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  • Community Member In Need: Lola Fundraiser and Healing Ritual

    [Disclosure: This is more of an editorial than an article as the author is friends with the subject and was unable to be unbiased and objective.]

    Lola is one of the kindest, sweetest, most positive people you will ever meet. And a few months ago she was diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 Melanoma.

    Here is her story in her own words:

    Lola was welcoming to me when I first came to Paganistan. She was unfailingly kind, and always available to hang out when I needed a friend. Lola gave me an incredible gift when after not being able to give for a long time she let me offer her hospitality to her when she needed it. Being able to offer her a meal and a place to crash on occasion was a huge boost to my self-esteem and spirituality and I am so grateful to her for that. She is one of the finest people I know.

    When I spoke to Lola for information for this post she was cheerful and happy. She was helping her sister’s children prepare a Mother’s Day surprise for her sister. She never mentioned her pain, her needs, or her personal desires. She spoke to me of the financial commitments she had made to her sister, of her love for her sister, and of her desire that her sister not suffer financially while Lola copes with terminal cancer.

    here

    Lola and Katie celebrating getting the keys to the home they currently share.

    Lola told me about how she and her sister were roommates years ago, and how close they have remained over the years. Her sister is a single mom who wanted a better place to raise her children and needed help to do that, and she and Lola were so excited to be living together again. Before she realized she was sick Lola told me about how excited she was to be there for her family, to be more present in their lives, and to be creating this new future with her sister. You can hear the love in her voice when Lola talks about her family, and you can hear that for her the most devastating thing about this dire prognosis is the impact it will have on the people she loves.

    Lola was told at one point that she might not make it past May, but she is looking forward to attending EarthHouse’s midsummer festival and finally making it to Pagan Spirit Gathering. She is a fighter, and her spirit is indomitable. She is living wholeheartedly in spite of her advanced cancer. She is still working as a massage therapist. She is still devoted to her family. She is still a positive influence on her many friends. She is amazing and she needs our help.

    Lola is trying to raise funds to help her bridge the gap until her disability kicks in this August. She can no longer work full-time, her sister depends on her help to make rent and pay utilities, and she is facing losing her car within the next week. She needs love and support, but she also really needs cash to make it through the next few months. She’s not even really asking as much for herself as she is to help honor the commitment she made to her sister.

    A fundraiser and healing ritual for Lola is being held Saturday, May 30th, 2015 at Michael Servetus Unitarian Society in Fridley, MN from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. From 11 to 1 is a “buy a bowl” fundraiser potluck with an all-you-can-eat bowl for $5, and the healing ritual will take place from 1:30 to 2:30. There will be a silent auction and lawn games for both adults and kids. A beaded necklace is being made for Lola and you are encouraged to bring a bead to add to it. The dinner is a potluck and you are also encouraged to bring a dish to share.

    To contribute an item to the silent auction, or for any other questions, you can e-mail Nikki at nikki.wakal@gmail.com.

    If you can’t attend but would still like to contribute to the fundraiser you can make a donation on Lola’s YouCare page: Help My Sister After I Pass On.

    For updates or to RSVP to the fundraiser you can join the Facebook event: Lola Fundraiser and Healing Ritual.

    If you can’t attend or donate online sharing this information via social media is a great way to help out.

    It is my hope that Lola isn’t only able to raise the funds to meet her needs, but that the community can support her in living to the fullest as she battles terminal cancer. I hope Lola can to go to the festivals she wants to go to and over the next few months feel the love and support of her community.

    My thanks to PNC:MN for sharing this with the community.

    Veterans Honored at Paganicon

    Ceremony Begins

    Ceremony Begins

    Last Sunday, March fifteenth,  during the afternoon tea at the conclusion of Paganicon,  seven veterans who served in various branches of the armed forces were honored.  In a community ceremony of recognition and appreciation, Selena Fox presented the Pagan Military Service Ribbon to Pagans who have served or are serving in the US Armed Forces.

    Honored Veterans, Selena Fox at left

    Honored Veterans, Selena Fox at left

    Pictured from top, clockwise are Wayne Sears, John Farrow, Herbert Cook Roy, Celeste Proe, Shawn Burns, Debbie Olson, and Tamia Finnegan. They received their pin to the applause of appreciation and support from the over hundred community members present.

     

    The Ribbon pin, created by Circle Sanctuary in 2011, is being presented to Pagan veterans and troops around the country who request it. If you are a veteran please visit the ribbon website to participate in the honoring recognition.

    Please congratulate these service members!

    Nels Linde

    Selena Fox – Paganicon Guest Interview

    Selena Fox

    Selena Fox is a well-known priestess, environmentalist, religious freedom activist, writer, teacher, and psychotherapist. Also known as Rev. Selena Fox, she is senior minister of Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin, which has been serving Nature religion practitioners worldwide since 1974.

