• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,616 other followers

  • Become a Fan


  • Archives

  • 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!

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    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.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    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

    Sparky T. Rabbit Passes

    Spark T. Rabbit at Sacred Harvest Festival 2004

    Sparky T. Rabbit – Bruner Soderberg of Rock Island, Il.,  passed over Monday June 2nd, 2014.

    Born February 3, 1954 he was a prominent Midwest heathen,  singer, song-writer, rite-maker, gadfly and friend of Freyr.   Sparky;  “I critique and satirize neopaganisms,monotheisms, and any other-isms that seem appropriate.”    Handfasted [married] to Ray Bayley since 1984 (Sparky: “That’s 93 anniversaries in straight years!”)
    Sparky was a nationally known singer, bard, master ritualist, and pot stirrer.  His recording “Lunacy”, done as a duo, is still one of the most prized pagan recordings of all time.
    Sparky was often quoted for his wisdom and satire;

    http://witchesandpagans.com/EasyBlog/the-once-future-people.html

    http://hedgeconfessions.com/2012/08/23/thinking-in-pagan/

    Words from his friends and  colleagues:

    Sparky T. Rabbit’s voice is intertwined with the roots of my development as a witch, and we still use the chants that he wrote and the chants that he popularized within our covens today. I played the cassettes for his two albums so often that I wore them out and had to buy replacements twice. I cherish the one time that I had the opportunity to sing with him. It is still a luminous fan boy moment for me. I grieve the loss of such a beautiful man and his beautiful talents, but I also grieve that so many in the current generation of Pagans have not heard of him. What is remembered lives. Take the time to look him up and find copies of his music which is finally available again in digital formats. Then you’ll feel the joy of discovering his music, and also share my sense of loss as well. May he go forth shining.

    - Ivo Dominguez, Jr. Elder, Assembly of the Sacred Wheel

    Sparky was my dear, dear friend for many years.  I am heartbroken at his passing.  A ritualist extraordinary, singer and songwriter, Sparky was a world-class cauldron stirrer, and a giant of Pagan culture….  My life has been enriched immeasurably by my long and deep friendship with Sparky.  His talent was sparkling.  He contributed much of great value to the Pagan movement and to the world.  In love may he return again.

    - M. Macha NightMare (Aline O’Brien)
    Witch at Large

    May his gentle heart and spirit-filled voice live with us always.

    Thanks to Steve (Posch), I got to meet and exchange enthusiasms with this wonderful man. I am shocked to hear of his passing, and I truly hope that his music and other works will live on with us.
    - Paul B. Rucker
    Sparky T Rabbit Bruner Soderburg

    Sparky T Rabbit – Bruner Soderburg – Feb3, 1954 – June 2nd, 2014

    “Coven brother, teacher, friend. Wicked Witch. Master rite-maker, singer, altar builder. Trouble maker. Sitting across from you at a kitchen table in Minneapolis, I found my life’s work.
    You have left us so many gifts. We will carry them forward, Bruner. We will remember. “- Frebur C.  Moore

    Nels Linde

    President Obama Saved My Life – Open Enrollment Ends

    When Barack Obama was first elected president it was with a surge of support from liberal supporters. Advocates for everything from free speech, peace movements, closure of Guantanamo Bay prison, and restoration of civil rights removed during the “War on Terror” expected to see large changes.

    I have lived long enough to see how few electoral promises get brought to fruition. My expectations were not very high. As the focus of president Obama turned to the passage of some sort of health care reform, I watched as many of the most progressive features of the Affordable Care Act were removed or crippled in their ability to really provide affordable care for the breadth of the American people. In the end at least a bill was passed and put in place.

    This bill as passed the congress was meant to benefit people like myself and my spouse. Most of our lives we have been self-employed and fall into that category of the “working poor”. When our kids were at home we qualified for subsidized medical assistance. As our children left the nest we found ourselves making too much income to qualify for health care assistance, and at our age (approaching sixty) and with some underlying pre-existing conditions, unable to afford or be approved by any insurance company.

    After several years without any health insurance and thankfully only minor health problems we looked forward to the arrival of comprehensive health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The months of public accusations and scare tactics attacking the arrival of “Obama Care” were not enough to scare us into trying to survive until we qualified for medicare in five years!

