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

    Join 2,631 other followers

  • Become a Fan

  • Archives

  • In Memoriam: Lola Moffat

    On the evening of Friday September 18, 2015, Lola Moffat passed away less than a year after being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. She was only 37, and is survived by her sister, Katie Daly, and a niece and nephew. She was a talented massage therapist, graduating from Centerpoint School of Massage this year. She was an active and beloved member of the Paganistan community. A member of the Wiccan Church of Minnesota, and regular attendee of the Earth House Midsummer Gather, she touched the lives of many Twin Cities and upper Midwest Pagans. Known for being a kind and loving person, the community was able to come to her aid after her diagnosis with a fundraiser last May.

     Lola received a healing blanket and necklace at her fundraiser and healing ritual in May.

    Lola received a healing blanket and necklace at her fundraiser and healing ritual in May.

    Some community members shared these remembrances of Lola:

    One thing that inspired me, was when she told me that she had cancer. I had cried and broke down and got angry. She just listened to me. When I finally calmed down and pointed out that she was handling things far better than I would have, she said ” I’ve done my share of crying too.. but I plan on having a long summer. ” I was amazed at how she handled everything with a smile and a natural grace. – Tanya Johnson

    Even after her diagnosis, she still wanted to do massages and help people. That was her calling, massage work and teaching massage.. She gave me, a fellow massage professional, one of the best masssages I’ve ever received. She also taught my wife to massage my back, that way her work will continue on. – Cosmic Popeye

    Lola understood grasped new concepts so quickly it was almost disorienting.

    Lola called me one day and asked for help buying a computer, and it sounded like she was starting from scratch. A month later she was asking me how to install instances of both 16-bit and a 32-bit Java so that she could write a module for her favorite game. The next month she was asking me questions that I still haven’t figured out how to answer.

    Being with Lola was like watching The Goddess discovering new toys. Fascination, delight, confusion, patience, and then a sudden grasping of the core concepts and in the blink of an eye asking questions that might take decades to even comprehend.

    Lola asked life changing questions. – Ciaran Benson

    I was also blessed with Lola’s friendship:

    Lola was a really amazing person. She was the first friend I made in MN, sitting around the fire at the Standing Stones’ Mabon in 2012. When I didn’t have anyone to hang out with she went to a Twins game and A Midsummer’s Night Dream at The Guthrie with me so I didn’t have to go alone.

    She crashed at my place sometimes when her schedule was insane and I got to be a host after feeling like I had nothing to give anyone for a long time. That meant a lot to me. She probably thought I was doing her a favor but it was a huge blessing to me to once more have the capacity to help and give. And she was a delightful guest.
    Our PSG adventure didn’t turn out so great, but it was definitely an adventure. I wish it had gone better and that she’d have got to have the experience she deserved.

    If I posted on FB that I was feeling blue Lola was the person who would reach out, call me, and cheer me up. I only knew her for three years, and I was hardly her closest friend, but she made a huge impact on my life. I imagine she made a big impact on a lot of people.

    I’ve been thinking of how to keep her spirit alive and carry her memory forward. I realized the best thing I can do is to strive to be more like her: kind, loving, and generous. The world needs more people like her. – Star Foster

    Lola was concerned about her sister’s financial welfare once she had passed. She was sharing a home with her sister and contributing financially to maintaining that home. Most of the funds raised in the fundraiser in May have already gone to medical bills and living expenses. Lola would be pleased if in lieu of flowers a donations would be made to help her family through this difficult time.

    Lola’s memorial service will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, October 3rd, at Living Table Church, 3805 E 40th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406. A community potluck will follow the service, and everyone is invited to bring a dish to share.
    Lola Moffat

    Lola Moffat

    Earth Conclave – Manifesting Social Justice – Register this week!

           The  Earth Conclave Gathering is coming up October 30 – November 2, 2015. Additional Registrations are needed and due by September 18, for the event to continue. If you are considering attending please reserve a spot this week! Register / RSVP at https://events.smartcrowdz.com/ManifestingSocialJustice .

