Holiday Handfasting

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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

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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.

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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

Harmony Tribe, Inc. Annual Meeting Sat Oct. 18th

Harmony Tribe is holding its Annual Meeting Saturday, October 18th at Black Bear Crossing in Como Park on Oct 18, from 2 to 5 PM in the Larry Kito Community Room.  This is the first annual meeting after receiving a 501c3 federal tax exempt designation as a religious and educational non-profit. This is an exciting time to get involved with this group because many changes are taking place.  New members are joining and a new location and vision for Sacred Harvest Festival is being developed. Harmony Tribe has been a place for nearly twenty years where Pagans of many traditions and paths work together to create community events, educational workshops, and community rituals.
HTBanner
Harmony Tribe has developed a clear set of values (at the bottom of each of their web pages), and a process covenant that each member agrees to and is held to. These, and an efficient task based structure has helped the organization move to a drama free atmosphere with efficient monthly two-hour meetings.  Transparency is really important to build trust and hold each person accountable. Once you become a member you have access to organizational communication, a member forum, and an archive of historical documentation.

To become a member of the council a person needs to attend at least two meetings, take on a significant task or role, and ask to be voted into the council.  Many organizations require years of involvement, taking on a titled directorship, and standing for election to help guide the group. In Harmony Tribe a demonstrated commitment and interest is all that is required. You can review all the Harmony Tribe organizational documents.

 

Pagans can gain many leadership skills and “people” skills by working within a group that shares a few basic values, but also has a broad and inclusive membership. Check out the annual meeting Saturday and see what Harmony Tribe has to offer you!

Nels Linde
Nels is currently a Harmony Tribe Council Member.

Seeker? – Get looking!

A seeker in religions is a person trying to see what they believe so they ‘seek’ out information on the different religions and eventually find what they are looking for. For those imbedded in Pagan community one  might  wonder who is looking?  We often forget there is a steady stream of people, young and old, who are looking for a meaningful expression of their spiritual beliefs outside of main stream religions.  Sometimes seekers are looking for help clarifying what they really do believe. Seeker classes serve an important function;  giving people new to Pagan experience an overview of what the Pagan world looks like and encompasses.

Fall is the season many of these classes start. Some classes may only be sponsored every few years by some groups  and locations. In an online world of many classes and opportunities there is still really no substitute for meeting in person with fellows on a similar level of investigation, with someone qualified to help guide you, and exploring the many paths of magic and Paganism. If you are a seeker, to find class opportunities you need to get on mail lists, talk to book stores, and get recommendations from those you trust.  When you find one, jump on it! If you know a tradition or path you are already interested in use the same resources and ask around. Many groups or covens have ongoing ways for new people to learn about them without an ongoing commitment.

Many of these classes have already started and may not take people at this time. always worth asking though. Starting tomorrow is:
Wicca 101   –  Location: Eye of Horus, 910 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
October 16th (Thursday) 7-9pm ~ 13 Class Series 3rd Thursday Each Month, starting in October 2014
Learn the basics of Wicca from ethics and basic protection work to spellwork and ritual creation. We will cover energy work, use of herbs and stones, and more in this once a month class series. To finish out the course, participants will write and perform a final ritual. Everyone will also leave with resources to either continue a solitary path or find the coven that is right for them. Class is provided by Wellspring Coven from Minneapolis. 3rd Thursday of each month, starting October 16th, 2014. 
$65 Cost covers entire year – 13 month commitment required.

 
Seekers Classes The Coven of the Standing Stones regularly holds seeker classes and their next series is beginning
 in November at Magus Books. They will begin the first Friday in November and are offered free at 6.30pm.  Contact Magus Books or the Standing Stones to reserve a spot in the class.

 Grove Training   Stillwater (Minnesota) Gardnerian Coven is currently accepting students for our outer court training grove. Seekers interested in training and possible initiation in the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition can find more information and contact info on our WitchVox listing, here: http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmn&id=36698

These classes have already begun :

 Elements of Magic 101, Six Sessions in Six Months begins this Saturday, Sept 13th.   “All are welcome to join us. If you are new to Reclaiming and wish to be a more active participant in our practices and understandings this will be a very good way to learn the basics of our Tradition.  We will meet once a month over 6 months exploring, learning and deepening the foundational arts, magics, and practices of Reclaiming. Some of the topics that we will be looking at are; grounding, shielding, personal practice, shaping intentions, spell crafting, divination, ritual format and skills, prayer beads, labyrinths, the Seven Sacred Voices, nurturing our relationships with Mystery, altar building and an overview of Reclaiming’s history. We will also closely examine our one core document that informs everything that we do, The Principals of Unity. We will explore all of these topics and more, using the tools of conscious thought, trance journeying, discussion, rune and tarot work, song, chant, and other voice skills, and the mystery that we are bodies, and that all of the magical tools that we need our already a part of our beings.”