    When the initial open enrollment period online opened, the reports of problems signing up caused us to decide to wait. A quick look at the program disclosed no coverage was to begin until at least January 2014 anyway, and as reported signup problems persisted the deadline for eligibility for earliest January first coverage kept being pushed back. After Thanksgiving I resolved to get us signed up, whatever it took!

    I am web savvy so when I started having problems signing up I was able to figure out what they were about pretty fast. That does not mean it was easy to get past them. Their database did nor recognize my address, 1 ½ Street, as valid. Neither would it recognize my road’s other name, County Road “K”. I had filled out the entire form, bypassing the message that I had entered a undeliverable mailing address, only to find I could not proceed to actually choose a health plan.

    I got on the phone to the health plan phone bank help line. Over the next week I talked to at least four different phone representatives. Each was completely polite and as helpful as they could be, considering they were talking to someone getting more and more frustrated! Thankfully I was able to call during off-peak hours so I had practically no wait time to get through. Each of the first three calls involved going over the problem, where it was at, what I encountered and where it was left. The first two times were spent going over trying to “reload” my basic account information, which was where my address error was. The third time the assistant left me with the advice that I would have to delete my account and start over. After now spending over six hours on the phone, starting our application over was not what I wanted to hear! I fumed a couple of days, then finally deleted my profile and started over again. This time as soon as I encountered the address problem, and the previously recommended solution did not work, I called into the help desk again. This time I assertively explained the problem, its history, and demanded to talk to a supervisor. I was eventually connected with a supervisor.

    They were really understanding of my frustration, and he volunteered to take over my application and enter information on his end so he could see exactly the problem, do some work-around magic, and move past it. We stayed on the phone for another ninety minutes until my application was complete, and for the first time I could see the health plan options available, and at what subsidy level was appropriate for our family income.

    Continue reading

    Ivo Dominguez Jr at Paganicon – Interview

    Ivo Dominguez Jr

    Ivo Dominguez, Jr. is a visionary and has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978 and teaching since 1982.  Ivo was a founding member of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan Tradition.  He has taught at many gatherings, conferences, and venues across the United States. Ivo is also a professional astrologer, a well known as a ritualist, and author of many chants and songs. Ivo lives in Delaware, where he one of the owners of Bell, Book, & Candle, Delaware’s largest metaphysical shop. One of his passions has been to be one of the driving forces behind the New Alexandria Library project, which is rapidly approaching completion!

    Ivo is a special presenter at Paganicon this weekend. Registration is available at the door, per event, per day, or for the Saturday ball. He was national guest at Minnesota’s  Sacred Harvest Festival in 2004 where he made his initial connections with this area.

    How is the Alexandrian Library project proceeding?
    Yes, it is being built. The weather has not been kind to us. The building is progressing as the fund raising is progressing. We have been clear all along that we want this built without a mortgage, with no debt on the project. If all goes well, and the weather holds, we will be ready to start painting and preparing the interior at the end of June and later this summer moving books into it. It is progressing slower than we would like, but in the long run for the sake of survivability, not having a monthly payment is primary.

    In 1990 four of us bought the land and moved down there. The land is paid off. Groups take a long time to mature. We have deeded over the thirty acres that the library occupies. We are are progressively deeding over the balance of the property through life estates, so once we are all gone the entire property will remain with the library. Currently there are four houses on the land and the organization will inherit them all piecemeal over the course of decades. Once we owners are all passed there will be no real estate tax as Delaware doesn’t collect tax on 501c3 property. We as a group have several decades to ensure that there is a viable group within the non profit to keep and maintain this property.

    Ivo Dominguez Jr with Macha Nightmare in 2004 at Sacred Harvest Festival

    You were a Sacred Harvest Festival back in 2004, it will be great to have you back in our area!
    I am looking forward to attending Paganicon. I start the morning with a panel discussion and then my voice workshop. In the afternoon I have the book signing, a ritual, and then another workshop.

    What is the panel discussion about?
    The early morning panel is called surviving in dispersion. This is I think still being defined. Part of it is how to survive as a Pagan in a non-pagan world, but part of it is also how to survive and thrive if you are say, in a rural area, or an area with a small Pagan community, or one with few resources. I am guessing we’ll also cover what it means to be the “other” within the broader community.

