Category Archives: Writing

“Plant and Fungus Spirits” – Updated and Annotated Edition Now Available!

Hey, everyone! My book Plant and Fungus Totems, originally published via Llewellyn, went out of print earlier this year. I’ve since updated and annotated it and released a new edition as Plant and Fungus Spirits. In addition to adding bits of new information or making other small changes, I’ve also removed the term “totem” other than where it refers to certain indigenous beliefs and practices. This is keeping in line with my other older books that I’ve re-released as self-published editions.

You can purchase Plant and Fungus Spirits as a paperback or an ebook by clicking here.

Sometimes the best teachers are those we often overlook! Explore the world of plant spirits, green beings who thrive on sunlight. Delve into the depths of fungus spirits, permeating the very soil beneath our feet. This book offers three unique approaches to working with these spirits:

*The Bioregional Model invites you to deepen your relationship to the physical land around you through the spirits that live there.

*The Correspondences Model combines the symbols of your path into your work with nature spirits.

*The Archetypal Model allows your spirit guides to help you through the intricacies of your inner self so you can know yourself better.

Whether you choose one of these models, or a combination, Plant and Fungus Spirits offers you meditations, examples and other tools to invite these spirits into your life. An excellent book for the beginner and the experienced practitioner alike!

You can purchase Plant and Fungus Spirits as a paperback or an ebook by clicking here.

Yes, You Can Be Part of Vulture Culture!

I recently got an email from someone who was interested in Vulture Culture, but felt like they couldn’t actually be a participating member of this “fandom” unless they were tanning their own hides and cleaning their own bones and otherwise processing their own specimens. It’s not the first time I’ve run into this, either. It’s great that so many Vultures are learning these skills, and DIYing their way through their hobby! But it’s not absolutely necessary.

I mean, look at me. I’ve been working with hides and bones and other specimens in my art for over twenty years, and if you count my childhood collecting I’ve been part of what would become Vulture Culture for well over three decades, longer than some Vultures have been alive. And you know what? I’ve never tanned a hide, and only cleaned a couple of skulls. I can dry-preserve wings, but that’s really about it.*

And that doesn’t make me any less sincere or valid a member of Vulture Culture than all those awesome DIYers out there. There are plenty of reasons someone might not get into the messier aspects of the hobby:

–No place to process a bunch of smelly, fresh specimens (or long-dead smelly ones, either!)

–No money to buy supplies, even the cheapest options

–No time to go through the lengthy processes of bone cleaning or fur and leather tanning

–No interest in doing these things, preferring other ways to participate

And there are so many ways to participate, just like any other fandom! You can collect your favorite sorts of specimens (I’m partial to skulls, myself.) Looking for animal bones out in the wild is also a popular pursuit if you have access, but other found specimens can include (legal) feathers, dead insects, shed snake skins, and so forth. Maybe you’re like me and you enjoy making art from specimens already preserved, or using them as art references for traditional media. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just liking to see pictures of other people’s collections, even if you don’t have anything yourself.

My point is, not everyone has to DIY their hobby. You can appreciate others’ efforts without feeling like you’re not as genuine a Vulture because you’re not out there saving every bit of roadkill you can find. Ultimately it’s all about your enjoyment, and if you’re too worried about “doing it right”, you’re not going to have fun! So relax, participate with Vulture Culture in whatever ways you see fit and to whatever degree you prefer, and allow yourself the freedom to explore without pressure!

* Because I wanted to shared these skills but hadn’t developed them myself, I hired guest writers for the how-to tutorials for my book Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things. I felt that made it a much more complete book on the subculture, and it gave some other writers a chance to show off their chops. But it also allowed me to stick to the things I really enjoy doing, like writing!

Did you enjoy this post? Consider supporting my work by buying a book (including paperbacks and ebooks) or my artwork, or becoming my Patron on Patreon! You can also tip me on my Ko-Fi profile!

Updated Editions of Early Books Now Available!