 

Since September the Wiccan Church of Minnesota ( WiCoM )has been doing a series of six seekers’ classes.  We meet every second and fourth Wednesday evening at a St. Paul restaurant that has a meeting room to rent.  The purpose of the class is to give students just a taste of what Wicca is about and some very basic information about other Pagan paths.  We also touch upon the history of Wicca, our church in particular, ethics, ritual, and energy work.  At the end of our classes it is hoped that students will know if Wicca is something they wish to pursue.  If it is, the class teachers and other church leaders help the students connect with appropriate teachers.  Unlike other seekers’ classes that encompass year-and-a-day training, WiCoM Seekers’ classes are intended to give students a familiarity with Wicca and then a connection to year-and-a-day training.

It is too late to join this round of WiCoM seekers classes.  We hope to have another round in the spring.  Folks can watch our Facebook page and website for an announcement about upcoming classes.

I found this Witchvox listing in Duluth, contact them for future classes:

When: Feb. 16th. 2014 – Jan. 18th. 2015
Where: Duluth, Minnesota

Seeker Classes offered by Silver Phoenix

Event Details: Silver Phoenix is offering seeker classes starting in Feb 2014 and ending in Jan 2015.

Our classes typically run for a year, and we have in person classes once a month as well as weekly projects and discussions online. New this year Song has built an interactive student website for the students to complement the classes.

Seeker classes are open to anyone interested in learning, and we do not require our students to become members either before or following the end of classes (though we do occasionally offer membership) . Our goal is to help our students find the place that is right for them, be it with us, another group, or as a solitary.


If you have information about new seeker class opportunities, please add them as a comment!

Nels Linde

Paganistan Reclaiming Tradition Fall Events

photo: Donald L. Engstrom-Reese

Reclaiming Tradition has a series of fall events in the Twin Cities. A series of six monthly introductory classes begins Saturday. Paganistan Reclaiming will for the first time host a tradition “Dandelion Gathering”, and sponsors a public Equinox ritual which takes place during the gathering.

 

Elements of Magic 101, Six Sessions in Six Months begins this Saturday, Sept 13th.   “All are welcome to join us. If you are new to Reclaiming and wish to be a more active participant in our practices and understandings this will be a very good way to learn the basics of our Tradition.  We will meet once a month over 6 months exploring, learning and deepening the foundational arts, magics, and practices of Reclaiming. Some of the topics that we will be looking at are; grounding, shielding, personal practice, shaping intentions, spell crafting, divination, ritual format and skills, prayer beads, labyrinths, the Seven Sacred Voices, nurturing our relationships with Mystery, altar building and an overview of Reclaiming’s history. We will also closely examine our one core document that informs everything that we do, The Principals of Unity. We will explore all of these topics and more, using the tools of conscious thought, trance journeying, discussion, rune and tarot work, song, chant, and other voice skills, and the mystery that we are bodies, and that all of the magical tools that we need our already a part of our beings.”

A Dandelion Gathering is a tradition-wide Reclaiming reunion. At the last Dandelion Gathering of 2012 in Portland, OR, those meeting decided to encourage bio-regional Dandelion gatherings to be held in communities across the globe.

Our intention for the gathering: We joyfully gather, with the heart of the Fool, near the Sacred Mississippi to celebrate, sing, dance and heal in community. ”

I talked to Paul Eaves as he tended his annual Pagan Pride labyrinth about Dandelion last week. “This event is co-created by our community and rather than have a highly scheduled event we have planned a series of events people can select from. A full schedule of events and locations are available online.”

The Saturday events at Hidden Falls Park include workshops on building a Labyrinth, and connecting with fossil allies.  Participate in an Open Listening/Discussion Session about Winter Witchcamp with some of the event Weavers.  At 2pm, before the equinox ritual, an introduction to Reclaiming discussion is scheduled with a brief background about Reclaiming Tradition and question and answer session.

 

photo: Reclaiming Quarterly

We are celebrating the turning of the wheel with an Autumnal Equinox Ritual at the park pavilion of Hidden Falls Regional Park on September 20. We will start gathering at 3:00 p.m. and begin ritual promptly at 3:20 p.m.
Our intention: “We name our flames to honor this hearth.”
We ask that you consider coming to this ritual with:
1.  A seasonal oath to name aloud while in the hearth of community
2.  A non-perishable food item or items to donate to The Exchange’s Queer Community Food Shelf
Money donations are also welcome to cover ritual expenses, but please note that no one will be turned away for lack of funds or food items.
Please bring a chair if you need one and weather-appropriate clothing as we will be outdoors.
ALL ARE WELCOME including children and folks from other traditions. This is a sober event. We also invite you to refrain from the use of perfumes, lotions, and other scented product to ensure increased accessibility.
We look forward to seeing you!
When
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Time
3:00 p.m.
Where
The park pavilion at Hidden Falls Regional Park, 1313 Hidden Falls Drive, St. Paul, MN 55116