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“One of the secrets to staying young is to always do

things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.”

―Ruth Reichl

Here you will find resources to support your taproot journey in the form of web pages, books, articles, blogs and videos. These sources have touched my life in some way and often created life-changing insight so of course I wanted to pass them onto you. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  


Ceremony for Honoring Your Pandemic Grief

10 Simple Steps to Self-Love Your Chronic Pain Flare Ups (1).png

10 Simple Tips to Self Love Your Chronic Pain Flare-Ups



Tahlequah's Internatural Activism: Situating the Body and the Intimacy of Grief as Evidence of Human-Caused Climate Change

by Madrone Kalil Schutten, Ph.D.

Chapter 20 of Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations, First Edition, edited by Alexa M. Dare and C. Vail Fletcher 

Grief is the glue of community. "Showing up" in the vulnerability brought to bear by grief is one of the most intimate acts experienced during earthly lives. In the aftermath of a wound, a community grows through a transformative change that binds it together. Distinct from sadness, grief "arises when something is lost irretrievably, or when a death occurs" (McLaren n.d., para. 2). Grief demands the difficult action of asking what must be mourned and what must be released completely (McLaren n.d.). As such, the action of grieving should be seen as a process, a ritual or practice, a rite of passage, a journey we know we will take and yet are rarely prepared to experience. Witnessing the intimate grieving process of another being is an honor. "Grief, like love, remains a deeply intimate experience and the modes of 'dealing' with it are perhaps as varied as the number of sufferers" (Pribac 2016, 198). Human beings are not the only beings who experience grief. During the summer of 2018, Tahlequah, a mother orca from the endangered Southern Resident pod in the Pacific Northwest, called on the world to witness her grieving process as she carried her dead baby for 1,000 miles over the course of seventeen days in what became known worldwide as the "Tour of Grief.

Social Justice Activists, Environmental Fatigue, and the Restorative Practices of Doing “The Work that Reconnects”

by Madrone Kalil Schutten, Ph.D.

Chapter 16 of Activism and Rhetoric: Theories and Contexts for Political Engagement, Second Edition, edited by JongHwa Lee and Seth Kahn (2020)


This chapter is not a typical chapter about environmental conflict or crisis in the way you may be used to reading. Rather, my goal is to illustrate an environmental ethic of care by highlighting communities that use alternative symbolics that work to shift our anti-earth paradigm. Specifically, this chapter looks at a group, Woman’s Way Red Lodge (WWRL) who provides a healing space for activists suffering from environmental fatigue due to the intersectional social justice issues facing us today. First, we explore WWRL; learn about the practice of magick, Hoop communities and alternative symbolics. Next, we discuss burnout, environmental fatigue, and social dramas. Following this we look at the rhetorical practice of grief as an access point for The Work That Reconnects (Macy & Brown, 2014). The alternative symbolics discussed in this chapter require you to briefly suspend your disbelief as a “modern literate” and believe in magick (conscious will) because “magick works, sometimes intentionally, to overcome the trained incapacities of modern literates, incapacities that are central to the objectification, exploitation, and destruction of the natural world” (Schutten and Rogers, p. 274).

Magick as an Alternative Symbolic: Enacting Transhuman Dialogs

by Julie Kalil Schutten & Richard A. Rogers

This essay examines Neo-Pagan practices of magick and, via Rogers’s criteria for a transhuman theory of communication, argues that these practices enact a transhuman dialog that has potential to enhance environmentally sustainable ways of living. Magick helps to re-member immanence in all entities through learning to exercise modes of sensation that have become dormant. Of central importance to the practice of magick is taking eros seriously while expanding awareness beyond the human to the other-than-human. Such sensory experiences and relationships serve to recover the concrete from the dominance of the abstract, eros from the dominance of rationality, the material from the dominance of the ideational, and the natural from the dominance of culture. This essay works to bridge theoretical and practical implications of dialogs with nature by identifying practices that can overcome trained incapacities that block sensual, dialogic relations with the other-than-human world, while also acknowledging limitations in the transformative potential of Neo-Pagan ideologies and practices.

Invoking Practical Magic: New Social Movements, Hidden Populations, and the Public Screen

by Julie Kalil Schutten

This essay explores the relationships between mass media and new social movements with hidden populations. The Neo-Pagan Movement and the film Practical Magic are examined to identify possible relationships between media and movements’ identity constructions. Using the concept of polysemy I argue that social movement scholars need to consider the active interpretation and incorporation of media by social movement actors, not only the interpretation and incorporation of the movement by the media. Previous studies primarily examine what the culture industry does to social movements. This study explores what members of movements can do with texts provided by the culture industry.