    Selena will appear at Paganicon March 13-15, 2015 and offer several workshops, participate in panel discussions, lead a ritual, and facilitating the Military Pagan Honoring Ceremony . Tickets are available at the door for the day, weekend, or for special events. Selena responded to written questions:

    Nels: Tell me about your Cauldron Magic workshop?

    Selena: I have been studying folklore and folkways for many years, and old folk traditions are an essential part of the Circle Craft tradition that I practice. In my Cauldron Magic workshop, I will share some of the ways that cauldrons have been used in ceremonies as well as in daily life through time and across a variety of cultures and spiritual traditions. I also will share some of my own experiences working with different types of cauldrons as well as ways that Pagans today can use them as ceremonial tools and symbols for celebrating the seasons, home blessings, and other sacred work. In addition, I plan to facilitate some Cauldron meditations and experiences during the workshop.

    What will you include in the Pagan Death Passages workshop?

    Selena: Creating and guiding Life Passage Rituals is an important part of my services to Pagan community and has been since I began priestess work more than forty years ago. In addition to creating and performing weddings, baby blessings, coming of age into adulthood rites, cronings and sagings, I also do several types of end-of-life passage rituals. The Pagan Death Passages workshop emerged out of my experiences working with individuals and their family and friends prior to, during, and after death. I realized that there was a need to do end-of-life preparation education as well as facilitate crossing overs, funerals, and burials when the need arises.

    In my Pagan Death Passages workshop, I share ideas and information about ways to support end of life planning and processes for family and friends, and I also express the importance of considering your own needs and making your own end of life plans. This workshop also is designed to help facilitate community discussions and considerations about dying and death, topics that some are reluctant to talk about with others.

    In the workshop I not only present some information about types of end-of-life ceremonies but also give practical tips on end-of-life planning. We will explore ways to support a loved one at the time of being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and discuss approaches to maximizing quality of life in the time remaining. We will talk about working with life review during the last part of life. We will examine crossing over support, including the use of music, touch, presence, readings, and ritual. We will also look at post-death rites, including customizing wakes, funerals, memorials, and celebrations of life. In addition, I will be talking about natural burial as a death passage option.

    Part of my work with Circle Sanctuary includes being the director of Circle Cemetery, a national Pagan cemetery and one of the first Green cemeteries in the USA. It is located at our headquarters near Barneveld, Wisconsin and this year we will be celebrating our cemetery’s 20th anniversary. We inter cremains at our cemetery and also do full body natural burials. Natural burial, also known as Green burial, is an ancient Pagan practice – it is placing an un-embalmed body in the earth in a shroud or other biodegradable container. In the workshop, I will describe some of our work in doing burial rituals at our cemetery, as well as things to consider in selecting a cemetery as part of end-of-life planning.

    Is the Goddess Brigid one of your personal patrons?

    Selena:  Yes, and I’ve been working with Brigid for most of my priestess life. I keep a Brigid Shrine at my home and also am among the caretakers of Brigid’s Spring, an outdoor healing place dedicated to Her at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve.

    I had already been working with Brigid for many years, when I discovered while reading a book on Scottish history that I am descended from some who were caretakers of a Brigid site in Fife, Scotland.

    In addition to doing personal Brigid work, I also facilitate Brigid rites for small and large groups at various conferences and festivals across North America. The Brigid Healing Ritual which I will be facilitating at Paganicon has evolved over time as my own work with Brigid has deepened.

    In this rite as well as in my own person work, I work with Brigid in a variety of forms. In addition to honoring Brigid as the Triple Goddess of Inspiration, Healing, and the Forge, I also work with Her as a Sun Goddess, and a Goddess connected with the Land, Oak, Swan, Flames, and Waters of holy wells and sacred springs. Included in the Brigid Healing Ritual are invocations and chants drawing on these different facets of Brigid. We will be doing different types of healing during the ceremony — healing for ourselves, healing for each other, and healing for loved ones at a distance. And we also will be doing a community working for the well-being of Planet Earth and will energize Brigid crosses, charms, necklaces, and other items participants place on our central altar during the rite. I am looking forward to bringing the Brigid Healing Rite to Paganicon.

    Continue reading

    Through Time – A History of Belly Dance in America – Saturday Jan 24th

    Belly dance is an empowering daBDTimence form that has been embraced by the Pagan community for many years.  Women of all ages and backgrounds join together in classes and troupes to explore  the range of styles and expression drawn from diverse cultures around the world. This Saturday the Twin Cities gets a chance to see it all on one stage!  Originally produced in 2006, “Through Time – A History of Belly Dance in America” is returning bigger and better!

    Saturday Jan 24th

    Four Seasons Dance Studio  1637 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
    DOORS OPEN AT 6:30 – SHOW STARTS AT 7:00  Purchase Advance Tickets

    BDTR1

    Alana Mari


    The key purpose of this show is to educate how belly dance was introduced to the American public, how it was perceived and evolved to the variety we have today. Starting with Little Egypt at the World’s Fair in 1893, we travel through time to present day; watching as this art form which was introduced as exotic and mystical grew to become about empowerment, creativity and strength.

    Amina Beres

    Amina Beres

     

     

     


    In this show, a variety of belly dance artists from the local dance community will be bringing their interpretation of periods of time and where belly dance was or was perceived by audiences; from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ lounges to Gothic Fusion Belly Dance; from the Silent Screen with Rudolph Valentino to the creation of American Tribal Style within the streets of San Francisco.

    The Bourgeois Bohemians

    The Bourgeois Bohemians


    And to add to the madness, this show will be a multi-media production. Music, video, dance and a presentation on Little Egypt are all in store for this evening.

     

    Come join us on this journey. Learn, explore and enjoy.

    Visit Through Time  website for more information,  full cast  list and performer websites.

    Kamala Chaand Dance Company

    Kamala Chaand Dance Company


    Lesley Inman  (Producer, Show Director, Performer)

    Lesley Inman
    (Producer, Show Director, Performer)

    BDT6

     

     

    Pagans to Join ReclaimMLK March on Monday

    If you haven’t seen social media, or national news, or been to Mall of America, or even seen the Oscar nominations, you have been hiding. Black Lives Matter! There is a movement afoot to wake America up, and Monday you can help shake us from our slumber!

    For Minnesota Pagans, this movement has stimulated a lot of online debate, analysis of our privilege, and discussion of our response.  Well, “Words are Wind”, and Monday many Pagans hope to change that with action. Several area Pagans have pledged on social media to attend the march, and some are meeting in advance to make signage and arrive together.

    http://fergusonaction.com organizers are encouraging this weekend of events to reclaim the legacy of Martin Luther King with national resistance to injustice and demand action. The TC metro area has a March planned for Monday 1/19/15 at 1:00 PM in St. Paul, MN at. Snelling and University Ave .

    From the Facebook event:

    Join us for a March to #ReclaimMLK as part of a national day of action.We can’t stop now. Eyes on the prize. Text @BlackLives to 23559 for action updates

    Martin Luther King Jr’s life’s work was the elevation, honoring, and defense of Black Lives. His tools included non-violent civil disobedience and direct action. Dr. King was part of a larger movement of women, and men, queer, and straight, young and old. This movement was built on a bold vision that was radical, principled, and uncompromising. The freedom fighters who believed in this vision were called impractical, rash, irrational, and naive. Their tactics were controversial. Some elders distanced themselves from what was then a new movement for change. Some of the older generation joined in. Our movement draws a direct line from the legacy of Dr. King.

    Unfortunately, Dr. King’s legacy has been clouded by efforts to soften, sanitize, and commercialize it. Impulses to remove Dr. King from the movement that elevated him must end. We resist efforts to reduce a long history marred with the blood of countless women and men into iconic images of men in suits behind pulpits.

    From here on, MLK weekend will be known as a time of national resistance to injustice.This MLK weekend we will walk in the legacy of Dr. King and the movement that raised him. We will #ReclaimMLK http://fergusonaction.com/reclaim-mlk/

    OUR DEMANDS:

    Our basic demands are an immediate end to the unjust police murders of unarmed Black people, including Black children and teens, and for Minnesota to take measures to eliminate our worst in the country racial disparities. Our initial policy demands include:

    1. Adopt statewide legislation to end racial profiling.
    2. Require all Minnesota law enforcement officers to take implicit bias and cultural competency training.
    3. Establish an independent community review board for police departments with full disciplinary powers and establish a federal oversight system.
    4. Increase the number of officers that live in the communities they serve and immediately repeal the 1990 “Stanek Residency Freedom Bill.”
    5. De-militarize local law enforcement across the country.

    We also demand that Bloomington City attorney Sandra Johnson and the Mall of America halt the outrageous charges and restitution for “lost revenue” and “police overtime” being threatened against “organizers” of our peaceful gathering at the MOA. This is an evolving list. We want to form a community commission to address the biggest racial disparities in policing in the United States now. We won’t wait. Black lives are at stake. We remember Terrance Franklin.

    BlackLivesMatterMinneapolis

     

    Nels Linde

    Holiday Handfasting

    PB1

    Penny and Brian

    This past Saturday, November 29th, Penny Mixhau and Brian McNee became handfasted at their home in Prescott, Wi.  Brian and Penny met almost 5 years ago when she was working at Bandana Chiropractic. Good friend (and wedding photographer) Kjersti Kronstedt worked behind the scenes to set them up. Not exactly on the same spiritual path,  they do share much, including common values and philosophies, a love of spiritual growth, art, history, travel, and offbeat movies.

