Thursday, May 30, 2019

FireEarth: Volcanic Tuff

FireEarth: Volcanic Tuff  
by Sammy Castonguay, M.Sc. Geological Science
View from top of Timber Gulch peering into Leslie Gulch with Mahogany Mountain on the dark horizon. The yellowish rocks in the foreground are the Tuff of Leslie Gulch. 
       Happy Summer Solstice! Following the peak luminosity of the Sun – we will soon enter the season of the Sun-Fire: SUMMER!
           In the May HedraNews[1] , I discussed the sediment association with AirEarth, which can be volcanic ash, fine silts, or even vesicular volcanic rocks (pumice and scoria). Some ash blows into the sky and falls to the ground as deposits (ash-fall), but some large, violent pyroclastic (“fire sediment”) eruptions form dense ash clouds. The density of the ash overcomes the ability to stay in the air, thus collapsing down onto the landscape as a pyroclastic ash-flow or nuée ardente (“glowing cloud”) that devastates the landscape with 1000°, sharp glass shards moving at hundreds of miles per hour. As the ash settles and loses heat, the base may re-melt and weld to form an ignimbrite, while the upper portions form a softer tuff rock. These types of volcanic origins invoke a FireEarth archetypal association.
           The Owyhee Mountains of southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and northcentral Nevada are a volcanic plateau dominated by this style of eruption. There are numerous caldera-style volcanoes [2] from which voluminous pyroclastic eruptions originated. For example, once such eruption nearly 14 million years ago was at least 600 times larger [3] than the Mt. St. Helens eruption that occurred in 1980. Known as the Tuff of Leslie Gulch this extensive ash-rock has spectacular natural beauty. The weathering pattern of this FireEarth is an ominous and impressive mix of towering spires and cavernous cliffs. It has been said, the spirits of the place reside on the tips of towers while the souls occupy the shaded caverns. 
       Beyond the archetype of fire, we at ThisMagickalEarth have made other archetypal associations: The yellow color, hot desertous biome, the gently curved hills and mounds, and the deep riparian slot-canyons invoke a feminine divine. The hot, yellow Sun is astrologically associated with the zodiacal constellation Leo. Thus, use this exotic yellow sediment to invoke:
Fire – Sun – Leo – Divine Feminine – Ancestors - Lust
           Though ThisMagickalEarth does supply respectfully collected[4] samples of the sediment eroded from this tuff (Tuff Leslie), we highly recommend those in the Boise area to visit the site for the maximum FireEarth healing benefit. It is a great landscape for hiking to a secluded spot for some hot yoga under the sun, meditation in a cavern, or tai chi on a ridge. The local conservation group Friends of the Owyhee[5] can help in navigating to the area or suggesting places to visit in addition to offering guided hikes and camping trips to the gulch every year.
              This sunny June, show your summer spirit by visiting your public lands and working with the FireEarth energy of the Owyhee!
Science. Spirit. Practice.  

1 AirEarth: Pumice HedraNews, May 2019 archived at
2 Caldera-style volcanoes: make a caldron like depression rather than a pointy mountain
3 [2016] Benson and Mahood, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
4 see Notes on Sediment Collection at


Tuff is a volcanic rock that consists of silicic ash particles (glass). Here at ThisMagickalEarth, it is very important to us to provide ETHICALLY SOURCED and RESPECTFULLY COLLECTED material. As pictured above, we use pumice that was hand collected from BLM land (public land). 

Tuff Leslie is the volcanic tuff sediment that we provide. Please visit this link to the ThisMagickalEarth Store to learn more about this product. 

Reproduced from HedraNews June 2019, with permission.
Other articles archived at 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Avengers Endgame: A Pagan Perspective

Avengers Endgame: A Pagan Perspective
The MCU is an environmental, paganism-laced fantasy Universe where science and spirituality are creating the mythology of the Marvel Pantheon. 

by Sammy Castonguay at

Avengers Endgame poster.jpg
The Avengers Endgame movie poster: Love it or hate it, the MCU and Superhero culture is a deification of our qualities, our situation on this planet, and our perceived ability to do anything for our future (credit: wiki-commons)

***If you haven't watched the movie you clearly do not care, so you will not mind all of the spoilers laced throughout this analysis. :) ***

I love this film, the 21 preceding, and the whole Marvel Comic book universe. At age 5, I had fallen in love with the animated series 'X-men'. Through my 20's, I didn't really care about superhero-stuff as I was busy with seemingly more intelligent activities, and I didn't watch Ironman until 2015 but when Thor: Ragnarok was released my son an I became instant MCU fanatics. Oh yeah, and we are an eclectic pagan family.

