a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Find more information about the Prairie Divination Deck, including photographs, at https://www.megankaminski.com/prairie-divination.
Antennaria plantaginifolia and Antennaria neglecta
Sometimes it feels like winter will never end. When looking out into a frost-lined field or down at frozen puddles curbside as you cross the avenue, the wintery chill can easily spread from your bones into your mind. While this cold clarity makes room for reflection and restoration, the first green sprouts of spring signal the promise of new beginnings. Prairie pussy toes, also known as “early everlastings,” are one of the earliest blooming wildflowers in pastures and meadows. When they arrive in a field, others are close to follow.
Pussy toes’ spoon-shaped leaves are covered in silver-gray hairs, and the white or light pink puffy ovals of their flowers resemble the tender paws of cats. The pussy toe provides pollen for bees and is a host for the American Painted Lady Butterfly caterpillar.
When this card comes into your life, it signals that new growth is on the way. Maybe you’ve been experiencing a period of dormancy or are ready for a change. Keep faith: something is about to begin. This is also a reminder to treat your new starts tenderly, nurture them and welcome them into the world. How can you hold space for this growth? What bright new things are about to bloom within you and through your care?
About the Prairie Divination Deck
The practice of divination has been and continues to be used by cultures throughout the world to help people navigate difficult futures. The Prairie Divination Deck turns to the plants and animals of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem as a source for knowledge and inspiration as to how to live in the world (and to re-align thinking towards kinship and sustainability). How might thinking with plants and animals allow us a different lens through which to see our present world and histories–and help to imagine futures?
Megan Kaminski is a poet and essayist—and the author of two books of poetry, Deep City and Desiring Map, with a third book Gentlewomen forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2020. She is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Kansas specializing in poetry and poetics, queer ecology, plant studies, and the environmental humanities. She founded and curates the Ad Astra Project, a series of free community workshops that help participants build creative practices oriented towards individual and community healing, empowerment, and connection.
L. Ann Wheeler is a writer, artist, and teacher in Los Angeles. She holds degrees in creative writing from the Pratt Institute and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Omniverse, Bone Bouquet, Entropy, ILK, among others. She’s taught elementary school on Coney Island, college writing in Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, and high school in California. Abandoners (Operating System, 2018) is her first book.