    Earth Conclave is a Non-Profit Pagan and earth based community that does functions twice a year and we collectively decide upcoming events based on community interest. This Falls theme is Manfiesting Social Justice. This is an open event at a beautiful location in Southwestern Wisconsin. Meals, lodging, workshops, meditations, and all other activities are included in the event price. We have a self determined sliding fee scale of $125 – $235 and ask for $65 down at RSVP by September 18, 2015. The $65 is paid toward the total cost and is totally refundable if the event is cancelled.

    We feel that this theme really resonates with a large number of people due to the current media focus. This will not be political focused but individually focused. The goal is to heal human kind one person at a time with common techniques such as: the ripple affect, law of attraction, web weaving, prayer flags, focused energy raising, and healing support to victims of social injustice.

    Appointed Officials Set To Okay Illegal Coldwater Spring Project


    Ducks at Coldwater Spring as it was...

    Ducks at Coldwater Spring as it was…

    Two sets of appointed officials are lined up to okay a project that explicitly violates the law. The Metropolitan Council is promoting sewer replacement construction that contravenes the Coldwater protection law by threatening the flow to this 10,000 year old spring.

    UPDATE: * The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District meeting to discuss & vote on the sewer project permit  was postponed to Thursday, March 26 to allow more time for the public to comment.

    The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is set to permit the project with assurances about “contingency plans” for unforeseen circumstances, “restoring” Coldwater Springs after “temporary” dewatering, and orders to monitor the spring daily during the 2-year construction project.

    Take action. Ask that sewer construction be redesigned to the location of the current pipe without tearing up the north end of Minnehaha Park and threatening the flow to Coldwater Springs:

    Adam Duininck, Chair, Metropolitan Council, 651-602-1390 or adam.duininck@metc.state.mn.us

    Lars Erdahl, Administrator, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, 952-641-4505 or lerhahl@minnehahacreek.org

    National Park Service, 651-293-8438 or http://www.nps.gov/miss, click on Coldwater and follow prompts


    Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs.  All projects must be reviewed under the Minnesota Historic Sites Act and the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act with regard to the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs. (passed in 2001)

     The language of the law is specific, forbidding “any action that may diminish the flow.” Not “temporary” dewatering, not permanent dewatering—no “action that may diminish.” The language of the contingency planning (below) is slippery.

    Coldwater is the last major natural spring in Hennepin County, is where the soldiers who built Fort Snelling lived (1820-23) and where a civilian pioneer community gathered to service the fort. Some consider Coldwater to be the birthplace of Minnesota. The spring furnished water to Fort Snelling 1820-1920.

    THE PROJECT: Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) project 1-MN-344 Tunnel Improvement:   A sanitary sewer pipe is scheduled to be replaced at the north end of Minnehaha Park. It is an underground construction, about 45 to 50 feet below the surface, with two 18-foot diameter access shafts cut through bedrock at either end, and a 44 by 60-foot subsurface vault. Groundwater “will just flow around” these subterranean buried structures after construction planners reported at Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board meeting (1/29/15).

     A replacement 1,000-foot pipe would run horizontally below Minnehaha Creek, the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line and Highway 55 to replace a 1930s-era sanitary sewer pipe. The project is scheduled to run for two years from this summer to June of 2017.

     Both groundwater and deep well dewatering is planned that is, pumping water out from above the limestone bedrock and below in the sandstone. Daily monitoring at Coldwater is called for.

    Assurances by experts of “no loss of flow” from the Highway 55 reroute resulted in the permanent loss of nearly a quarter of the flow to Coldwater. MnDOT was court-ordered to monitor the spring flow for 20 months post-construction. Despite the Coldwater protection law a permanent, daily loss of flow of 27,500 gallons was reported.