Popular culture is riddled with paganism--listen to this podcast for a recent discussion on this--but I specifically want to demonstrate how the MCU fits in. Yes, this is a direct response to the utter distaste of the "superhero crap" displayed by Scarlet and Dan in that podcast. That's OK, we all like different stuff :). I've written on the broad perspective I take on the definition of "paganism" elsewhere, but it is really important to note here that atheopaganism is a thing: "an Earth-honoring religious path rooted in science".

Joss Whedon, the director of the first two Avengers movies, is an atheist and humanist; there are many essays regarding his film making and culture. He had a fond response to the Endgame movie. He is an example of folks that can still identify with Goddesses and Gods as archetypes and teachers and not believe in them literally. After all, this is just fiction... [super]hero fantasy. Not unlike Aang the Avatar, Neo the Chosen One, Link as Zeldas chosen warrior, or Jesus as Gods Son. Etcetera Etcetera. A proven recipe: the hero archetype (thank you Joseph Campbell).

Superheros in their modern form (rise of the comic book) are essentially our rendition of the legendary characters that fill a mythology. Superheros are modern day Gods. This statement has clear overlap to the concept developed in Neil Gaiman's book "American Gods" (which, I gather, is now a small-screen series). For a deeper comparison, Don Locicero wrote a great encyclopedic-like reference book comparing ancient deities to modern superheros (Superheros and Gods: A comparitive study from Babylonia to Batman). Other recommended books on the topic: the 2007 Our Gods where Spandex by Chris Knowles and in 2016 The Mythology of Superheros by Andrew Bahlmann. These citations demonstrate that this (Superheros as Gods) is an already fairly commonly explored topic.

Really? Modern-day Gods? Maybe a stretch for you, but it is difficult to argue that Superheroism does not have a significant psychological impact on society today. It is everywhere. Omnipresent. Even if you do not like it, the examples pervade the culture. What good could come of this?

Back in 2012, I had read an article or blog (unfortunately, I cannot find that article) that addressed the society-wide pathological disorder of seeking a savior to save us from our own undoing--like asking the Gods to save of from climate change. Since our scientific society largely understands this as futile, we have switched our faith in the divine to a faith in the super-human. Though we know our surmounting problems, we still fantastically export the solutions to some super-human strength person (superhero). Our culture (I use this as Daniel Quinn does) has a deep obsession with the 'end-of-days' or the Apocalypse.

At least one large company (CNBC) review of the movie discussed the underlying environmental politics of the plot. So I wont recapitulate that here. Instead, lets look at The Avengers as a modern day pantheon of Gods and Goddesses as archetypes of ourselves in context of the ensuing environmental crisis.

The MCU Pantheon

Thor - God of the Old Gods

Thor (2011) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb) Yes, Thor is a literal God in the MCU. But it turns out what we here on Earth (Midgard) call Gods, are basically space-people. Asgard is just another planet in the MCU, among thousand. Its end of days comes in Thor: Ragnarok, which is taken from the pages of Norse Mythology (as is Thor and the rest of the Asgardian characters). When Captain America first encounters him, he says "There's only one God, mam, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that". 

Thor as an Avenger is representative of our Old Gods. All of them, well except for the One that Cap is referencing. From Norse to Aztec or Babylonian to Hindu, the Old Gods in this world are out of vogue. Of of the people in the world that believe in such things, the overwhelming majority just believe in One ... and it is not Thor, Brigid, or Oshun. In the MCU, Thor is fighting alongside the rest of our human archetypes and I see him, specifically in the latest film, as a sad, hopeless, depressed Old God that knows he has let us down. Not so God like, but very human. This reminds us that all Gods are really just made up of ourselves, with faults. His mother tells him to "be who you are, not who you are supposed to be". Many a hero has been made by peer pressure. Doing the right thing for the common good is heroic, but when one is motivated an identity, fate, obligation, or fulfilling a prophecy it becomes less noble. Thor--our belief in Old Gods--is finally transitioning to not be what we expect them to be but what they are: Legendary. 

