Category Archives: Year of Living Spiritually

What a wonderful world it is — sampling ‘shrooms’

Editor's note: The experiences reported in the post below were undertaken solely on the initiative of the author, a freelance writer, as part of her "Year of Living Spiritually" — a personal project that involves experimenting with sacred activities outside of a religious setting. The Observer does not encourage or condone the use of drugs by its contributors. The possession and…
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Singing my Heart Out

The first song my mother taught me was “Jesus Loves Me.” I sang it with gusto because back then, I was secure in the knowledge that I was indeed loved by the long-haired man on the cover of The Golden Children’s Bible. She taught me many songs in the same vein: “He’s Got The Whole World…
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Taking a Treehouse Timeout

The title of this blog entry was supposed to be “Extrovert in a Yurt,” but every single one of those round tents at Ontario Parks campgrounds was booked by early spring. My hope was to get away all by myself in order to honour this month’s 200th anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau,…
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Taking a Dip in the Woods

I was eight years old the last time I climbed a tree. My younger brother and I sat side by side, inching dangerously toward the edge of a branch, and laughing and bouncing until it came close to cracking. Henry continued to climb trees for years after this — once, my mother even had to…
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13 Things I Learned at Witch Camp

I don’t exactly lie to get into witch camp, but I do fudge the truth a bit. The registration form asks for my “magical” name. I consider using my middle name, Celeste, which always sounded rather enchanting to me. But that would make me feel like even more of a fraud. So I leave it…
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Plugging into my Digital Deity

Apps promise to make our lives easier in all sorts of ways, from calling a cab (Uber) to creating a budget (Mint.com), streaming music (Spotify) and organizing photos (Flickr), as well as getting the recommended daily quota of water (Waterlogged). You can even receive a phony call whenever you need an excuse to get out…
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Being naked on the stage

Last Saturday night, my 93-year-old friend Val got up in front of 250 people at a storytelling event and told a tale that she’s kept secret for 80 years. Recalling her life as a girl in the 1930s, she spoke of running happily to a one-room, red-brick school house with her twin brother. She spoke…
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Take a little (psychedelic) trip with me

I’m 54 and giving birth. More accurately, I’m “rebirthing” my first child, who came into the world 20 years ago. How is this possible? I can’t begin to understand. All I know is that it feels transcendent. Lying on my back, I lift my head, look down and there she is: a tiny head with…
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Meeting My Soul Coach

I’m nervously perched on a red velvet couch, in the comfy, second-floor loft of a spacious Toronto duplex. The scent of white sage wafts through the air and a fire blazes in the hearth while the February snow whips itself into a froth outside. Flickering candles and white tulips — a delicate promise of spring — adorn…
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Marking a (mostly) booze-free Lent

It was the convenient Sunday escape hatch that made me do it — a clever Catholic technicality allowing one to “break the fast” on each of the six Sabbaths of Lent. If it weren’t for these cheat days, I never would have considered depriving myself of something I love. In this case, it was the intoxicating Beaujolais-merlot-shiraz…
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