Lupa is a pagan author, artist, eco-psychologist and amateur naturalist living in Portland, OR. She has spent her life being utterly captivated by the natural world around her, a fascination that led her to earth-based spiritual paths. She is the author of several books on nature spirituality, including “New Paths to Animal Totems: Three Alternative Approaches to Creating Your Own Totemism” (Llewellyn, 2012) and “Plant and Fungus Totems: Connecting With Spirits of Field, Forest and Garden” (Llewellyn 2014).
Paganicon 5 will be Friday, March 13, – Sunday, March 15, 2015 and registration is still available at the door.
I interviewed Lupa by phone recently.
Nels: Is this the first time you’ve come to the Midwest ?
Lupa: I am very excited to attend! I grew up in the Midwest, but this is only my second time visiting Minneapolis.
Where did you grow up?
Lupa: I grew up in rural Missouri. Then I lived for two years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which some people consider the Eastern edges of the Midwest.
What is bio-regional totemism, the subject of one of your workshops?
Lupa: A bio-region is a particular area of land that has the same basic types of animals, plants, and fungi. The same geology and the same climate. For example I live in the watershed of the Willamette River and for the most part the living beings that you find here, the types of geological formation are similar throughout the area. This is one particular bio-region I spend time in. Bio-regional totemism is a way to connect with the land that you live on. Similar to the totems of the beings that also live there. Using the bio-region as a way defining that space of land.
Will an animal present as a different kind of a totem in a different bio-region?
Lupa: No, not in my experience. I have worked with animals indifferent bio-regions, for example a red tailed hawk I’ve worked with both in the Midwest and out here in the Pacific Northwest. It is still a red tailed hawk in both locations. The setting that we meet in during my meditation is a little different. It is still the same being, it just may have different things to say about a particular piece of land as I’m living on it.
Are you using your own personal gnosis and meditation in your spirit work, or where does this information come from?
Lupa: I am self taught as far are my knowledge and work goes. I am a white girl from the Midwest. While I have known a few folks who practice indigenous paths I am not a part of those cultures and also not part of the cultures of my ancestors, Czech and German and so forth. I grew up primarily here in the US and that is the cultural background that I came from. I grew up in a Catholic household and didn’t have an animistic tradition to are draw on already, I had to create one from scratch based on my own experiences and trading notes with other practitioners .