discovery was first made it was controversial for its speculation that immigrants from Europe were the first humans to arrive in America. Because this hypothesis went against the predominant paradigm that North America was settled by migrants from Asia, it was largely rejected by the archaeological community. However, since the initial discovery of the spear point, a 2014 study revealed that anywhere from 4% to 38% of Native American ancestry originates from an ancient Western Eurasian population. This conclusion lends credence to the Solutrean Hypothesis, making it a distinct possibility that the first settlers of North America were from Europe and not Asia.

So we can safely conclude that Europeans engaged in the practice of animism using spirit animals at least 15,000 years ago, and that it is highly probable that the first North Americans were from Europe and not Asia, predating their Asian counterparts by around 5000 years. Could this mean that the Native American migrants learned the practice of taking spirit animals from their European predecessors? It’s not outside the realm of possibility, since Europeans were probably here first.

In all honesty, I personally doubt that this was the case. Spirit animals are the result of an animistic worldview, and that worldview was and still is to this day held by people who live closely with nature in tribal societies. In other words, the practice of taking spirit animals evolved independently in various cultures throughout the world, possibly having a common source when our ancestors migrated out of Africa.

I prefer to think of the practice as belonging to all of humankind, and not just specific cultures decided upon by those with a political agenda. While I agree that exploitation of Native American culture is a terrible thing and should be stopped, in our zeal to end such exploitation we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Various Native American cultures did and do take spirit animals, but so did virtually every animistic culture throughout the world, dating back to Neanderthal times.

Respect is the key to avoiding cultural appropriation, and respect is a two-way street. I prefer to focus on how the practice can be utilized today for spiritual seekers who are re-discovering animism.

For more on the Solutrean Hypothesis, here’s an excellent documentary on the subject.

Contribute to the Newsletter!

Are you a poet, artist, or author? Would you like to contribute something to the newsletter? It’s published on every High Day of our Wheel of the Year, or eight times per year. You can submit your works in the body of an email or as a pdf or Word attachment to [email protected].

You may also use the form at the bottom of this page.

If you are a visual artist, you may also submit jpg or png format artwork as an attachment to your email.

We’re interested in submissions about, but not limited to, the following:

  • Sustainable living and Deep Ecology
  • Animal Wisdom and Spirit Animals
  • The Ogham
  • Herbalism/herbology
  • Celebrating the Wheel of the Year
  • Gods and Goddesses
  • Rites of Passage
  • Meditation
  • Dream Work
  • Shamanism
  • Shadow Work
  • Crafts and Crafting
  • Traditional Recipes
  • Methods of Divination
  • Personal experiences
  • Poetry
  • Chants
  • Events (including coverage of your local events)
  • News from your own Grove
  • News of interest to Pagans and Druids


Attention vendors: If you’d like a FREE ad in our next newsletter, here’s the terms:

  1. Must be products/services related to Druidry/Paganism
  2. 250 words or less
  3. No more than one image
  4. Must be consistent with the values of the Four Sacred Pillars of our Order
    If you’re interested in running a free ad, please submit your ad to [email protected]


May 2021

April 2021

March 2021