Tails From Captive Classes: Interspecies Civic Action at the Contemporary Zoo

by Madrone Kalil Schutten and Emily Shaffer

In this case study we rearticulate the contemporary zoo to recognize the agency of captive classes. Contemporary zoos catalog the consequences of humans' ecological choices. We reject the dominant ideologies used to justify captivity (e.g., human safety, rescue, and conservation), in favor of framing zoo'd animals as refugees forced into captivity due to human development and climate change. Through the permeability of zoo exhibit boundaries we analyze resistance from captive, free-living animals, and elemental nature (e.g., water), arguing for a strategic anthropomorphism that privileges intuition as a form of civic action that includes all entities. Moreover, we urge a shift toward a re-imagined model that implicates humans in the plight of the animals kept within zoo walls. This essay provides suggestions for an alternative zoo experience that responds to the resistive communication of more-than-humans. Read online here.

Internatural Activists and the “Blackfish Effect”: Contemplating Captive Orcas’ Protest Rhetoric through a Coherence Frame

by Caitlyn Burford and Julie “Madrone” Kalil Schutten

The documentary film Blackfish (2013; follows Tilikum, a captive SeaWorld prisoner-orca responsible for the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau and two others. The film has had a profound effect on public perceptions of orca captivity creating the “Blackfish Effect.” Our critical analysis of the film engages Plec’s (2013)internatural communication categories of complicity, implication, and coherence. We argue that the film illustrates the flawed hierarchy within the binary/dualistic system. In deconstructing a dualism, we must recognize the physical power and actions of captive orcas that could be seen as a form of protest rhetoric. The case example of orcas in captivity as a whole illustrates that regarding orcas as unique actors with intelligible behaviors offers a way of understanding how to listen to the more-than-human world. Our article has been one attempt to illustrate how captive orcas can be heard as extra-human citizens who participate, and even instigate, policy making.

“Killer” Metaphors and the Wisdom of Captive Orcas

by Julie “Madrone” Kalil Schutten and Caitlyn Burford

This entry distinguishes captive orcas from their wilder and freer kin. We speculate that captive orcas embody three principle metaphors: Prisoner; Activist; Martyr. These metaphors help us to imagine the kinds of rhetorical thinking necessary for a deeper understanding of the costs of human behavior as well as the potential for creating new visions and modes of witnessing. By witnessing orcas-as-prisoners, humans begin to see marine parks anew, as prisons, understanding their own complicity in the imprisonment of animal activists. Captive orca metaphors help to convey the actions of other-than-humans as rhetorically salient and politically motivated.

Chewing on the Grizzly Man: Getting to the Meat of the Matter

by Julie Kalil Schutten

At the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 director Werner Herzog released Grizzly Man. The film explores over 100 hours of video footage left by self-described eco-warrior Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell spent 13 summers living with grizzly bears at the Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula in an effort to protect the bears living there from human harm. I argue that the dissonance felt by viewers of the film surrounds a disconfirmation of human faith in the nature/culture binary. Treadwell’s death is troubling because the predator/prey relationship makes humans ‘‘pieces of meat’’ and as such objects rather than subjects. This interruption forcibly moves humans to the nature side of the dualism, thereby questioning the superiority of the culture side of the binary. The potential for deconstructing the nature/culture binary through Treadwell’s story, as well as the judgments against Treadwell that resist such deconstruction, has significant implications for the environmental movement insofar as the nature/culture binary is central to Western environmental ideologies and exploitations.

"Nothing will work unless you do." ―Maya Angelou


Warrior Goddess Training


The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TED
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The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TED

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TED

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A Conversation With Native Americans on Race | Op-Docs

A Conversation With Native Americans on Race | Op-Docs

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Defining LGBTQ

Defining LGBTQ

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Cracking the Codes: Dr. Joy DeGruy "A Trip to the Grocery Store"

Cracking the Codes: Dr. Joy DeGruy "A Trip to the Grocery Store"

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On Understanding White Privilege ​with Brené Brown

“Change is the end result of all true learning."  ―Leo Buscaglia


Code Switch Stories from NPR:

"Remember when folks used to talk about being "post-racial"? Well, we're definitely not that. We're a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting."  

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