How accessible is your Pagan website?

Screen shot of the alt text over an image: "Blue and white stick figure actively wheeling a wheelchair."

 

I’ve been getting ready for the launch of A Broom and A Spoon, a podcast for and by Pagans with chronic illnesses made by ED and I. Since we also plan to discuss issues relevant to Pagans with mental illnesses, disabilities, and sensory processing differences, it is important to us to make everything connected with the project as accessible as possible. It has been quite the project, and I wanted to share some resources and tips I’ve discovered so far so other Pagan resources can also be made more accessible.

 

Website testing: It turns out there’s a lot more to an accessible website than alt text for images, though that is really important. This website was very enlightening to me about both of my websites: WAVE: web accessibility evaluation tool. Many of the defaults for both Squarespace and WordPress websites are not very accessible. For example, Squarespace’s way of dealing with alt text means that when I use a screen reader app, all of the alt text is read twice. My WordPress pages are full of errors like “Missing form label”, “Redundant title text”, and “Redundant link”, all of which are done by WordPress or the theme I chose and will have to be manually overridden (if they even can be at my skill level).

 

Keyboard accessibility: It is driving me nuts that I can’t get focus indicators to work on either website when they should be on by default. WebAIM is full of tips and cautions for making websites more accessible.

 

Designing for everyone: I love these posters of how to design better for a variety of needs: “Dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility“.

 

Closed captioning: YouTube auto-generated captions are on a scale from bad to terrible. Really, I tried to watch some of them on mute and I have no idea what the person is actually saying. Please, please, edit the captions.

 

Videos for the blind: On the subject of YouTube, if you are posting one, consider making a described video version for people with vision problems. There’s an easy free tool at YouDescribe.org, though you have to send people to their website to see it. If you don’t want to record your own, let me know – I love doing described videos.

 

Edited to add: Social media accessibility: I stumbled across this great tutorial on accessibility on the major social media platforms: Accessible Social Media.

 

I have a lot of work to do on my websites to get them to where I would like, accessibility-wise. I hope other Pagans will be inspired to check their own websites and online resources too, and pass on tips to each other. Let’s make accessibility a core Pagan value!

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How accessible is your Pagan website? was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

Nature isn’t here for you

A leaf with natural heart cutouts, lit from behind.

 

If we are the universe embodied and if we are here to experience the universe, it makes sense that there would be rewards built in to connecting with the natural world. As we serve the cosmos, we receive happiness, serenity, and maybe some healing as a side effect.

 

I see a lot of headlines like “How to harness nature’s healing power”, “How forests heal people”, and “How to use nature to improve your health”. Their version of nature is lush, green, and peaceful. There’s no red in tooth and claw; there’s no predator, prey, and parasite. Theirs is a tamed nature that exists as a tool for our benefit.

 

To me, respect for nature means understanding that it isn’t here to serve us. It can be the soothing green shade with bird song, but it can also be the disease carrying deer tick picked up in that same idyllic place. It exists for itself alone. We are lucky that walking through the natural cathedral of old trees or observing a wild flower conveys spiritual, mental, and physical benefits, but framing nature in terms of how we can use it maintains the same paradigm that led to animal extinctions, rain forest clear cutting, and vortexes of plastic waste in our oceans.

 

Get out into the green when and how you can, for the personal benefits or as an act of worship, but don’t mistake your reasons for nature’s purpose. And wear insect repellent as needed.

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Nature isn’t here for you was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

Balance one; balance all

I had a beautiful weekend. On Friday evening, Silver Spiral had a belated Litha. It was a gorgeous ritual. In the power raising, the group was given a fairly simple poem to turn into a chant. It started as just rhythmic speaking, than acquired melody, then evolved into a call and response with a complex…

Balance one; balance all was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

The Pagan value of vulnerability

Due to some mysterious symptoms and random pain, I went from a very active person to being mostly house-bound very quickly in 2017. In the search for answers, I’ve been shot with lasers, radiation, electricity, ultrasound, magnetic resonance, and xrays… I should be a superhero by now.   I’m very lucky that my job let…

The Pagan value of vulnerability was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

You owe it to the universe

  You are made of elements created in the depths of a dying star. You are made of the universe. You are the universe embodied and breathing, and the universe experiences itself through your senses.   That swept through my mind as I watched the moment of totality during the August 21st’s solar eclipse. I…

You owe it to the universe was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

If only the activists see your activism, does it mean anything?

Every year, I go to a big local literary festival. I typically buy tickets for six or more events over the course of a week and come home with a pile of new books. I’ve mentioned before that this particular festival includes a territory acknowledgement before each event. This is something that started a year…

If only the activists see your activism, does it mean anything? was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

Privately taking it seriously

I’ve been a vegetarian for about two decades. I keep my reasons for becoming and staying vegetarian quiet and I don’t talk about my vegetarianism much – I don’t want to be one of those vegetarians. Unfortunately, in an effort to be just “cool” about something that matters to me, I end up in uncomfortable…

Privately taking it seriously was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

Consent culture at Vancouver Pagan Pride Day

Last night, some members of Silver Spiral gathered to rehearse the ritual we’re presenting at Vancouver Pagan Pride Day (VPPD) on September 10th. Jamie Robyn and I had worked to create a very inclusive, accessible ritual that empowered the participants to participate. Our pre-ritual speeches include explicit permission to leave if needed, information on how…

Consent culture at Vancouver Pagan Pride Day was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic