Wordsmithing Magic from the Crossroads

Meet Beth

Beth sitting in the woods of New Hampshire holding a beaver stickAcknowledgements of the Sacred Land and Elders

Before I tell you all about me, it is important that I acknowledge the land where I live.

My husband and I live on the land of the Eno, Tutelo, Saponi, Occaneechi, and Shakori Native people.

This land was traditionally part of the territory of the Saponi people, in the Piedmont of what is now the state of North Carolina.

Laurel Hill Cottage is located along the “Great Trading Path,” that was used by the native people of this area for countless centuries before the Europeans arrived, and then shared with the non-native peoples during the early years of contact.

The Saponi people, whose descendants include the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation Indian Tribe, still live and thrive in this region, and are officially recognized by the state government of North Carolina.

Thus I pay respect to their elders past, present, and future, and I give my thanks to this ancient ancestral Land.

Beth’s Story

After several decades as an IT programmer, manager, technical writer, and instructor, Beth’s rebellious streak and creative itch propelled her out of corporate and into the world of freelance writing.

Amiably unorthodox, she is widely known by her given magical name, “Beth Owl’s Daughter,” but has also written extensively under her birth name, “Beth Livingston.”

a collection of eleven inner change magazines fanned outHer essays and features have been published in what was once North Carolina’s premier New Age publication, Innerchange Magazine, and for several years she had a monthly column in The MetaArts Magazine, sadly, also now discontinued.

Beth was also regularly featured for a number of years in Raleigh-Durham’s award-winning Indy Week (which is, thank heavens, still going strong!).

She authored dozens of reviews, columns, and articles, including single-handedly writing all of the (at that time) twice-a-year Dish listings, that catalogued and described hundreds of Triangle area eateries.

Cover of Kind Veggie Burritos with Jerry GarciaSpeaking of cuisine, Beth is the author of the self-published Kind Veggie Burritos, the original cookbook of recipes gathered from Grateful Dead concert goers.

Best-selling author and winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, Steve Silberman, raves, “A wonderful book…aglow with Deadhead spirit, warmth, and unpretentious good eats.”

For 28 years and counting, her cookbook for charity has continued to fly from her cottage in the woods of northern Durham County, NC into the VW busses and kitchens of a diverse and enthusiastic audience, including celebrities like Andy Cohen and even Bob Weir himself (lifelong rhythm guitarist for the Dead).

Since 1972, Beth has offered expert Tarot consultations and classes for the public. And Beth has been an award-winning blogger since 2003. She has written thousands of essays covering a myriad of topics, including seasonal ceremonies, Witchcraft and Earth-centered spirituality, and the Tarot, gathering thousands of subscribers and accolades from reviewers.

But as Maya Angelou wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Beth knows how true this is, and is now on a mission to birth her stories. She hopes you will enjoy and be inspired by them.

Twenty-Two Other Random Tidbits. Plus One Surreptitious Insight.

    • I majored in sociology because some genius grad student advised that it would be more practical than English Lit.   (sigh..)

    • I drive a white Honda Civic named Epona. My previous car was Goldie Hon-da.

    • I have lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Florida, Virginia, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Okinawa (Japan). Some of these multiple times, and sometimes in different towns (and Army bases).

    • Although I try to be patient and mindful that all living creatures are sacred, I have a zero-tolerance policy regarding insects in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

    • When I was eighteen, I hitchhiked alone from Florida to San Francisco to Oregon and then back East again to D.C. I subsisted by busking with my 12-string guitar, as well as the kindness of strangers. Plus I had one dollar in case of an emergency.

    • If I had a do-over, I would never have spent half my life working for Cubicle Nation. Instead, besides taking myself more seriously as a writer, I think I would have really enjoyed being a foley artist.

    • I am a fan of college (American) football, but couldn’t care less about pro ball. My home team is the perpetual Charlie Brown of the SEC, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. So, to stave off abject despair, I also root for Clemson, since that’s my dad’s alma mater. Except when they play each other, of course.
      Bonus insight: my dad was the Owl whose daughter I am: his initials were O.W.L. and his friends always called him “Hoot.”  He recently died (May 10, 2023) at the age of 93.

    • I am addicted to Cafe du Monde coffee, shipped from New Orleans. I drink 2½ big mugs every morning.

    • When I was little, I loved The Three Stooges so much that I was flabbergasted my parents refused to name my first younger brother Curly.

    • At age 14, I began my lifetime of activism by participating with a group that was aiding several busloads of marchers who had come from Mississippi for the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, DC. It was inspiring and enlightening to help serve their meals and wash up afterwards, and I even babysat for the littlest children that had to be left behind while their parents demonstrated.

    • My maternal grandmother was a librarian at Hollins College in Virginia (now Hollins University), and under her guidance (plus long summers at her house where there were no other children to play with) I developed my lifelong passion for books.

    • My favorite job, besides all my writing and Tarot-related gigs, was being the social services counselor and activities director at a 152-bed, privately owned, skilled nursing facility for the elderly in St. Pete, Florida. (So the sociology degree, with my focus on gerontology, panned out after all).

    • I loved studying Latin in high school. My friend Jean and I would ride the bus into downtown Alexandria, VA and speak it to each other, imagining how alluring this must be to any eavesdroppers. Of course, we did not know any conversational Latin (is there even such a thing??), so we were just parroting our vocabulary lists. And Caesar.

    • Heaven is a newspaper tablecloth, a sleeve of saltine crackers, a bowl of cocktail sauce, and a mountain of boiled shrimp.

    • Growing up, I had a sweet beagle and I like dogs. But when, in 1980, a mama barn cat presented two of her newborn kittens to me, my heart flipped over. Ever since then I have been a staunch cat person.

    • One of my decadent indulgences is make-over TV shows, particularly Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible, Unsellable Houses, Home Town, and the old series, Tabitha Takes Over.  (No, I don’t care for Fixer Upper. I think they are pretentious and phony). Stories of redemption and transformation are my jam.

    • I actually love the color pink, and it ticks me off that it has been hijacked to represent corporate hubris about breast cancer. Being a Stage 3-B breast cancer survivor, I have earned the right to this opinion.

    • After we built our magical cottage in the woods of Durham, NC, we named it Laurel Hill. It feels like a mountain retreat, and my husband John and I share it with two rescued cats (indoors only), a magical multitude of wild animal and plant friends outdoors, and countless ancestral and spirit beings who come and go as they wish. And once again, I honor that these are the lands of the Saponi Nation, whose songs we have heard and whose pottery and arrowheads we have found here.

    • One of my pet peeves is glitter. I loathe how it shows up everywhere — greeting cards, wrapping paper, and even in makeup. For one thing, I am paranoid about getting it in my eyes (it’s a nightmare). But did you realize it is contributing to serious environmental problems? Please don’t ever send me glittery, sparkly stuff. Sorry, y’all. It’s not Fae. It’s toxic.

    • Many folks know I am a big classical music aficionado plus a lifelong Grateful Deadhead. But one of my shocking secrets is that I also swoon over the lush, easy-listening of the Jackie Gleason Orchestra. Yes, that Jackie Gleason. Please don’t tell anyone.

    • In my long-ago past, I was an enthusiastic participant in community theater, mostly working props and makeup behind the scenes. My only on-stage appearance was a smash performance of four lines as “The Woman,” in the last ten minutes of a three hour production of A Man for All Seasons.

    • I have shaken hands with Earl Scruggs, Louis Leakey, Bill Monroe, Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, Mary Higgins Clark, Molly Katzen, and Vincent Price, to name a few. And I got a bit sloshed one extraordinary evening with James Jones. Despite my vague intention to do so (see Bullet No. 5), alas, I never met Jerry Garcia. But once, before the start of a Dead show, I nearly gave keyboard accompanist Bruce Hornsby a heart attack. He was amiably tootling around the concessions area on a golf cart when I came thundering up, waving and yelling to him with one of my cookbooks. Hands only slightly shaking, he graciously accepted it and then tore off faster than I would’ve believed a golf cart could go.

The time you enjoy wasting
is not wasted time.

~ Bertrand Russell

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