    Before Highway 55 reroute construction the flow to Coldwater was measured at about 130,000 gallons a day. Now the flow rate is about 84,000 gallons daily. Adding the 27,500 daily dewatering lost to Coldwater to the current flow of 84,000—there is a mystery loss of more than 18,000 gallons

    Coldwater Spring

    Coldwater Spring


    Consultants at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District meeting admitted that the “contingency plans” are unknown, that conditions are “unforeseeable,” that an observer will be on site to come up with “reasonable solutions.” 
    Continue reading

    Prominent Pagan musician arrested on child pornography charges

    New Orleans musician Kenny Klein was arrested Tuesday morning on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Mr. Klein was a frequent guest of Pagan gatherings, such as last year’s Sacred Harvest Festival in Minnesota.

    *This article has been updated.

    Louisiana State Special Victims Unit began investigating Klein after receiving a tip he was downloading child pornography. A search warrant was granted and police found a large number of sexually explicit videos and photos of children under the age of 13. Mr. Klein admitted the computer the material was found on was his and that he used the computer to download and share child pornography.

    Reaction from area Pagans has been largely shock and anger.

    “I’m so angry about this, I wish I had never met him at [Sacred Harvest Festival],” said Emma Lauren.

    Klein is an elder and a High Priest in the Blue Star Wicca tradition and is credited with turning Blue Star from a local coven into a full tradition with covens across the country. The Twin Cities area hosts a Blue Star Wiccan coven.

    Klein has also written several Pagan books published by Minnesota based Llewellyn. Other publishers include Immanion Press, Delphi Press, Siento Sordida and Knickerbocker Circus Publishing.

    Harmony Tribe, the organization responsible for producing Sacred Harvest Festival issued this statement: “Harmony Tribe is deeply disheartened to learn of the arrest of one of our proposed guests for the 2014 Sacred Harvest Festival, Kenny Klein. We hold the safety and the comfort of our guests above all else. As a result of the arrest and the pending investigation against Mr. Klein, he will not be appearing as a guest for our 2014 festival as formerly planned.”

    Immanion Press, publisher of Klein’s Book The Flowering Rod issued this statement: “Immanion Press is shocked and dismayed to learn that Author Kenny Klein has been arrested for Child Pornography. As a publisher and as contributers to the Pagan community, we don’t condone such behavior. We feel that any author (regardless of who publishes them) is a role model and representative of the Pagan community and as such needs to always remember that how they behave effects the perceptions of the pagan community by the world at large and also effects the safety of our community.”

    Immanion also stated, in a blog post, that they are pulling The Flowering Rod from their catalog. ” At Immanion Press we do not believe in knowingly supporting acts of behavior that violate the Pagan community or how it is represented to the world by our authors. We are committed to publishing books that help the communities we are a part of, but we also believe that any author is a role model and should behave accordingly.”

    Llewellyn Worldwide, publisher of three works by Klein, said, “Llewellyn is deeply disappointed to learn of the allegations against one of our authors.  The situation is regrettable but we cannot comment on allegations.”

    Anne Newkirk Nivin, with PaganSquare and Witches & Pagans magazine said, “We are alarmed and saddened this morning to hear that prominent Pagan Kenny Klein was arrested in New Orleans on Monday on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Kenny’s blog at our site at PaganSquare has been suspended until his trial (and should he be convicted or plead guilty, permanently.) As publishers and members of the Pagan community, we strongly condemn any form of predatory behavior towards our most vulnerable community members — our children — and support the work of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to root out, prosecute, and punish these crimes.”


    As this story broke early, PNC-News does not yet have responses from the organizations mentioned in this article. When we get those responses, we will update this article.


    Editor’s Note: I spent time with Kenny Klein during last year’s SHF and at other Pagan gatherings over the years. I found him to be funny and polite. Although every person is innocent until proven guilty, his admission of guilt speaks strongly.

    Keys of Paradise moves location to grow bigger and better

    Keys of Paradise, a St Paul based Pagan retail and online store, is moving to a new location this month. The move is prompted by a desire for a larger space with improved facilities.

    Owner Cameron Cegelske said the lease on his current place was up at the end of February and he realized he had outgrown the space available. He set out to find a location that would allow him to re-install the library, has more room for retail space, a room to rent for classes, and still include the large wooden ancestor shrine Keys of Paradise took guardianship of after the closing of Sacred Paths Center, a Pagan Community Center.