    Brian and Penny  host several events during the year at their home, including MayFest at Beltane, and an annual Turkey Free Thanksgiving, where they welcome Pagan friendly individuals from a wide variety of Pagan and other paths. This same mixture of long time Pagan friends, family relatives, and folk of open hearts gathered for this ceremony.
    guests

    A few Guests

    Yeshe Rabbit Matthews

    Yeshe Rabbit Matthews

    The handfasting officiants were Yeshe Rabbit Matthews and Joe Schumacher. Nels Linde provided the music and props for the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance processional and Kjersti Mortenson Kronstedt of Mortenson Photography was the photographer.

    lamb

    Lamb Roasting

    A  lamb for the following feast was a gift from Lou, Bob, and Otter. Alan Snow was the fire master. His helpers were Jude Kroutil and Jaimie Zaugg. 

    Family

    Family

     

    Penny and Brian added:
    “We are blessed with amazing friends. We had close to 30 helpers – kitchen witches, pyrotechnics, parking, concierge and facilities. The most beautiful rings I’ve ever seen were designed and crafted by Judy Olson and Nels Linde. We don’t have a final head count yet – my mom (who recently passed) usually did that. The unofficial number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80.”

    It was a really fine ceremony to experience and a joy to celebrate the happiness present in this union. The ritual was elegant and brief, yet allowing all present a chance to speak blessings to the couple. A bountiful feast and fireworks display culminated the days events.

     firewkiss

    Barebones presents Metamorphosoup- by Lisa Spiral Besnett

    BB1

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    In the Twin Cities we are blessed with a wide variety of performance art options. Some of my favorite events are community based, like the May Day Parade. At this end of seasonal cycle Barebones Productions puts on its Halloween Extravaganza. This is an evening event, outdoors in a park late in the fall in Minnesota. For the 21st annual production Barebones presented Metamorphosoup.

    This year the weather has been perfect for this kind of event. Sunday night when I
    attended the temps were in the cool, but comfortable 50’s. Much better than some years, but still nice to be bundled up. This year’s presentation seemed shorter than some. There is often a theme or story associated with the production. This year seemed more pageant than play.

    photo: Lisa Spiral Besnett

    photo: Lisa Spiral Besnett

    The audience entered through the mouth of the great whale and found their seats on hay bales under the trees. We watched the new moon setting over the trees as we waited for full dark, for the audience to settle, for the main show to begin.

    BB3Actors/street performers dressed in Halloween visions of carnival characters directed people to seating and kept us engaged. There are 5 performances with a total attendance around 8,000 people (maybe more this year due to the fine weather). Complete with puppets, aerialists, fire spinners, dancers, singers and musicians we watched the cycle of birth and death and rebirth play out before us.

    This was the story of the cosmic soup, the great cauldron of creation. This was a pageant of evolution and destruction, of limited resources and greed, and the bounty of stone soup. There were moments of profound loss and grief and  moments of awe and joy. There was an acknowledgement of ancestors lost and of remembrance.

    BB4

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    That description hardly does justice to the wonder that is the Barebones. There were dinosaur puppets, bones perhaps not to scale, but certainly representative of the size and scope of actual dinosaurs. The great wave of water brought
    the scene to the ocean filled with floating luminescent creatures lighting up the darkness. Fire spinners dances in glorious numbers, circles and forms. Each time they appeared the fires beneath the great cauldron seemed to glow brighter and the cauldron grew bigger and bigger. In the end there were the ancestors, and the stars.

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    BB6Even after the presentation there is still production happening. This is not just a play, but an event, a community ritual.
    There is a beautiful Hungry Ghost Altar set up around the tree for people to spend time honoring their ancestors, beloved dead and unknown dead alike. There is paper to leave notes and messages, candles available to light, offerings made with the great tree as witness to all that happens at its feet.

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

    The Jack Brass Band (the Brass Messengers on other nights) played music into the night. The brass band echoing on the wind is reminiscent of a New Orleans style funeral procession, somber on the way in but joyous and celebratory on the way out. Sisters Camelot had hot food available for those who stayed and needed a warmup.There was also some merchanting, another source of funding for this amazing production.

    Still playing October 30-November 1
    7pm at Hidden Falls Regional Park (North Gate Entrance)
    1305 Mississippi River Blvd. S., St. Paul  (arrive early for parking)
    Suggested donation $10-$20 – new this year they will accept credit cards!

    For more information:
    Barebonespupets.org

    Lisa Spiral Besnett

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