I am pleased to announce that I have released updated and annotated editions of my three earliest books: Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone; DIY Animism (formerly DIY Totemism); and Skin Spirits! These were originally published between 2006 and 2009 by Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press. My parting with them is on good terms, and I highly, highly recommend them for anyone wishing to go the small press route for either sci fi and fantasy fiction, or pagan and occult nonfiction. I’ve just been moving more toward self publishing for the bulk of my works in recent years and was given back the rights to these earlier works. (Both the anthologies I did for IP/MB, Talking About the Elephant and Engaging the Spirit World are now permanently out of print.)

I’ve completely redone the interior layout and covers of the books; the interiors are more compact to cut down on paper usage, and the covers feature my own photos and design. My material is much the same, though I’ve added updates where information has been outdated. I’ve also changed quite a bit as a practitioner, and I’ve annotated the texts to note where I either don’t use a practice any more, or wanted to clarify things that I felt needed a little expansion.

You’ll also notice that I’ve ceased using the terms “totem” and “shamanism”. I’ve chosen to do this as these terms were appropriated from the Ojiwbe and the Evenk, respectively, and while they have been used more generally in both anthropological and spiritual settings, I’ve decided to switch to more culturally neutral terms like animal spirit and animism. I’ve done my best to update the language in these early books to use different terminology while making the text still make sense, and keeping totem and shamanism only where I discuss indigenous practices.

All three books are now available as both paperbacks and ebooks through my website at http://www.thegreenwolf.com/books. Thank you!

Introducing Pocket Osteomancy: A Simple Bone Divination Set

Surprise! I have a new book! Well, booklet, anyway. And there’s a nifty handmade divination set with it, too!

Pocket Osteomancy is a bone divination system that I created based loosely on the Minor Arcana of the Tarot of Bones. It’s a bone casting method using a casting cloth divided into four quadrants. I first released it to some of my Patrons on Patreon last year so that they could try it out, but they only had a single instruction sheet to work with. Now I’ve fleshed that out into a 24-page booklet available as a paperback or ebook, and you can purchase the casting cloth and bones as well!

Divination with bones doesn’t have to be complicated! Pocket Osteomancy: A Simple Bone Divination Set is a simple but effective system for using animal bones to focus your intuition and explore possibilities in your present and future. It’s great for both beginners who may feel intimidated by more complex systems, and also provides a basic structure for more experienced practitioners to build on and explore.

I’ve ordered paperbacks and they should be here within the next week to week and a half, so you can go ahead and place your orders now. I will fill ALL orders once the paperbacks have arrived. You can make your purchase here at https://thegreenwolf.com/pocket-osteomancy/.

Commissions and a Brief Update!

Hi, all! Long time, no chat!

First, I wanted to let you know I’m open for commissions on something that’s not my usual hide and bone art. This month my $15 Patrons at http://www.patreon.com/lupagreenwolf got these awesome 3″ x 3″ mini wildlife paintings in the mail. I am now open for commissions if you’d like one of your own! Your choice of species (animal, plant or fungus) and background colors/pattern for $15 plus shipping anywhere in the world. Comment or email me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com if interested! Here are a couple more detail shots:


Second, I just wanted to touch base with you about how things are going here. I know I haven’t been blogging a lot lately; most of my writing energy has gone toward putting the finishing touches on Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things. I’ve also still been creating artwork, but I’ve also been doing some volunteer and contracted work for a local conservation organization. So I’ve been super busy, just a lot of it has been behind the scenes.

I’m hoping to have some new posts here soon enough, so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Call For Writers For Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things

Hey, everyone! So in case you haven’t heard, I am writing a book about Vulture Culture, the “fandom” that’s sprung up around the appreciation of hides, bones and other dead things in recent years. The working title is Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, and I will be self-publishing it via CreateSpace; the projected date of publication is Summer 2018. Currently, the first draft of the book is done, and I am working on edits and revisions. There’s also an IndieGoGo campaign through March 23 at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101 which has already met its initial goal and is working toward stretch goals.

While I have spent over twenty years making hide and bone art, I do not have extensive experience with tanning hides or cleaning bones or otherwise prepared raw specimens. However, no book on Vulture Culture would be complete without tutorials on some basic processes, which is why I’m seeking writers to contribute essays!

Each essayist will be compensated with $100 and 10 paperback copies of Vulture Culture 101 once it has been published. Thank you again to my IndieGoGo contributors for helping to make this happen!