Captain America - God of Identity 

Captain America: The First Avenger wallpapers and images ...'Cap' is the epitome of a self-assured Hero identity. He is an unwavering patriot (well, except the Civil War thing, and then the "Hail Hydra" thing...). He identifies with where he is from, who he is, the time he is from, and a valiant altruism of doing the right thing. Self sacrificial. A martyr. Captain America came from a bottle, but the essence of Steve Rogers has been the most powerful aspect of this Superhero.

Identity politics are polarizing but inspiring. If we remain to be lost in the la-la-land in which our identity is based on race, nationalism and ideology, then identity politics will continue to be polarizing. Identity is not individual. No human, ever, has been only an individual. Instead, if we enjoy our collective identity as Children of the Earth along with the rest of the global ecology and humbly realize we are all in this together then maybe we can enjoy the fruits of the inspiration identity brings. Though a global culture, one-world governance, or one-size-fits-all approach is not a solution because this planet is still made up of many diverse bioregions.

A strong identity with place has long been the basis of culture. I once heard on a podcast, the Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann but I cannot recall the guest or episode number, "a culture is reflection of a landscape". Throughout time, this has been true. Globalism and Colonialism have done much to make this less true, but still people generally identify with where they are 'from'. It is a strong sense of our place that encourages many to be moved toward ecological solutions when that place shows the impacts. Those solutions will vary from bioregion to bioregion and a place-based identity within a global context embraces that flexibility.

For example, I am a Cascadian. The region known as the Pacific Northwest is a distinct bioregion of the Columbia and Fraser rivers. Besides a distinct biome, there exists are resilient bioregional culture. One measure of this is politics, as the bioregion has a similar voting block record on many social  and environmental justice issues. The sense of pride we Cascadians have for the the land and people here has motivated many, many people to become active in local agriculture, local volunteer projects, and local politics to strengthen communities (social permaculture).

Captain America doesnt represent just America's interests, or any world government, as revealed in the events of Captain America: Civil War. Instead, his 'valiant altruism of doing the right thing' makes him a leader of people that share his ideals or a diplomat across ideals. Every bioregion has its set of leaders that work together for the bioregion and the connecting bioregions will inevitable have differences in culture that emerge from the differences in landscape.

Does this sound like Tribalism? It should. Despite the use of the word to describe Identity Politics and Nationalism, Tribalism is not a system of governance that promotes boarders or exclusivity but instead promotes negotiation across regions. Of all the ways people have organized themselves to nurture and protect themselves, Tribalism has the longest track-record of success. That right, Tribalism works. It is inherently flexible and there is no modern tribe ever documented by anthropologists that does things exactly the same, even neighboring tribes. Why? Because culture is a reflection of a landscape and landscapes vary. Now, I dont want to be all romantic about past or present tribal societies and claim it was perfect. Far from it, with low life expectancy and brutal violence during tribal warfare. I am not advocating for going back to tribalism, I'm instead advocating for moving forward embracing forms of Bioregional Tribalism. For more conversation on this, read some of Daniel Quinn's books. Captain America, God of Identity, helps inspire us to work together while appreciating our differences.

Black Widow - Goddess of the 20th Century Women 

Marvels Avenger Black Widow Scarlett Johansson Poster and ...
Arguably the most mysterious and complex character of the Avengers lot. We know so little of her past, but in every movie we are treated to her amazing Women-hood. She is the Soul of the Avengers. She is extremely intelligent, business savvy, very professional, ... and motherly figure to every Avenger (she has a candid, touching, advisory conversation all of them at some point. Thor?). And most importantly she is not super. Yes, this hero (and Hawkeye) are us: normal-ish people who fall in with a gang of supers. Natasha Romenoff is a modern day Athena like goddess: Goddess of the Hunt, stealth, cunning, deadly. She has been forced into this lifestyle and these skills, to the extent that even her life-giving womb was rendered sterile. The Man, a government of power of the controlling patriarchy of her region swept her into his grasp. She escaped. Joined SHIELD. She is a heroin Goddess that has escaped the clutches, but still serves under the thumb of War. She might be a badass, but this is not her most Goddess-like quality from this saga.

There is still something very dysfunctional about this Goddess archetype, the sexy clad, arousing femme fatal, a token, the most womanly-woman standing equal with the supermen. She sacrifices herself in exchange for the Soul Stone and the chance for redemption. For the greater good, the primary women hero of the story is self-sacrificial for this motive. There is something, then, of the Goddess she represents that needs to pass as we address our global problems.

