Today I want to do something a little different and I invite you to join me if this resonates with you.

A large part of my witchery involves being a devoted steward of Nature and caretaker, as best I can, to her wild creatures. Those of you who reside in Iowa City are likely aware that the city has implemented a sharpshooting program to cull the city’s deer herds after folks in an affluent neighborhood complained about their landscaping being eaten.

A year and a half ago I helped found the Iowa City Deer Friends (ICDF), a group that seeks to promote a peaceful and sustainable coexistence with deer and other wildlife. Since then we have been actively working to prevent the unnecessary murder of deer in our parks, natural spaces, and neighborhoods. Our research has shown that killing is an ineffective way to manage deer populations; there are non-violent methods that are far more effective than killing, yet the Iowa Natural Resources Commission refuses to even consider anything non-lethal (because hunting = $$$).

The argument has been that there are “too many” deer; the ICDF maintains that the number of deer is not the issue. The issue is learning how to cohabitate with these animals whose living space grows smaller by the day thanks to housing developments and destruction of habitat. Sharpshooters are scheduled to return to Iowa City in February for another round of killing, and starting next autumn the city plans to allow amateur bow hunters into our parks, neighborhoods, and natural spaces for 4 YEARS of urban bow hunting. This is completely unacceptable for so many reasons.


Today, on the first full moon of 2020, I want to invite you to join me in a protection spell for Iowa City’s deer. It’s quite simple and involves mainly visualization.

As the full moon rises this afternoon (at 4:55pm), take a moment to ground and center yourself in a quiet space. Invite any spirits, deities, or energies you work with to join you. If you have the means, create a small altar with pictures of deer, statues or figurines, even bones and fur (if that’s your thing — it is mine). Light a candle and place protective stones like smokey quartz or black tourmaline on your altar.

Visualize the light of the full moon expanding over Iowa City in a protective web. Everything the moonlight touches is protected by this web. Visualize the web gently spreading over every green space that serves as home and shelter for countless wild creatures. Envision the web cloaking each deer in loving protective energy, like a cosmic hug. Hold this image in your mind and say, aloud or internally, “You are safe. You are protected. You are free from harm.” Repeat this phrase as many times as feels necessary.

When your spell feels complete, blow out your candle if you lit one, tell the deer you love them, and thank the Moon for her protective power. Release any spirits you called in and thank them for being present. It is advisable to leave an offering of some kind to Nature: a piece of fruit, a small piece of cake or other confection, a nip of wine or whiskey, whatever feels appropriate.

If you are opposed to sharpshooting and bow hunting in Iowa City, I urge you to please contact city council ( and let them know. You can learn more about the ICDF, our mission, and our work at

All photos are my own, shot on 35mm film over the course of several years as part of a project I’m working on called The Deer Study. First 7 images are from Oakland Cemetery / Hickory Hill area, last 3 are from Macbride. To see more of my work visit

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