I am seeking one essay each on the following topics:

  • Skinning a freshly dead or frozen and thawed animal and preparing the hide for tanning
  • Tanning a hair-on hide, starting with a raw hide (rabbit would be best as it’s a nice small hide that’s easy and inexpensive to acquire); while you may choose one method of tanning, such as alum, please briefly mention other tanning methods like egg tanning
  • Brain-tanning leather, starting with a hair-on hide (deer is most popular but I’m open to other easy to acquire suggestions like goat)
  • Cleaning bones through maceration, starting with a whole skinned carcass, though with a brief mention of dermestid beetles and nature cleaning as alternatives, and proceeding through degreasing and whitening
  • Wet specimens in jars, to include long-term care, how to change out old fluids, etc.
  • Very basic mouse or rat taxidermy, including how to prepare the hide, positioning, etc.
  • The basics of skeleton articulation; there’s not space to go through an entire skeletal articulation, but at least give people an idea of the tools and methods involved, and basic steps from skeleton acquisition to final display

Essays should have the following qualities:

  • Between 1500 and 2000 words (you may be able to go over that a bit if you need the space)
  • Written in easy to read English and suitable for a general audience
  • Thoroughly explain the topic in a step-by-step manner; steps should be numbered
  • Be accompanied by at least 4-6 print-quality photos showing different steps of the process (if you have to show different animals at different stages of the process, such as for longer processes like maceration, that’s fine, so long as all pertinent stages are covered clearly)
  • Should not be previously published, either in print or online. If you’ve written similar essays that’s fine, just write a unique one for this project

I will have already covered topics like where to get hides and bones, and legalities concerning them, so you don’t need to go over them again. Stick to the how-tos of your topic. I will be doing some basic editing and proofreading, but you should be sending me final drafts by the due date.

Please apply by contacting me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com; you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Your name, general location, email address and phone number
  • A brief description of your experience in working with hides and/or bones and/or other dead things
  • Which topic you would like to write about and what makes you qualified to write about it (you can apply for more than one topic; however, only one topic will be assigned to one writer unless there is a serious lack of suitable writers)
  • At least three samples of your writing, published or not; Vulture Culture topics and how-to articles are extra-awesome, but send the best of whatever you have. Please also send a few sample photos showing your photography skills. You can send them as links and/or attachments.
  • If you are under the age of 18, proof of permission by a parent or legal guardian

The deadline to apply is March 28, 2018. Selections will be made by April 7, 2018 at which point acceptance letters and contracts will be sent out. Completed final essays have a FIRM due date of June 7, 2018, so please make sure before you apply that you can dedicate the time to finishing your essay on time. You can also send me drafts in progress before that point if you’d like feedback.

Thank you!

The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign is Live!

The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign is officially live at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101!
What compels me and many other people to fill our homes with the preserved remains of animals, and how can you join in the fun? Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things explores the modern revival in acquiring, preserving and creating art with these natural specimens. Written by author and artist Lupa, this is the first full-length guide to Vulture Culture, a subculture that in recent years has grown up around the appreciation of hides, bones and other animal specimens.
Want to help Vulture Culture 101 become a reality AND get your copy of the book at the lowest price ever? Want to get neat perks like my other books and art made from hides and bones? Want to help a self-employed author and artist create a valuable resource both for members of the V.ulture Culture, and people who are just curious about what it’s all about?
Back the Vulture Culture 101 campaign today at http://igg.me/at/vultureculture101! We’re already well on our way, and early bird specials are going fast. Even if you can’t back the campaign right this moment, please send the campaign to anyone you feel may be interested, and thank you for your support 🙂

When You Steal a Book From an Author

So yet another admin of a Facebook group has decided that copyright doesn’t apply to them; a particular group has over 2000 pdfs of pagan books, including a LOT that are still under copyright. I mean, for pity’s sake, some of them even have “no-drm” in the file name, denoting that someone originally knew that book had digital rights management software attached to it, which means DON’T STEAL IT. My publisher for my books that are affects is already dealing with the DMCA takedowns, so I am here being unhappy that in 2017 this sort of thing is still happening.