    Do you experience community as an “other”?
    No not at all. I think I was considered because being from Delaware, it is not considered a Pagan hot spot like Paganistan! What I hope to bring is some insight into how you create your own community, your own enclave. How to interact and engage with the local community that may or may not be Pagan. I have been active in my community for a very long time as one of the owners of the local metaphysical shop. I help organize the local Pride event and have contact with the local political organizations. I will bring the perspective that even if you are a very small percentage you can have everything you need if you engage with the larger community. The role of public Pagans in communities where there are not many with a public face may come up. Having a local shop if the police ever find something strange they always come to me to ask,  ”Do you know any thing about this?”. Where this discussion goes will depend on what questions get posed to the panelists. I would like to focus on how the survive and thrive in a small community.

    What is the magical voice workshop about?
    This will be a lot of work on how to use chanting, spoken runes,primal sounds, and why the voice is so powerful. Before we jump in we will talk about magical hearing,learning to listen magically. The only way to join your voice with other people is if you are really listening. I am looking forward to this workshop, I really enjoy it, People leave very energized from this workshop.

    The Four Minds workshop is a ritual?
    Yes, “The Four Minds Ritual” is a sort of meditative ritual. This will not require a whole lot of mobility. In the beginning we will walk the to set boundaries for the space doing some free form toning. For the bulk of the time once they have in mind what they wish to explore or contemplate we will be seated or on the floor with eyes shut and traveling inwards. The ritual is a guided journey through the four elements and then back to spirit with the intention to explore a particular aspect or seek guidance on a particular thing for each person. It is a ritual, mainly internal but with some external portions of it.

    What is the Karma workshop about?
    The Structure of Karma is about exploring the mechanics of, not so much what karma is, but what karma does. Which things cause it to work or not work. The celestial mechanics of karma, lifting the hood to check how the laws of hermetics work to create cause and effect, causality and synchronicity. It sounds strange but it is an exploration of the engine driving karma, as opposed to whether something is good, bad, or indifferent or how do I escape or alleviate karma, or is it punishment or fate? We will explore individual and collective karma. What we do creates ripples out there. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in karma or not, this is cause and effect and change. If you make choices, if you have emotions or thoughts, you are putting into play a whole chain of cause and effect on the linear side. You are adding a whole web of synchronicity on the non-linear side that will pop up into the world as things that manifest. Karma is just a catchall word for the things we do that drives the engine of manifestation.

    Construction of the New Alexandrian Library

    What is your vision of what we need to accomplish in the next twenty years?
    What matters to me is that we leave behind a viable culture and a real infrastructure as Pagans. Infrastructure  is the single most important next step. Things that are tangible and real in the physical world are infrastructure. It could be a building, be land, be a library or a shrine or temple. A large event like Pantheacon is infrastructure too. It takes a large number of individuals, money, time, and energy to create this Brigadoon type of event that lasts only a few days. Three thousand people intersect in a great Pagan crossroads, like a Pagan United Nations session. This is also fragile, it takes very little to destroy an event. It take a lot to maintain, and requires cohesiveness of a group to continue.

    How we hope to maintain things like this is by this example. We put on an event every few years called Between the Worlds. In 2015 it conflicts with a smaller annual event in the Mid-Atlantic area the Sacred Space conference. We could just go forth and divide the teachers and participants between the two events. The smaller group would probably suffer financially and possibly become less viable. Our two boards met and decided to hold a joint conference. Both events will take place in the same hotel and admission to one gets you admission to the other. We have worked it out to be fair and keep both events, the infrastructure viable.  Cooperation is possible, it is not easy. It is messy, but it can be done.

    Ivo speaking at library ground breaking.

    Paganicon Begins THIS FRIDAY   March 14th  7pm – Sunday March 16th 4pm at the Doubletree Park Place St. Louis Park , MN. Ivo Dominguez will be presenting at four events Saturday, plus a book signing.  Registration is available at the door, per event, per day, or for the Saturday ball.

    Nels Linde

    2013 Winter Solstice Drum Jam

    This winter’s Solstice Celebration with the Minneapolis Sacred Fire Dance Tribe was highly energetic and a welcoming event to the lengthening of the days. Organized by WildFlower and Steve Poreda, the evening was full of invocation, drumming, dancing and magick. The family friendly event, with a potluck and donations to the East Side Neighborhood Services, was held at BE Coterie in the happenin’ NE Minneapolis.

    photo: Steve Peterson

    photo: Steve Peterson

    The evening began with WildFlower leading an opening ceremony that included a meditation to connect with our  inner light and assist in manifesting our hearts desires throughout the coming year. We were transported to magical realms while experiencing the pulsating beats of the Tribal Drums and witnessing the creativity of the Minneapolis Sacred Fire Dancing Tribe.