Brute force is not working. Womanly intelligence will.
I am really fond of the Feminine Divine movements and one of my favorite podcast on this topic is hosted by Karen Tate: Voices of the Sacred Feminine: Sex, Power, Religion, and Politics!. Before moving on from Black Widow, I must acknowledge the epic sacred feminine scene from the film where ALL the woman characters showcased in this saga appear together to defend the young man Peter Parker (Spider-man).

Women (goddesses) today are doing the best to fight for future generations social equity. Even young white males (Paker) are the allies in dismantling the choke-hold the monotheistic patriarchy has on the Great Mother (forming Mother Culture, as Quinn would use it).

Hawkeye - God of the 20th Century Man  

A father, who went totally kill-spree vigilante when his family dissolved away in the decimation. Similarly to Black Widow, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is a normal(ish) dude but with freakishly amazing box (and sword) skills. The self-sacrifice of Natasha was after a clash with Barton who was also trying to sacrifice himself.
Avengers Age of Ultron 2015 Wallpaper | KFZoom

Men. Most of the religious world believes their One God is a man and the modern scientific Darwinism has reinforced this meme displaying Alpha males and strongest survive themes while anthropomorphically portraying animals. The patriarchy and the supreme man has probably been the most devastating act of history leading us to our current global catastrophe. This is a real multi-faceted topic I'm not going to bite off much more here and instead move on with the analysis.

The modern man also need undergo sacrifice, and we know it. Toxic masculinity sound familiar? There is probably a reason that most animals exclusively let the females raise young. Because males are shitty moms. Sure, I've done my part to raise my three kids but as feminine as I am EVERY SINGLE WOMAN in their life has surpasses me in demonstrating compassion, raw unconditional love, and emotional support. Maybe I'm just a shitty dad ... but my own mommy and eldest son (probably the best two data points) assure me not so. My point here is that even the best men in our society still operate under and [sub]consciously endorse the patriarchy. We are still victims of this tragedy of history and in many ways it is most devastating to us (men).
Avengers: Infinity War - Does Hawkeye's Retirement Mean ...
Our masculine identity has been hi-jacked by the patriarchy. Instead of the male identity being tied to wholesome qualities, today our male idolatry is almost exclusively warfare and rape culture.

As an academic, I'm generally pigeon-holed by real men as a pussy, talks faggy, and a tree huger. I could go on, but most reading this already know the battle sensitive men face from within the gender. I'm positive the same standard is held for women, as so many professional women talked down to my spouse for choosing be a stay-at-home-mom.
I think the patriarchy has us very confused on the subject of gender. Clearly, as the establishment has generally frowned upon gender fluidity and sexual identity.

Though there is something modern men need to sacrifice, it is not the loving father and courageous, amiable portrayed by Clint Barton. Those are the qualities to be revered and they can co-habitat with the traditional masculine qualities of brute strength, protective, and critical. Truth is there are no masculine or feminine qualities, they are just human qualities and any gender can display them. We all have brains, sex organs, and muscle, but each uses them to their own capacity.

Hulk - God of Brain-Brawn Union

Marvel Has Release The "Professor Hulk" Scene From ...
The Hulk is a classic muscle bound, rage driven, dumb-dumb portrayal of the Warfare Man. While Bruce Banner is a classic meekish, four-eyed, soft spoken egg-head of the Smarty Pants Man. Hulk is a male character, but lets get out of the gender topic. Banner/Hulk, Jekyll/Hyde, or Lilith/Night Hag are just some portrayals of Light and Dark differentiating and manifesting in one person.

Avengers Infinity War theory says Hulk will return in ...As Hulk finds, brute force is actually useful for some things, such as his favorite thing: SMASH! "If your a hammer, everything looks like a nail" comes to mind. But Banner must deal with the reality that the destruction left in wake is actually counter productive. But Banners intelligence wasnt a lot of help during Infinity War and he wound up in the iron suite Veronica (Hulk Buster) because brute force was needed. Classic Yin-Yang scenario. Balance of two aspects, neither is as useful on its own as with the other.
New 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' trailer gives us a Vision ...