Let me tell you something: when I write a book, I put literally hundreds of hours of my time into writing, editing and research, and that’s before the manuscript even goes to the publisher. If I’m self-publishing, I put in even more time with re-editing, proofreading, layout and interior design, book cover layout and design, file preparation, marketing and promotion and, of course, direct sales. The Tarot of Bones deck and book? Easily has a four-digit number of hours attached to it, and still counting since I am the sole distributor and marketer for it.

And unless I’m fortunate enough to get an advance from a publisher or have a successful crowdfunding campaign for a self-published project, I’m doing all this up-front work unpaid. Once I do get paid, tallying up the royalties and the income against the expenses? I’m not even making minimum wage. We authors have to play the long game, hoping that our books stay in print long enough to keep selling enough copies to maybe break even. I don’t know of a single pagan author who makes a living solely on book sales. Everyone has either a side hustle or a day job–or both.

Just because you legitimately bought a copy of the book doesn’t entitle you to ignore copyright. People who pirate have this idea that sharing ebooks is exactly the same as loaning a hardcopy version to a friend, or making photocopies of a few pages and giving them to a handful of students. Wake-up call, chum: sharing ebooks is not the same as passing a paperback around your coven. It can take months for that one paperback to work its way around thirteen people (longer if one of them “just needs a little more time, honestly!”) An ebook posted in a Facebook group, on the other hand, is going to hundreds, if not thousands, of people who can access it instantly.

It’s also not the same as getting a book from a library. Your average library book is only going to get checked out a dozen or so times a year, maybe a little more or less. Again, this is nowhere near the same as sending the PDF to thousands of people at once. Nor is that PDF the same as someone buying a secondhand copy at a thrift store; again, it can only go so far, so quickly. Sure, maybe a few of those people who read the pirated PDF might buy a new copy of the book, but the vast majority won’t. I’ve had my books pirated before, and if those people were all buying paperbacks from me I’d have a hell of a lot more money.

If I wanted people to be able to have access to a work that I put hundreds of hours of effort into free of charge, I would have released it into the wild myself, not chosen to enter it into an arrangement where I get an agreed-upon amount of compensation for it. So when some entitled individual decides that they have the right to ignore copyright and post entire PDFs online without my and/or the publisher’s permission, you know what that person is saying?

They’re saying that copyright doesn’t apply to them. They’re saying they are above the law. Sorry, but there is no way to legally justify sharing the ENTIRE book without permission. Fair use applies to a few hundred words, that’s it. “Educational use” is only within certain educational establishments, and again is piece and part, not the whole damned thing. Sharing a bunch of PDFs to random strangers on Facebook? Sorry, your educational defense doesn’t work.

They’re saying that I don’t deserve to decide how I will disseminate the book that I put hundreds of hours of work into. They’re saying “Fuck you, I don’t care what you want, and I don’t care how much work you put into this, because what I want is more important.” They ignore my choice to go through a publisher or to self-publish or to otherwise decide how to share what I’ve created.

They’re saying they don’t think my work is worth what I say it’s worth. When you give away an ebook of my work for free to thousands of people without permission, you are ignoring the price that I or my publisher put on that work. Again, few people who read the free version will actually buy the book after because they’re already got what they want, and all of that is lost potential customers. Which also means…

They’re saying that they don’t care whether I can afford to keep writing or not. As I said, I don’t make that much money off my books, certainly not enough to pay all my bills. A good month is one in which sales might pay one or two bills, or buy me some groceries. I have to do a lot of other things to make sure I can stay afloat. And at this level, the loss in revenue from lost book sales due to pirating hurts. Any pagan business owner, whether author or artist or shop owner, can tell you that the margin between paying the bills and not is pretty damned slim, so whether it’s piracy or shoplifting, theft makes it harder to get through each month.

They’re saying they’re entitled to my work. If you don’t respect my ability to be compensated for my work, but you think you should have access to it no matter what, you’re being entitled as all fuck. You wouldn’t expect your mechanic or your accountant or yourself to work free of charge. But somehow authors and other creatives are expected to create for free, and when we complain about theft we’re told we’re the ones in the wrong.

