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  • 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

    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.

    Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists – Art Show Opening

    mcpa“Doorways to the Underworld”, the debut exhibition of the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists (MCPA) will celebrate the shows opening reception Saturday October 25th, 2004 7:30-11pm.

    Stevens Square Center for the Arts (SSCA)
    1905 Third Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

    There will be live music performance by Comets Ov Cupid  and a dance presentation by Alana Mari.

    This group of artists considers this time of year to be sacred for remembering loved ones who have passed away. In this exhibit, Halloween is explored through the eyes of those who experience the season as a profound time to commune with the ancestors and the spirit world. For these artists, the work is an extension of their spirituality, allowing a glimpse into what is often an unseen tradition.

    Featured MCPA artists are Ali Beyer (Artemis Namaste), Anne Marie Forrester (Helga Hedgewalker), Paul B. Rucker, Roger Williamson. The show includes guest artists Ellie Bryan, Katie Clapham, and Rmay

    MCPA is a collective of artists who work in a variety of media and styles with a shared spiritual philosophy.  To them making art is a way of connecting with and paying homage to the Divine.  They use their artwork to create further dialogue about contemporary Pagan culture with those who may not be familiar with this spiritual path.

    Gallery viewing hours
    Saturdays and Sundays 1pm – 5pm through November 15th

    Closing Reception: Saturday November 15th, 2014 7:30-11pm Live Music Performance by Crow Call

    Twin Cities Pagan Pride this Saturday September 6th!

    TCPP Entrance

    TCPP Entrance

    The Twin Cities Pagan Pride (TCPP) Fall Festival is being held at Minnehaha Falls Park on Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 – 6:00pm. Pagan Pride is a free fall event, open to the public, that offers education about Paganism to the larger community. Twin Cities Pagan Pride has offered a fall event since 1998 that includes a ritual focusing on the harvest, a food and charity drive, along with other rituals, discussions, vendors, and entertainment.

    TCPPimg6

    Labyrinth Station

    Paul Eaves, the amazing labyrinth designer, will be back putting up another of his walkable works of art.  TCPP is partnering with the Groveland Emergency Food Shelf again this year to give back to the community, please bring non-perishable food items!.

     

    There are over 25 vendor booths for merchants and representing area groups to visit. Something for everyone!

    Saturday’s schedule :

    10:00am-10:30am – Opening Ritual (Steven Posch)

    10:30 Crow Call

    11:00 Standing Stones Ritual

    11:15 Dance 1 – Mystic Siren
    11:25 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
    12:00 Blue Star Ritual – We’ll be singing, celebrating the season, and honoring the gods.
    1:00 Mark Digitono
    1:45 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
    2:05 Bourgeois Bohemians
    2:25 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
    3:00 Our Lady of Celestial Fire Ritual
    3:45 Beth Kinderman and the Player Characters
    Located at Minnehaha Falls Park, in the area around the bandshell. There are both paid and free parking options in the area (the link includes map and parking details.) The park is not far from the 46th Street light rail station and a wide variety of bus lines (and you can find out more from the MetroTransit site.

    Nels Linde

    Eye of Horus Metaphysical Store Faced with Relocating

    Thraicie and Jane

    Thraicie and Jane

    You would never guess from the business-as-usual appearance at the Eye of Horus Metaphysical Store that the owners are faced with the sudden challenge of relocating it by the end of this month and finding the funds to do so. As I enter “the Eye”, I am still greeted by the customers browsing, buying and getting their questions answered by upbeat staff. Stones of all types glisten beside cards stating their magical properties. A client seeking spiritual guidance exits into a room with one of the divinational readers. In the background a CD plays musical selections from an upcoming Wendy Rule concert being held there this Sunday. Thraicie Hawkner, her long silver hair flowing down her shoulders, and Jane Hawkner, with a short, cute pixie cut, approach me from across the busy room with undaunted looks on their faces.

    Their confident appearance shouldn’t have surprised me. They have been running The Eye of Horus since October 31st 2003 in a previous location just a few blocks from their current space and even earlier as an internet business with booths at community gatherings. Meeting the challenges of entrepreneurship over the years has made them seasoned businesswomen with a fair amount of mettle. But, even so, finding out the first of July that they would need to find a new space and move the store into it by the end of July, would have been enough to make even experienced business owners sweat.

    “During this crunch time it has been particularly motivating to remember how many times people have come in and said things like, “I did not know there was a place like this, I feel like I have come home” or “Your store is the reason I was able to reconnect to my faith”, said Jane. It keeps us tuned into the reason we are here and to what the Eye of Horus means to so many people. Knowing that we have been of meaningful service to the community has been fuel for problem solving through this challenge.”

