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Hearth Moon Rising is an ordained priestess in the Dianic tradition and in the Fellowship of Isis.  She lives in Keene Valley.  Photo: Hearth Moon Rising
Hearth Moon Rising is an ordained priestess in the Dianic tradition and in the Fellowship of Isis. She lives in Keene Valley. Photo: Hearth Moon Rising

Books: Invoking Animal Magic

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Hearth Moon Rising is an Adirondack psychotherapist who is passionate about nature, the environment, animals and her own pagan spirituality. For more than 20 years she has taught magic and helped others integrate their experience of the natural world into their spiritual practice.

She's the author of a new book, Invoking Animal Magic, and has spent this summer talking about the mythology and folklore of animals and healing to audiences in Keene Valley and Saranac Lake. Hearth is also a licensed New York State Outdoor Guide, and enjoys hiking, running, snowshoeing, skiing and mountain biking.

Hearth Moon Rising spoke with Todd Moe about the book and her spiritual connection to the natural world.

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Reported by

Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

Hearth Moon Rising says that, broadly speaking, Paganism is a collection of polytheistic or animistic spiritualistic paths. It comes from the Latin word meaning “of the country.” In the early days of Christianity, rural people tended to cling to the worship of nature and the old gods more than people living in the cities.

Today, pagan normally means spiritual practices and beliefs that can trace their roots to pre-Christian Europe. Because of the negative connotations that have surrounded the word, indigenous people have generally rejected the word.

Many pagan traditions are shamanistic. Hearth Moon Rising says that there is functionally very little difference between Paganism and the Native American spiritual tradition. Both utilize myth and symbolism to convey stories. Both employ some sort of meditative trance work and both place a high priority on healing. However, the ceremonial practices and the symbolism in the stories can differ.

Hearth Moon Rising likes to look at the recorded beliefs about an animal and then study the animal itself to figure out how the beliefs originated. She says that for instance, owls have often been used to help people with drinking problems. It turns out that experts believe this came from the “owl eyed look” that someone with a hangover has. She says that she’s fascinated with tracing animals and animal magic back to the origins within the animal itself.

Animal magic can mean doing ceremonial and spell work, usually for healing, which involves that animal’s spiritual work. It can also mean being immersed in the mythology of that animal or entering a state of consciousness where communication with that animal spirit or animal queen can happen.

Hearth Moon Rising sees herself as a midwife, helping people to discover their deeper spiritual relationships with the wilderness. She says that it’s helpful for her to live in the Adirondacks. In order for her to do her work, she needs to immerse herself in nature itself.

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