    Keys of Paradise owner Cameron Celegske during the remodel of his new location

    Keys of Paradise owner Cameron Celegske during the remodel of his new location

    Success and challenges in today’s economy
    During the recession and even the rather tepid and stagnant non-recovery, many businesses have closed or cut back. Keys of Paradise, while Cegelske says they are doing OK,  has also felt the economic pinch, but chose to expand, “We noticed a drop in sales in 2013, a big drop. We’re hoping the new place will attract more customers and it helps we’re not exclusive to retail.”

    Keys of Paradise is actually three businesses in one. They have a retail store where shoppers can browse in person, an online website which sells to individuals and offers wholesale, and a laboratory where they formulate their own offerings.  They are revamping their website to beef up their wholesale channel and have recently purchased Fair Maiden Fusions, a cosmetics and skin care line.

    New location
    Cegelske found a space that would suit his growing needs, but needed some work before he could move in, “It needed some TLC. I’ve been sanding floors and painting, trying to get it ready by the end of the month.” Cegelske and the Keys of Paradise staff are doing much of the work themselves, with help from volunteers. “We are still looking for some help with painting and prepping the new shop this weekend and for the major part of the move on Sunday February 23rd to move the shop. Any help is greatly appreciated, it’s not easy to move an entire shop alone.”

    The old location, at 713 Minnehaha Ave E is still open limited hours and Cegelske expects the new store, at 565 Kent St in St Paul, to be open by March first. He plans to host a grand reopening and 5th anniversary event to take place after Paganicon.

    If you are able to help with painting, cleaning, or moving the store, please contact Cegelske through facebook or by calling Keys of Paradise at (612) 293-5397.

    Women and Spirituality Conference Mankato – Lisa Spiral Besnett

    UofMN Mankato Student Union

    UofMN Mankato Student Union

    October 12-13, the weekend of the 32nd Annual Women and Spirituality Conference in Mankato, Minnesota.  We walk into a typical registration table, sign in and collect our name tags and conference materials.  The schedule, changes and cancellations, a copy of the October edition of the Minnesota Women’s Press magazine and maps – lots of maps.

    Entering the Auditorium

    Entering the Auditorium

    The doors to the auditorium open and everything changes.  We walk in through banners that read: “I Enter In Perfect Love And Perfect Trust.”  The air is charged as people find seats.  There is much waving and greeting as women find friends they haven’t seen since the year before.  Business announcements are made, the staff and University thanked and then we are told “Welcome to our ritual led by Treewommon and an assortment of witches to honor the Goddess and the Sacred Elements.”  The opening ceremony is begun.

    The directions are called, East and Air, South and Fire, West and Water, North and Earth, and Center.  Puppets representing the directions are paraded in and presented in turn, each carried by a woman who is also a representative of woman aging through the stages of life.  The maidens, the mother, the crone, and the hag.  The Goddess Herself, named as Bridget and carrying a banner with symbols of many Goddesses representing Center, Spirit, and Community.  The audience joins in the familiar chant and the Conference is off and running.

    Creating Sacred Space

    Creating Sacred Space

    This conference is sponsored by the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, Mankato.   Cindy Veldhuisen, the Business Manager for the Conference, told me that there were about 540 attendees this year.  This is up from last year.

    Some of the reason for the increase in attendance can likely be attributed to this year’s keynote speaker, Starhawk.  This is Starhawk’s third appearance as keynote speaker for the Woman & Spirituality conference.  She draws attendees from across the five state area as well as from the east coast, Colorado and Canada.  Many of the women I spoke with who were familiar with Starhawk were also alumni of the Diana’s Grove Witch Camp.

    Starhawk is often mistaken as the public face of Reclaiming, and indeed she was one of the co-founders of the original collective in San Francisco.  But her focus, especially in recent years, has been on Earth Activist Training .  She is teaching permaculture techniques to small communities throughout the world.  She’s just returned from an training in Palestine.