     Click to view event photo slideshow

    Winter Solstice has been celebrated across the world since ancient times. People from across the globe gather to celebrate at a variety of ancient sites including Stonehenge in England, the Great Pyramids in Egypt, Chichen Itza (an ancient Mayan site) and many other locations around the world.  The Minneapolis event energetically connected with all of the participating Drum Circles across the globe that were drumming in the Solstice at 12 Midnight Central Standard Time.

    See you there next year!

    Steve Peterson

    Yule in Minnesota

    Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

    Maybe it is the climate, or seasonal competitiveness but Yule is BIG in Minnesota. A few early events have already happened last weekend. If you are looking for a Pagan Yule event this weekend, check out these events beginning Friday evening and continuing through Sunday. If you know of other public events, please add them as a comment!


    2013 Winter Solstice Drum Jam

    with Minneapolis Sacred Fire Dancing Tribe
    Friday, December 20, 2013
    8:00pm until 1:00am
    BE Coterie,  165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413

    Doors open at 8pm. There will be spin toys for everyone to play with from 8-8:30 > Opening Ceremony begins at 8:30pm > fire dancing performances at 9, 10, 11 and 12 > and drumming throughout the night!This is a family friendly event. Suggested donation $5. Children 10 and younger are FREE.There will be a potluck so please bring food and/or drinks to share (something fitting for the holidays). If you bring something you are not required to pay the $5 entry, though it would still be appreciated :)Opening ceremony at 8:30pm which includes a meditation to help you connect with your inner light to assist you in manifesting your hearts desires (and better!) throughout the coming year.
    Accepting donations that will be given to East Side Neighborhood Services.


    Reclaiming Winter Solstice ritual

    Saturday December 21, 2013

    10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    Living Table United Church of Christ, 4001 38th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Please join us as we celebrate this intention for the Winter:
    Declaring we are not alone, we kindle our hearths’ Flame.

    There will be a light potluck following the ritual and you are welcome to bring something to share with community. There is a small kitchen at the church. You do not have to bring a potluck item to attend the ritual and share in the feasting.

    All are welcome, including children and folks from other traditions. Donations are also welcome, but please note that no one will be turned away for lack of funds. This is a sober event. We also invite you to refrain from the use of perfumes, lotions, and other scented products to ensure increased accessibility.


    Harmony Tribe Yule

    Celebrate the changes with Harmony Tribe
    on December 21, 2013

    Gather at 2 pm, ritual at 3 pm

    Michael Servetus Unitarian Society, 6565 Oakley Drive Northeast, Fridley, MN 55432.

    Feasting and camraderie to follow! All are welcome to attend; this is a FREE and very family friendly environment. Bring your family and a dish to pass. Ritual early in the day, early enough for those with other Yule obligations to attend.


    2013 Wiccan Church of Minnesota (WiCOM) Public Yule (Winter Solstice)

    Hearth and Home as We Await the Sun

    DATE Saturday, December 21, 2013
    TIME 6:30 p.m. Gather, 7:00 p.m. Ritual
    RITUAL
    PLACE
    Living Table UCC
    4001 38th Ave S
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Join us in a family-friendly ritual to commemorate the Holly King’s contributions and to celebrate the return of his counterpart, the Oak King.Bring a beverage and a dish to share for the feast, and we’ll lift a cup to the Sun.


    Saturnalia Sabbat Open Ritual

    with Our Lady of Celestial Fire

    Saturday December 21, 2013
    6:30 pm – 9:00 pm (GMT-06.00) Central Time (US & Canada)
    Eye of Horus, 3012 Lyndale Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55408
    Ritual 7-9:00pm Gather at 6:30 for setup Join Our Lady of Celestial Fire for this open circle celebration of the rebirth of the divine child. Any ritual garb may be worn. A potluck feast and fellowship to follow.This event is Free, but donations are appreciated to cover the costs.

