About: the author

Mary DeJong lives in Seattle, Washington’s Rainier Valley in Columbia City, at Hedgewood, a home that for over a decade has hosted community connection through the reclamation and restoration of a neighborhood forest. As a long-time urban naturalist, and practitioner and guide of place-based pilgrimage, DeJong’s graduate work in ecotheology from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and specialization in Thomas Berry’s Universe Story from Yale University delves into why place matters and the sacramentality of creation. Mary has grown up in the Pacific Northwest, taprooting into a soul-nourishing topography that fastens her to ancestors who lived among the towering mountains and ancient trees within the Skykomish Valley corridor, homesteading a town that continues the arc of history of this place, one that was beloved by the Skykomish tribe before European settlers arrived, and one that continues to serve as a sacred connection to the awe and wonder of the natural world.

She is the co-founder and chair of the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mountain View, an award-winning neighborhood organization committed to creating equitable, safe, and welcoming hyper-local access to nature and play within public forests for urban children and families. This effort to reclaim, restore, and reimagine this 43 acre urban forested parkland began in 2007 and has engaged thousands of volunteer service hours, making it one of Seattle’s most popular service sites in the city. This effort awarded Mary and her volunteers the prestigious 2013 Denny Award for Conservation and Environmental Stewardship.

Influenced by the lives of Celtic saints, Jospeh Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and the emerging field of ecopyschology, Mary facilitates retreats and pilgrimages in the Pacific Northwest and in Iona, Scotland, that strengthen the unique and mystical interconnection of participants, the sacred, and the natural world. She has studied and practiced within the Celtic Christian spiritual tradition, her own maternal line heritage, for over twenty years, receiving mentoring and vocational guidance from Vivienne Hull, co-founder of the Chinook Learning center and the Whidbey Institute and the director of the Iona Retreat Programs.

Mary’s book, Waymarkers (2011), is heralded by pilgrims globally who long to journey to Iona with intention and purpose. More of Mary’s writings can be found at A Sacred Journey, The Other Journal, the Godspace writing community, and the Waymarkers Blog.

Her husband Joel DeJong, four children, ten chickens, medicinal and herb garden, and yard—a Certified Wildlife Habitat—keep her busy when her pen does not.


The author, self-portrait style, at Iona’s Bay at the Back of the Ocean

11 thoughts on “About: the author

  1. Greetings, Mary!
    Thanks for your lovely book! I am beginning to organize a class/pilgrimage to Iona for the 2014 J-Term at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett. I would enjoy getting together to get your counsel as I plan. Glad to meet for coffee/tea at your convenience!
    Dave Ellingson

  2. Hello Mary,
    We (students from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology) are taking a pilgrimage to Iona this April/May 2013. I would love to have coffee/tea with you to, as Dave above said, get your counsel as we plan around our trip. Phillip Newell is our guide and we are reading his books to prepare for our journey.

    Thanks for wisdom and guidance,


  3. Greetings to Mary from Manchester, UK.
    I am new to WordPress (only been blogging a week!) and stumbled across your great Blog.
    I have been recently to Lindisfarne, and am hoping soon to go up to Oban and take the trip over to Iona. I love reading about the Celtic Saints and early Christianity/spirituality in these islands where I live, and look forward to your posts for inspiration.

    • Nice to meet you, Andy and greetings from over the pond! I will look forward to what you reflect on in your blog as well 🙂
      Your region of the world has such a rich spiritual culture; many blessings on you as you begin to discover with new eyes this great wealth from the Celtic saints and places!

  4. Hello Mary, and blessings to you,
    Found you on the Iona site. I’m considering a possible long term, i.e. winter, visit to Iona. Have you made any contacts that might know of a rental property, just a small cottage?
    Frank Putnam
    Eatonville, WA

    • And blessings to you, Frank! I have a couple immediate suggestions and am asking a friend of a friend for the contact info for a cottage that is a bit harder to come by. In the mean time, check out: http://www.isle-of-iona.net/accommodation/self-catering/ for some options and also look at the Iona Hostel. Winter is a very quiet time on the island, but you may be able to even arrange a work/room+board with John, the owner of the hostel. Its a lovely, lovely place and where I bring all my groups. Its a bit of a walk from the village, but on the windy and wild northern side of the island. Winter there would be amazing: http://www.ionahostel.co.uk/

  5. Hallo again
    I just left a message on your blog page as I saw you were asking for links to sites with Celtic spiritual connections. I love Iona and see that you do too… Thanks for this website.
    I wonder if you might find my website of interest – I take my Celtic harp to Iona and make music and vibrational essences there,
    Julie Darling

    • Hi Julie! Thank you for your kind words, and grateful to meet a fellow Iona lover! Your work sounds fascinating and I’m eager to spend more time learning about what you do. Warmly, Mary

    • Very interesting indeed! Just read through your site; what beautiful pictures of your harp! Curious-where do you run your retreat out of? Traigh Bhan by chance? I normally book out the hostel, or variances of it– I love that wild end if the island!

  6. God Bless ya Mary lass, lovely little blog you got here, your an inspiration alright. Im planning a wee pilgrimage to Iona soon but want to kayak from Mull to save on the old pennies. Accomodation will be a bivvy bag and 2 dogs. Any tips for my trip. Keep up the GOOD work.

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