    “We have found a perfect size space for us that we can move into,” Thraicie said. She explained that the challenge has been raising the funds for the move. “We just found out July 1st that we would need to move, so we had no money to secure the new location, or any money to cover the closing of the store during move time, a rental truck or other moving expenses. So we developed the current fundraiser.”

    Eye of Horus has a GoFundMe website  that enables people to either purchase “perks” or make a straight donation. The perks are in the form of discounted services such as divinatory readings, therapeutic massage, discounted gift certificates, or a book shelf in their name.  In this way, people can choose to donate or purchase “perks” at attractively discounted prices.

    Continue reading

    Shoe Shrines in West Wisconsin

    photo: George Adams

    photo: George Adams

    On a backwater road in West Wisconsin there are shoes. Shoes nailed to guard rail posts, hanging from trees, even planted with flowers. Work shoes, dance shoes, running shoes, prom shoes, they are all on the roadside.  There are many possible explanations from ghosts to magic, a traveler’s shrine to a teenage prank. Their presence at the road side could be all of these reasons, or none. What you see for sure is amazed people slowing or stopping to look in wonderment.

    Shoes have always been a potent vehicle and symbol used in magic.  Shoes are very personal.  Over time they take the exact shape of the wearers foot, and are a reflection of who they are.  There are forms of Southern “conjure work” where the magic is activated through contact with shoes.

    In many cultures there existed a prehistoric custom of killing a person and placing the body in the foundation of a new building to insure that the building holds together. Later as this practice lost favor shoes were used as a substitute for a human sacrifice.

    In early American and many European homes renovation has discovered many shoes placed within walls. About half the shoes found were children’s shoes and may have been intended to bestow fertility on a female member of the household.  Women’s shoes are more commonly found than men’s. The shoes are almost invariably well-worn, perhaps because the donor didn’t want to waste an expensive new shoe on the project, or perhaps because a well-worn shoe is more likely to retain the shape of the wearer’s foot and hence his spirit.  They may have been concealed as magical charms to protect the occupants of the building against evil influences.

    A rancher will sometimes put boots on the fencepost to honor the passing of a beloved horse, a hired hand or fallen comrade.  A rancher would indicate he was home and the workday was over by hanging boots on the fence at the start of his lengthy entry road. When dating, a single woman in a trailer court would often place a suitors boots outside the door as a sign no gentleman callers were appreciated at this time!

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    The above shoes are from March 2004, a Saint Patrick tribute?

    Why all these shoes, and why here, on a low traveled highway in Wisconsin? The obvious explanation is that these roadside shoes are a living shrine to travel. Shoes represent us leaving home, getting on the road, and moving.  I observe these shoes nearly each time I leave home. When I see them again, I am almost back home safely. But how did they all get there, and who put them there?

    I have observed this shrine for over fifteen years. At one point there were over fifty shoes on one guard rail. It is ever-changing because the highway maintenance crew periodically removes them all.  This was a shock the first time I noticed their absence. Now the mysterious petitioners nail the shoes on so they are harder to remove.  Recently they began appearing as tied together pairs hanging from the roadside trees, twenty feet in the air!

    My kids passed on two local explanations circulated by the teen population. The shoes are “trophies” from the high school prom season. If you got “lucky’ on prom night a couple’s shoes (or their friends may choose representative shoes) would be stolen or donated to add to the highway shrine. You may notice an increase of shoes in May each year, and some brightly painted high heels are often included.

    The other local story is a ghost story spread by the teens. It is “reported” that in the late 1800’s two children (boy and girl) were lost in a snow storm (some say from the house just round the corner on the north side of 64) . No one ever heard of them again until their shoes were found near the current shoe bearing hilltop the following spring. Since that time the ghosts of the two children have made appearances to local folks (well teens mainly). As the story goes, people place shoes there hoping the children’s spirits will take a pair and they will move on. Another version is the children were murdered and their spirits keep adding the shoes to remind us the killers were never caught.

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    Renee, a local woman for fifty plus years now, contributed this authoritative explanation. This was started by some neighborhood kids having a little country fun back in the late 70’s early 80’s.  It eventually became a larger neighborhood game. At a birthday party teens were sometimes asked to bring an old shoe. It was part of the party fun to go nail another shoe to the post.

    What these shoes represent to you is defined by your perspective and inclination. They night be a simple prank, or a deep magical act. I do know they catch my attention each time I pass, and that is no coincidence!