    Winter Solstice Sound Healing Concert

    Doors are open at 7:30pm, concert at 8pm.
    610 W. 28th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Join Steve Sklar and Johnna Morrow for an evening of sonic exploration celebrating the Winter Solstice. An “inner adventure” intended to evoke and stimulate an enhanced sense of well-being, spiritual connectedness, healing, and meditative journeying. Tibetan singing bowls, didgeridoos, guitar, igil (Tuvan horsehead fiddle), voice, exotic flutes, drumming, throat-singing, sruti box, ehecatls and an amazing set of huge gongs. Special guest Brett Fehr will lead an opening invocation.

    Admission is $15 in advance and suggested $20 donation at the door.


    3012 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408

    Saturday, Dec 21st 9:00pm to Sunday Dec 22nd 8:00am

    Sacred fire circles are purposeful nights spent working through a personal alchemical process of burning off one’s dross to reveal the gold. It is a deliberate, intense and intent-full night of dancing, drumming, rattling, chanting, meditating, healing, and holding space in ritual mindset.

    This event costs $21.00 per person, and pre-registration is required.


    Winter Solstice gathering
    Sunday, Dec. 22nd from 4-6 pm .
    At the NEW Walker Church building–3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls.

    Candles lit to celebrate the light in our lives and bless the growing power of the Sun.
    Join with members of the Walker Community Church.

    You are welcome to arrive between 3:30 and 4pm at the entrance circle with the fireplace.  Candles and Cider will be provided.

    People of the Land – Editorial

    South fork of Hay River

    South fork of Hay River

    Discussion of Paganism often centers around what a Pagan  is. Terms like “nature-centered” always come up, and occasionally reference to the spirituality of the countryside is spoken. I like to think of Pagans as people of the land. It is a vague term and many people can be considered people of the land without having any particular spiritual belief. I take some pride in the term Pagan. I am a Pagan connected to a piece of land.

    I realized recently what a rare relationship I have with land. I have lived on and had an intimate relationship with the same piece of land for thirty eight years. It is not so rare in rural areas where people often reside in the same location for generations. For people who associate their spiritual beliefs with the land, and for  Pagans, the opportunity to spend hundreds of hours in total solitude on an individual piece land is uncommon. I am not referring to the casual acts of living, work, and recreation, but time spent in meditation and direct observation of the land, its plants, and creatures.

    `
    I confess, much of this time was spent in the acts of fishing and hunting, and preparing for these activities. The time walking, looking, sitting, and directly observing the land is all a part of this. These activities have a directed purpose, which didn’t distract from developing an intimate relationship with the land.

    Young Forest photo: UNH.edu

    A long term relationship with land teaches you how temporary are the things  we think are permanent. My land embraces a river, and rivers are ever changing. I can’t count the number of times this little river has changed its course, each fallen tree or rock diverting the flow from its established path. Fragile stream banks erode away, cliffs collapse, and a spring log jam can start the deposit of a new stream bank. A severe flood can scour out a new deep fishing hole and a large influx of eroded dirt can silt in a beautiful rocky rapids. These changes occur without any relation to what we  as humans may want, or what we spiritually wish and pray for as best for the land.

    Land changes in its type, spanning the whole range from agriculture, to grassland and meadow, to brushy pasture, and eventually to mixed forest. Human intervention often controls these changes. In my part of the world the land was once all a conifer forest, then it was cleared by humans for settlement. The natural progression is for grassland and meadow to move back to forest.  Fire can maintain a meadow, killing the woody plant starts,  but fires are often not enough. As soon as human intervention stops, the land rapidly returns to woods.

    Most of us are not aware of how many of plant species which fill our world are foreign and invasive. I had a campaign of meadow fires to help bring back a stand of Blue Gentian here. It is a fairly rare and beautiful meadow flower easily overwhelmed with foreign grasses and plants. I have seen a meadow go from grassland to brush and on to a young wood of popple, birch, and pine. A meadow first gathers up prickly ash and stag horn sumac to begin shading the grass out. Then the denser and slower growing ironwood and hop hornbeam pop in wearing dark stockings at their trunk base. The now shady and brushy young woods supports the spread of taller growing birch and popple, and even these eventually give way to maple and ash. The land moves from easy to walk through, to nearly impenetrable with brush, and eventually to a “park like” mature wood, in the span of a lifetime.

    These are relationships with change. People of the land receive deep lessons about change, and apply it to their own lives. The feeling of powerlessness in the face of nature and the attitude of “power over” nature come from a severe disconnect that is foreign to landed Pagans. Humans often confuse what is best for us as humans, with what is best for the land.