The sad thing is, there are people who will still feel that they have every justification for pirating books, whether pagan or otherwise. They’ll come up with excuses as to why they should be the exception. And they’ll keep wallowing in their ignorance and entitlement.

So as a way to counter that just a little, here’s my little bread and butter speech:

Consider supporting this self-employed author and artist by buying my books, or checking out my Etsy shop, or purchasing the Tarot of Bones! You can also get exclusive content, art in the mail, and more by being my Patron on Patreon! Thank you 🙂

Speaking Out About Patheos

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was one of the bloggers who left Patheos in the wake of issues with the new contract we were expected to sign. The questionable contract combined with having less time for writing blog posts outside of my own personal blog here led me to make that decision. My co-blogger at Paths Through the Forests, Rua Lupa, also left Patheos shortly thereafter.

Before she left, she deleted both her and my content (with my permission). Within three days, all our content was back up on the site (click the link for her detailed writeup.) As detailed in said post, Patheos is attempting to nullify the ability of an author to terminate their contract with a Survival Clause.

I have still sent a letter of contract termination to Patheos, and if my content is still up after 30 days I’ll be getting legal consultation to see what my options are. In the meantime, here are a few ways you can help:

Sign this petition telling Patheos to take down the content written by those writers who have left Patheos’ pagan channel

–Don’t link to any content from Paths Through the Forests or other blogs from writers who have left Patheos, since traffic to those pages leads to Patheos getting income.

–Support the independent blogs of the writers who chose to leave (a list of writers can be found in the text of the petition linked above, and our blogs can generally be found with a simple Google search. You’re already reading mine, of course!) Extra bonus points if you support the Patreon or other crowdfunding efforts of those who have them! (My Patreon’s over here.) Patheos was supposed to be a paying platform for those who got enough page views, though many of us just didn’t hit that threshold.

–Support pagan-owned and operated blogging platforms like paganSquare and Pagan Bloggers, as well as sites like Panegyria and The Wild Hunt that have both dedicated writers and guest posts.

FWIW, I don’t intend to set up another blog any time soon; I have my hands full just with keeping this one seeded with content. However, content from this blog will be aggregated on the new Natural Pagans site, which brings together posts from naturalist/etc. pagan blogs. (It’s still a bit under construction–did I mention it’s like really, shiny-new within the past few days?)

And while I am seriously bogged down in work right now, I do intend to get back to writing more here later in spring as things calm down. I may also repost some of my old Patheos content here, just because I did get some good posts out of my time there.

So Long, Patheos

So for those not already aware, there’s been quite the upset over at Patheos, where Paths Through the Forests, the blog I share with Rua Lupa, has been hosted the past few years. (She’s the one who created all the graphics for the blog, including the nifty banner above.) You can read about it in detail here, but the short version is BeliefNet bought Patheos last year, the new ownership is decidedly more fundamentalist Christian, and there are a lot of issues with the new contracts they want bloggers to sign. Add in that Patheos has been less than transparent in some of its response to critical posts, and I’ve just been getting increasingly leery of the whole situation.

Add me to the list of folks bowing out of Patheos entirely. Part of it is the recent controversies and my growing unease with the contract and Patheos’ response to our concerns. Part of it is also that I have a lot of time commitments right now, and I was never really able to give Paths Through the Forests the time and attention it really deserved. At this point I need to redirect my time and energy here at my personal blog, among other projects clamoring for my attention. I’ve already backed up my content, and sent an email to editors@patheos.com requesting that my material be permanently deleted.

I have enjoyed sharing blogspace with Rua Lupa the past few years, first at No Unsacred Place over at the Pagan Newswire Collective, and then at Paths Through the Forests. Thank you to Patheos Pagan editor Jason Mankey for trying to wrangle a big herd of cats, and thank you to all my fellow bloggers. I hope each of you can find a workable solution, whatever it may be.

In the meantime, I’m still going to be writing here on A Sense of Natural Wonder (check out my post on Multi-Layered Stone Totems from this morning, if you haven’t already!) And as my plate is always full to overflowing, you can expect continued creativity from me, from the Tarot of Bones and other hide and bone artwork, to Still Death, and more!