    Nels Linde

    Shoe shrines are all located along Wi. State Highway 64. A few boots appear on fence posts just East of New Richmond, Wi, then a guardrail shrine and tree hung shoes appear just 100 yards past the Saint Croix County Line entering into Dunn County. A third guardrail shrine with flower planted shoes appears on Hwy 64 between State Highway 25 and Hwy 53 near Bloomer ,Wi.

    Ed Fitch at Heartland Pagan Festival – Interview

    Ed Fitch before his workshop on the Magick of the Seven Seas.

    Ed Fitch before his workshop on the Magick of the Seven Seas.

    Edward Fitch is a Wiccan High Priest of the Gardnerian tradition and was a leading figure in the rise of contemporary Wicca and Paganism in America.  Fitch was an early initiate of Raymond and Rosemary Buckland (initiated by Gerald Gardner’s home coven) after they set up the first Gardnerian coven in America. Fitch also helped to organize and chaired two Pagan Ecumenical Councils to establish the Covenant of the Goddess (COG) as an international umbrella organization representing Pagans. Through the 1980s Fitch continued to perform as a Gardnerian High Priest, but his researches also led him to initiation in a number of other traditions and orders, including:  Faerie faith, Mohsian, the Order of Osiris, the Order of the Temple of Astarte, Norse, and Ceremonial magick.

     

    Fitch is the original author of “Magical Rituals from the Crystal Well”, the Pagan Way Rituals, and two classic underground books on American witchcraft:  “The Grimoire of the Shadows” and “The Outer Court Book of Shadows” (later combined by Llewellyn Publications to be published as “A Grimoire of Shadows”) as well as the Norse volume,  “The Rites of Odin”. He also wrote (uncredited) “A Book of Pagan Rituals” and is the author of the forthcoming “Revised and Updated Rituals of the Pagan Way”. (He created the original “Pagan Way” ritual system in 1972.)

    I had the chance to chat with Ed before one of his workshops as guest at Heartland Pagan Festival, near Leavenworth, KS.

    What was your introduction to the craft like?
    I had been looking for the craft for a long time, and had been totally isolated from it. I was in Baltimore and was getting restless.  I would go out to the airport, and go to their bookstore which featured science fiction. I was out there flipping through books and came upon “Sign of the Labrys”  by Margaret St. Clair  and words started jumping out at me; “moon power”, ‘priestess”,  “coven”. I started some research on what was this “Wicca”.   This was 1963 and there was nothing in the states that I knew about. I thought , ah ha, here is someone to contact, but how in the world do I do it? It took me a year to figure to contact the publisher. I did and got an invite to drop in and visit from Margaret and Eric St. Clair. I visited them in Richmond, Ca and thought nothing of the fact they had a ceremonial sword on the wall and the living room had a triple circle inscribed there in bronze. They were brilliant people and we had great conversations. I did not know but afterward they sent a letter about me to Ray and Rosemary Buckland in Long Island. I went back into the Air force and was assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base just outside of Boston. I began to visit Ray and Rosemary and very rapidly became part of the coven.

    The very first time I was there we were chatting and it approached midnight. I was going to turn in and Ray said, “No, we will be doing a ritual. We will open the circle first and we will have you come in later on.”  They prepared a consecrating bath for everyone and he flipped me a towel and in his finest English accent said, “Here, this should soak up the blood.”  Everyone had their bath, and I had mine,  and went then all down and they left me sitting in the living room dressed only in my goose bumps. I could hear chanting and a little bit of laughter. I wondered what is this all about? I had done research and knew these people did not take blood sacrifices, but … just suppose that I am wrong?  After a while Ray came with his athame, in his devilish beard and mustache and said, “We are ready for you.”  At the dark entrance to the stairs going down I said; “After you.” and Ray said, “No, no, after you!”  I walked down the stairs into the complete darkness,  being very conscious that  someone was just behind be with a drawn blade. At the bottom a curtain was opened for me. There was the ceremonial room all lit in black light.  Suddenly a beautiful naked woman leaped out at me with a dagger and said, “Yummy, fresh blood!”  I nearly had heart failure. I later discovered they were very charming people with a great sense of humor.

    Did you continue to work with them?
    Well for a time but eventually the Air Force sent me to Vietnam, and on to Thailand. I had little contact over there, but began the writing (1967) of the “ The Outer Court Book of Shadows”, published by Llewellyn. Some of my writing from that time has a bit of an edge on it because, well, I was being shot at from time to time!  I had been working with Ray and Rosemary for some time, and writing material for them.