    Continue reading

    (the last) Samhain in Paradise

    This year's Corn King had a Where the Wild Things Are look

    This year’s Corn King had a Where the Wild Things Are look

    In October of 1994, the first Corn King burned during a Samhain celebration at Nels Linde’s home in rural Wisconsin, a place he calls Paradise. Last Saturday, the final 30 foot high Corn King was set ablaze in front of over 92 area Pagans. Two decades of potlucks, camping, and Samhain rituals come to a close that night.

    Linde started helping a friend, Mike Olson, create Corn Kings at Olson’s home in 1991.  Starting in 1994 the practice moved to Linde’s property. Around 30 people attended Linde’s Samhain celebration that first year and it’s grown ever since.  “One year, maybe 1997,  in a bad winter storm there where as few as ten people to burn one a very simple one I built completely myself,” Linde said. “The last ten years it’s  been between 60 and 120 people each year.” In 1998 Linde’s future wife Judy Olson (no relation to Mike Olson) began attending and a few years later was key to the celebration.

    Linde says the celebration has evolved over the years, “When I worked with Mike it had more of an emphasis on acknowledging the changing of the seasons. Kind of a potluck with a fire theme. When I narrowed my definition of community to be defined as Pagan and local to be within several hundred miles, we parted ways.” He says that once Judy Olson became involved, the rituals became more integrated with the burn. They began focusing more on the needs of the people who were helping build it and who would be attending in its design.

    The celebration itself typically starts after dark when the circle is cast. After that guests go inside and enjoy a potluck feast. Attendee then process to the Corn King where the Samhain ritual is completed and the Corn King is set on fire.

    This year followed that pattern. Attendees gathered in a double circle in the chill night while the circle was cast and the quarters called as a youth ran around the outside of the the property with a torch raised high. Judy Olson then explained to the crowd that this year there was a veiled tent where attendees could commune with their ancestors and write down a blessing or message. The empty chair, placed in the tent to serve the ancestors, and the slips of paper would be burned in the fire later. With that, the veil was opened and attendees were invited to either spend time communing with their honored dead or to go inside the house and enjoy the feast.

    Judy Potluck altered

    Judy Olson talks with Tasha Rose during the potluck

    The warmth of the house was welcome after the cold evening. Kitchen Witches replaced empty pots and pans and dishes with full ones as the crowds piled food onto plates. Even with the large crowd, no one went hungry. I sat across from a young lady who came with a co-worker. She’s not Pagan but had heard so much about the celebration from her Pagan co-worker she wanted to experience it for herself. Most others had attended the celebration before and knew each other well. The chatter was lively as old friends caught up and newer people introduced themselves.

    DSCN1066After eating I bundled back up in my mittens and headed out to the ancestor tent. Samhain isn’t a celebration in Hellenismos, but we have something slightly similar each month, so I didn’t feel as much need to contact my ancestors. However, a friend of mine couldn’t attend due to the death of her husband’s grandmother and she asked me to honor her that night. So I said a prayer for Grandma Nell and wrote her name on a slip of paper and placed it into the basket.

    I regrouped with the people I came with who were hanging out at our tent in a small wooded area. Did I mention we were camping that night in 20 degree temperatures? We brought plenty of sleeping bags, blankets, and chemical pocket heaters to ward off the cold. There may have been some mead floating around but I’ll neither confirm or deny the honey wine.

    Carved pumpkins ring the Corn King

    Carved pumpkins ring the Corn King

    They were bundled up in blankets with only their faces poking out. I told them it was almost time for the culmination of the ritual and picked up out small carved pumpkins and lit the tea lights. The pumpkins were our price of admission. Each person was to carve a small pumpkin in honor of an ancestor to carry during the procession. I carved my grandmother’s name in mine. My husband left his blank, just a hold for the candle. Our friend carved a crown in hers, as she is related to royalty. We lit our tea lights and headed to the line forming for the procession.

    A feeling excitement and solemnity spread through the line as we wound our way through the woods. Flickering candlelight lit our way and voices raised in song.