For us, brute force has worked for a long time. Need food? Just plow the soil and plant specific seeds. Need energy? Just bring down some trees or extract from the ground. Need those people to stop doing what they are doing? Just bash them with your newest death invention. Now, all of these things take brains (Hulk still has a brain, just occupied with smashing) but the real use of the brainpower is to solve the immediate problem instead of thinking through the actions. Thus, our use of brute force has left a path of destruction in its wake: depleted soils, rapid fossil fuel depletion and greenhouse gas emissions, and mass shootings.

If you had a time-machine (Ok, points that start with this are usually stupid, but bear with me) and you traveled back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with the knowledge that one day industrial waste and fossil fuel depletion and emissions would threaten global political stability of our species, there would be a great chance to draft regulations. However, that is hindsight and doesn't apply. Instead, we can use the gift of historical knowledge. One of my favorite books I recently read (well, audible) is by Yuval Noah Harari and titled 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. This was the third book and was set up by the previous two: Sapiens: Brief History of  Humankind and then Homo Dues: A Brief History of Tomorrow. This is our greatest superpower: knowing so much about our past to apply to our future.

In the 300,000 years of our species most of the time we were using our brain and brawn in some sort of equal and collaborative capacity and didnt leave much of a trace. We have abandoned that model and have instead just smashed our way through history, for better or worse. Doesn't matter because it is where we are. What matters is identifying the areas where our ideologies (brains) were misinformed and therefore misdirected our force (brawn). A unification of Brain and Brawn in an equal capacity will serve us well in planning for the post-oil world. It is not going to be massive, complex, industrial scale smashing operations that will lead us to some form of sustainability. Instead, it is the simple, decentralized solutions that can be performed by anyone, anywhere that will likely benefit us most.

Professor Hulk debuted in Endgame. In one scene, he softly explains "I put the brains and brawn together". Professor Hulk is a God of Union. An idol to help us collect our wits and the raw energy we have left to make a wise plan for the future. 

Ironman - God of Technology 

Textless Poster: Iron Man| Infinity War by 4n4rkyX on ...We know we need help. We know the global problems, spanning from capitalistic driven destruction of the living space to the continued ethnic inequality. Technology has helped a lot, really more than anything else and we are now on a better trajectory. Actually, things look simultaneously worse in reality but better in prospect than any time earlier. We know we can
do this, be a better species, both thrive and share the place. But there is much that stands in the way: small forces resisting local change but more impending is the vision of the endgame if the ideologies of Super-Villain Gods stand against us.

Technology is also a large part, well the primary force, underlying our global situation. The techno-fix: if something is broken, fix it with a gadget. Works for a ton of problems, but in the accumulation of gadgets we kind of forgot the gadgets are made of stuff that needs to be collected (grown or mined). The gadgets also have limits, like physics and chemistry, but because we misunderstand those things we have developed a sort of faith in technology: "someone will invent something to save us from that problem". But inventing that thing actually creates more problems. Like lithium battery tech. It is great for recharging and can offset some fossil fuel emissions to the individual, but is really intensive to mine, process, and transport to the fossil fuel emissions are just deferred to a different process. At the extreme version, you have Ultron. But we have a good handle on the sci-fi concept of our AI robots taking over for us (Terminator, Matrix, etc.)--or do we?

Anyway, Tony Stark is a human and not superhuman. He has capitalism and sci-fi fantasy invention at his disposal. Pretty much anything is possible with the metal Vibranium and the physics-bending inventions possible in MCU.

So, the God of Technology is our faith in ourselves to invent stuff to save us.

But Tony dies. The God of Technology self-annihilates for the greater good. It is about time for us to realized we must self-sacrifice our crack-addiction to electrical and fossil fuel-based technology to break free from the viscous cycle of blind-faith in our technology. We have limits and our fancy technology does not make us real Gods, just white-dudes in suits.

The films last moment of Stark is a hologram message in-case of "untimely death". He states his surprise that, in the span of 10 years, it is now known that the Universe they occupy is way bigger that just our world. There are struggles between light and dark on that platform that we are now a part of. He says in the message this is now something his surviving daughter will grow up facing. We know the problems we face, for the most part, and have even been aware of many of them for decades. We are now in the Endgame and it is all too common that we identify it the children/young adults of today (Gen Z) will face the most dramatic consequences. 

We could continue through the rest of the Avenger Superheros and identify similar qualities, but those are the main 5 and more importantly we need to discuss the Villain:

Thanos - "I am inevitable

Thanos Isn't Finished with Avengers: Endgame Heroes Warns ...In the MCU, the villain is not simply power hungry, but is instead motivated by His perception of the greater good. He believes himself to be the One, the only one, that can restore balance by only His method. He believes himself to have omniscience, all knowing, and that all others in the entire Universe must accord to His way. He commands it.