    Did you ever run a coven as priest, or do you prefer to work solitary?
    I had an interest long before I was initiated.  Initiations were done in pairs at that time, male and female, and I did have a small coven for a while. I was in the active military and was sent all over.  My lady and myself ended up going separate ways.  I have since sometimes worked as a coven and sometimes on my own.  I find it is very good to work as a coven because you can exchange ideas, and do power workings with them. Solitary you get to study and meditate. People have personalities and there are sometimes conflicts. When that happens it is best to just ease away genially and then do your own research and study.  I like both ways of working.  I like working with my people over here on advanced work and like to bounce my ideas off my people. Of the people that I train that I think will be the best maybe one out of ten will be really spectacular. The others will be mediocre, and one or two will be toxic. I have never been able to judge human nature that well. There are advantages to the traditional Wiccan time of waiting a year and a day before an initiation. When I got started there was such a demand that people wanted it faster than that. My material was written so  people could get into it a good deal faster.

    fitch1Do you believe in magic?
    Yes, and I believe in gravity, even green trees and beautiful women!  A person doesn’t believe in it, one lives it. Like talking to a tree. I taught myself to link into a tree and get its life force, get its feelings.  I go to the redwood forests in California and wow, this thing is three hundred feet tall, and I am tiny compared with it. I was on a ridge line outside Los Angeles hiking alone and came upon a snag that had been killed by lightning.  I gave it an offering of water around the base, and put my hands over it and my head against it. I immediately got a splitting head ache, like I had been hit by lightning. I was communicating with something that was dead.  There was a consciousness there that goes beyond death. I found that trees are all interlinked, but that is another matter.

    Do you have a vision of what Wicca and magic is offering our society for the future?
    Wicca and Paganism are going to be spreading more and more. We are probably going to be seeing some of the initial effects of it with the green movement and things like that.  We are gaining more of an understanding of some of the deeper aspects of life.  When I was working for Westinghouse some forty or fifty years ago we discovered by experiment that there is an understanding of reality beyond reality, the Multi-verse.  Reality is flexible, you can effect it with your own mind. I have learned how to affect it with mine.  You have to roll and live with what is out there, live with the natural world.  I stay away from cities as much as I can, because they are toxic. I have a strong dislike for anything chaotic. It is interesting to experience life in as many ways as possible.

    Do you consider yourself a traditional Gardnerian?
    Gardnerianism is my home, and from there I expand outward. I really feel a person should get a start in one tradition or another, from there, go with your DNA. If you have Norse blood, great, if you have African, great, go with that. Some of my best friends are in the Roman traditions. After you have got the tradition down then you can branch out and try other ones.

    Do you have a personal set of deities?
    There are many, many manifestations of the Gods and Goddesses. The Garderians work with the God and Goddess, but when I am up in the mountains I may give an invocation to Thor.  If  I am near the ocean I may work with the Lady of the Seas, or Poseidon, or what the hell, even Davy Jones.  There is only one deity force but he or she has ten thousand names and more. Just pick the ones you can relate to the best. I like the Goddess because she is pretty, and very, very magical. As Freya, she kicks butt!

    How have your travels and the spirituality you found there influenced you?
    The reason I did the Odinist book is because I spent several summers in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and the British high country. The military sent me to the orient and I learned a bit of their view of things, and followed up on it with study. In Japan the oldest legend is that they were founded by the seven little Gods who sailed up from the south.  I still have a sculpture of this with the seven gods on their ship. Each has one  has one of the major aspects of civilization.  In Sumerian legend, Inanna wanted to get civilization started but her father had the seventy-two “Me”, magical scrolls, I think.  She sailed her boat up the river to the God, smoozed him and got him drunk, and then sweet talked him. She got all the Me loaded on her boat and sailed away before he knew what had happened. He was angry, but she had gotten the basis for civilization. I like Inanna, she was a sex goddess, a war-goddess, loved to go into taverns. She went down into hell, got killed and then came back again.

    Where does your path lead you today?
    I am going to continue writing because I want to get my ideas out. It helps people in their own paths and begins to change society in what little I can contribute to it. The royalties are trivial, but still good. Will I continue to work in a group? Yes, but I also continue to do researching  and reading and trying out new things. I have not lost any students as of yet, though I push the edge sometimes. I will have my elders coven come over and say, “Lets step on out, I want to have you do face and shape changing.”  I have a special technique that I have researched and written for this, and worked on for years with my ex-wife, Janine Renée . Through this you can change your appearance. You can actually feel the flesh and the bones moving and changing their appearance.  This is a trick, but the deepest part is what happens in the mind. Or lighting a magical flame. You have a candle and everyone concentrates on breathing the element of fire in and putting it there on the candle. It will light and the blue glow spreads all over, and onto your hands. This is great for healing, but that is yet another matter.

    There are many things that I do not understand, but I am fascinated by them all. It’s a big, complex and intriguing universe of magic!

     

    Nels Linde

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