    Mother of Darkness, won’t you guide us
    Through the labyrinth to the truth.
    Mother of Darkness, won’t you carry us
    Through the chaos to the truth

    DSCN1153

    Attendees dance around the fire as sparks float upwards

    We entered the clearing and there he was, the Corn King, raising 30 feet high with horns and a very proud penis. I’d seen him during the day, even helped build him the weekend before, but seeing him in the flickering light with the stars filling the sky made him into a stranger. We took our places in the circle and waited for everyone to file in. Once we were all there, we placed our pumpkins around the Corn King. Some called out the names of their honored dead, while others were silent. Nels and a few others carried the ancestor chair, the basket of messages, and a torch around the circle. The chair was placed between the feet of the Corn King, the message poured out, and the torch touched the Corn King as drums beat and attendees cheered and cried out.  The dancing began almost immediately, dim figures backlit by the fire. I was mesmerized by the sparks shooting from the top of the fire.  Although I’m not Wiccan I found the words Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, whose body encircles the universe surfacing in my mind as I watched the fire dance into the sky, blending with the stars.

    Nels Linde and a volunteer add corn stalks to the Corn King

    Nels Linde and a volunteer add corn stalks to the Corn King

    So much work goes into building the Corn King just to watch him burn down in one night. “We need between 8-15 a day, for maybe 6-7 hours work per day. We started at 4 days prep time and the last few years go by on three by being better prepared and more efficient. That equals 200-300 person hours in advance, plus many hands spending the day of the ritual in final preparation,” says Linde. He and Judy Olson spend additional time gathering materials, promoting and inviting, answering questions, and preparing our home and property to be inviting and hospitable.

    As Wiccans, both Linde and Olson feel Samhain is the most important day of the year which is why they spend so much time and effort to make it special. Linde says the celebration is a dramatic experience that demonstrates the transitory nature of life, “Like life, it is here, and we work so hard to make it exactly what we want, and then it is suddenly gone. These are things most Pagans think about this time of year. For a young person, this building of a thing for weeks, only to be destroyed, can lead to very profound revelations. Why a man?  In many magical traditions there exists a male figure to act as a sacrifice to ensure the survival of a people, to survive the coming winter. This is the ultimate visualization of that sacrifice and a reminder of all the sacrifices our ancestors made, those we have made, and those we may some day be asked to make for our people.”

    Olson says, “Remove the gender from this and the burning of an effigy represents an ending. This is the Witch’s new year, it is a time to finish our work and get your plate cleaned for the next year. For me this always works. Once the man burns I am ready for a whole new year and a new cycle.”

    I’m not a night owl so once the Corn King was mostly burned down I headed back to my tent to let the ritual soak in while I slept. The cold was a shock once I left the relative warmth of the fire. I snuggled down into my blankets and fell asleep to the beat of drums pondering how fleeting our time here on earth is. At forty-mumble these thoughts are beginning to carry more weight. Will everything I ever was burn away in a moment or will something last past my death? If I died tonight what is the state of my timé? Uncomfortable thoughts.

    .
    In the morning, those of us camping or staying in the house gathered for a large breakfast. We had time to sit around the table and talk. About the ritual, our night’s sleep, and future gatherings.  Linde says he started holding this celebration because he had the space and magic circle to do it in. He says, as a potter, it also appealed to his sense of artistry, I love a big fire and have always had a relationship with fire as a potter. Spiritually it connects with many seasonal aspects of rural living, and a Pagan life style.”

    But what makes it all worthwhile for both Linde and Olson is the people. “My favorite thing is spending a length of time working beside people that help build. I get to know them much better. There is always a few new people to get to know each year. It is great to watch them experience the whole process and become a part of the building family that develops,” says Linde.   He says its enlightening to see how people react to working a long time on something consumed so quickly built simply to inspire others. Olson agrees, “During the actual event weekend, the time spent with people from all over the Midwest just sitting in your jammies round the breakfast table, or playing a group game late at night after the burn, or drumming, or tending the fire,  these are all very bonding and I love the bonds this event has created that will last forever.”

    So why, after so many years, are they stopping? As noted earlier, building the Corn King is very physically taxing and takes up a considerable amount of time. They both hope someone else takes up the torch and hosts this type of celebration. But if it does die out, they wish for the community to find other things to build that inspires themselves and others. After all, death is part of the cycle, which leads to rebirth.

    Below is a short video of the burning of the Corn King at this year’s Samhain celebration and  a link to a write up about the 1996 celebration.

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 2,616 other followers