His Malthusian philosophy (Thomas Robert Malthus, 1798 An Essay on the Principle of Population) is not foreign to our self-realized setting: over-population pressure on the global capacity of carbon-based life. Does Malthus = Thanos?; as one of Malthus' fatal flaws was the invocation of human sacrifice and even euthanasia. Again, Malthus = Thanos? His entire solution to environmental pressures, the resource shortages caused by overpopulation, is 'they cannot do it themselves, therefor some God needs to take matters into His hand to reduce the population'. He is so sure, he willingly sacrifices his adopted daughter in exchange for the Soul Stone.

He refers to himself as "inevitable" and when the Avengers encounter past-Thanos in the last hour of the film, the first thing he says to them is "everything you have done, leads you right back to me". He states his frustration with the result of the snap, that instead of balance restored and a grateful response (worship?) from the people of the Universe, the Avengers un-due his progress with a reverse snap. Because he [thinks] he is all-knowing and can be all-powerful (omnipotence) with the stones, he realizes just decimating half population was not enough. His new plan is to use the power of the stones to reduce the entire Universe to atoms and then form a new Universe. A grateful one, were the beings do not squabble about what they do not have but instead only know what they have. "One made of blood" Cap says. But Thanos knows his new creation will not care, because they will not know. They will never know their Creator obliterated a previous Universe to form his perception of a perfect one.

Of course, Thanos is a modern-day, scientific manifestation of Yaweh, God, or Allah:

God of the One-True-Way

He is adamant. He is the only one that knows what to do. He visions himself as a Creator of a new Universe. When he realizes he did not exceed in the first plan (Sodom and Gomorrah), he reacted and contrived a second (The Flood).

And in a way, he brought the Avengers together. As today, the problems that are rooted in monotheistic traditions are bringing us together.

God and Thanos are inevitable. Their wrath at the disappointment of the people of this Universe inevitably results in destruction. Some God-believers wrote a book about it. Even in Thors native religion Ragnarok comes. Again, we are obsessed with the Apocalypse, the end-of-times though we know it is a self-fulfilled prophecy created from the observation of our habits post-farming. It is literally ingrained in our culture (Daniel Quinn-esque) that this is inevitable. But we continue to invent hope. The Avengers give us hope that these human archetypes can defeat the entitlement of the mono-God.

 "There is no amount of money 
that has ever bought a second of time".

We would be wise to heed this advice, that Tony Stark lent his father, Howard, while crossing paths in the past. From this pagan, environmental perspective: our economic gain of the past and our economic system based on those growths (money) will never be able to buy us this time (the Holocene) back. The money of tomorrow will not solve the problems of yesterday. The emissions you produce today cannot be paid for tomorrow. Chemistry doesn't work like that. We should be investing in our current alternative electricity generating infrastructure NOW, not waiting until it becomes either economically profitable or necessary.

But of course we wont. Or, we haven't. It is inevitable, goes the cultural narrative. We will continue to wait for our savior. Either the second coming of Christ (or first) will save those worthy, for the next wave of fictional superheros, or for our next great technology to make it all go away. Run-away capitalism is the hand that feeds us and we are wretchedly afraid of how to live our lives without the necessities it offers. At the very least, capitalism can still feed us with mythology. The Marvel studios will continue to feed us [awesome] superhero movies, that both waste thousands of dollars and bundles of resources while also stealing our time from actually making a difference and placating our desire to watch our own demise... but of course the Avengers will save us.

Avengers: A New Beginning

My genie-from-the-bottle wish for today is that the Marvel Studios will embrace the environmental philosophy and actually use the big screen to tackle real problems and ditch the metaphor. Of course capitalism prohibits this because the Powers than fuel this saga, even if they philosophically agree, fear the political backlash of making such things main-stream.

After the decimation and the reanimation of all those that were dusted, the real people of Earth in this fictional Universe are probably primed and ready for moving on with life in a new way. An Avenger team that is working toward future prosperity by using regenerative technologies. A film to give us real hope. Actors and the whole studio production could actually be real forces of change. With Tony gone and young Morgan Stark primed for taking the spotlight, maybe Stark Industries can be displayed as the leader in simple, efficient, regenerative technologies. Professor Hulk would be a hell of an infrastructural engineer, planning permaculture systems while making hugelcultures and bioswales with his giant bare hands. Thor can inspire a spiritual connection to our ancestors and the natural systems void of all the religious doctrine. The new Captain Falcon can inspire national identity without inciting Nationalism, to be proud of where we are from but also proud to share what we have while asking nicely for things we do not (diplomatic trade). Natasha is gone, but it is clear that Barton will probably be on his family friendly farm being a regenerative force. Maybe Natasha can be resurrected from the Soul Stone and can be portrayed as a farming midwife (like an Ina May Gaskin, a living Goddess).

If you read any of this, you probably noticed some pretty far-out ideals, opinions, and proposals. Do not take this too literally, but I am serious.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

AirEarth: Pumice

AirEarth: Pumice  
by Sammy Castonguay, M.Sc. Geological Science
Credit: Tracy Terrall
Crack-in-the Ground paleoseismic trench, 2010
The pile of sediment, picture left (north) is mostly Mazama ash. In the photo, I am collecting 1/4 baggies of representative samples from the exposed stratigraphy. Two of these baggies have become the Mazama Air-Fall magickal sediment discussed here. 

           Merry May Day! Rejoice in Beltane! The Spring season is associated with the element Air because of the gusty, tumultuous nature of the atmosphere. Feel the breeze! The wind beneath your wings! Following the article on WaterEarth[1], I’d like to honor the Air:
Mazama was a towering giant.  Until one day, trapped heat and gases caused a catastrophic eruption that ultimately destroyed his top. His hot ash was blasted into the air and then blanketed the landscape, later becoming fertile soil for growth. The glassy granules are vesicular, full of air-gas pockets.
As did the ash, rise above.
The eruption of Mt. Mazama approximately 7,600 years ago resulted in modern day Crater Lake, the jewel of Oregon. The eruption sent pumice ash clouds across the east. In the Crack-in-the-Ground fault, some of this ash accumulated but was later buried. A 2011 study of the fault activity[2]  exposed some of this remarkable pumice ash , which was recovered under the summer solstice [3].
At ThisMagickalEarth, we use pumice that was ejected from Mazama (Mazama Air-Fall) in a, healing, holistic, and sacred way to invoke:

Air/Fire  -  Interstellar Space  -  Aquarius  -  Hair  -  Rising Above

           Gas is the lightest of the phases of matter, and so has the buoyancy to rise above. 
During eruption volcanic gases are trapped in the lava fragments, which forms vesicular pockets in the rocks. Carbon dioxide, water gas, and methane are all common volcanic gases. This gives pumice a spongy looking texture and lava rock a scoria texture. After the solar system formed out of an interstellar nebula, gases were trapped in the mantle. During the Earth’s Hadean era, those volcanic gases were the source of the second, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. The atmospheric gases protect us from the cold vacuum of space. The atmosphere also distributes the sun’s heat more evenly around the earth (the weather). In a storm front, the gust of wind in the air is the water-bearer to Earth. Next time there is a storm on the spring horizon, feel the air through your hair and acknowledge its importance.
           You can invoke this connection by using this MagickalEarth--a crystal--in your energy work: use Mazama Air-fall as a bed under a cone incense, as an abrasive in a home-made bar of soap, or as a simple offering to Air as a thanks for your life. 
Science. Spirit. Practice.
1 WaterEarth: Serpentinite, HedraNews, April 2019 archived at
2 [Castonguay et al., 2011] Paleoseismology of Crack-in-the-Ground Fault, AGU
3 see Notes on Sediment Collection at


Pumice is a volcanic rock that consists of silicic glass and vesicles (gasses trapped during solidification, but have sense escaped). The rock is used in a variety of care products and industry use, but where did it come from? You would be hard pressed to find the answer to that question from the shopkeeper. Here at ThisMagickalEarth, it is very important to us to provide ETHICALLY SOURCED and RESPECTFULLY COLLECTED material. As pictured above, we use pumice that was hand collected from BLM land (public land, all permits and permissions approved) during a scientific, fault activity study. Part of these results were published in the academic journal Geosphere. 

Mazama Air-Fall is the pumice sediment that we provide. Please visit this link to the ThisMagickalEarth Store to learn more about this product. 

Reproduced from HedraNews May 2019, with permission.
Other articles archived at