    One of the things Starhawk talked about in her keynote address was “frame”.  How we choose to frame things affects how we see them, how we interpret the information.  She told about her first visit to the region as part of a Hebrew Class trip in her teens.  They pointed out that the Israeli side of the Jordan was green and lush and the Palistinian side was all brown and dry.

    Starhawk and Spiral

    Starhawk and Spiral

    Since then Starhawk has come to realize that the Israeli’s control 80-90% of the ground water in the region.  She also knows that the Palestinians have been practicing sustainable agriculture in the area for thousands of years.  They feed their people without using much water at all.  Yes, it’s not as lush or green.  The base systems are fig trees, almonds and olives.  It’s a style of agriculture that sustains the soil and the ecosystem.

    Permaculture respects those systems and uses modern tools with historically successful techniques to rejuvenate the soils and sustain the crops.  It is this concept of rejuvenation that Starhawk feels is at the core of the Pagan spirituality.  She suspects it is this philosophy that the consumer culture finds threatening.

    There was a slide show about the devolution of the Bird Goddess.  There is strength in those postures of resistance, the stances of the neolithic and paleolithic statues.  Starhawk suggested that the Harpies, the Crones, the Witches as well as the guardian Angels all come to our collective consciousness from those early Bird Goddesses.  She reminded us that Harpies harp.  They point out the things that need fixing, and keep at it until those things get fixed.  She encouraged the conference goers, when they’re in the mood pick a fight, to get on the phone and call their congressmen.  Starhawk blogs about this connection between Paganism and politics at www.starhawksblog.org.

    Of course the keynote speaker is not the whole of the conference.  Over the course of the two days there are also four sessions of  hour and a half workshops offered.  With 30-35 workshops offered in any given session there was a lot of variety to chose from.  Many of the presenters actually offered repeats of their workshops in a second session to make it a little easier for attendees to choose.

    The conference spreads over 5 of the campus buildings using classrooms, conference rooms and dance and exercise spaces.  One of these buildings houses the vendor room.  An ample space for several rows of vendors to show their wares.  There were services offered, Reiki and tarot readings, along side the books, jewelry, drums, pottery and garb we often expect.

    Red Tent movie

    Red Tent movie

    Many of the vendors are also presenters, either closing their booths for a workshop session or partnering with a friend.  The filmmaker and distributor of the movie “Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent” was one of the women doing double duty.  She actually left her booth to be attended by a neighboring vendor while she screened the movie for conference goers.  This quick and deep friendship, the commonality and trust among women is probably the most common and profound product of this conference.  It’s the reason many women come back year after year.

    The closing ritual again presented by Treewommon and friends is bittersweet.  We are introduced to the players.  The maidens have been “attending” this conference all their lives.  Their mother’s met here and have been close kindred for the ten years since.  (“Let that be a warning to you about the friends you make here!” the Priestess teases.)
    We sing a powerful chant looking into each others eyes and falling into the arms of friends and strangers around us.  Tears, laughter and hugs are shared.  A spontaneous circle forms so that we can all see and rejoice in the power and beauty of women gathered in harmony and purpose.

    The directions thanked and dismissed we are charged to carry this energy, the spirit of the conference home with us.  We are charged to remember what is possible when Women come together.

    Dates for next year’s conference have not yet been announced.  To stay up to date on developments or to get on the mailing list go to: http://sbs.mnsu.edu/women/conference or contact the Gender and Women’s Studies Department directly at: 507-389-2077

    Lisa Spiral Besnett

    Lisa Spiral Besnett is an occasional contributor to PNC.  Her book, Manifest Divinity, is published by Immanion Press and available in paperback or as an ebook at Amazon.com.  Spiral writes a weekly blog where you can read more about her personal experiences living a spiritually aware life.

    Proposed Bill possible threat to Pagan news

    In a proposed amendment to a media shield law being considered by the Senate,  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il)  appear to define journalists in a way which excludes non-traditional journalists including most Pagan media and journalists. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the amendment, which was written in coordination with traditional news organizations, by a 13-5 vote. It was then sent to the Senate floor where it is expected to pass. It’s fate in the House is less certain.

    The Bill, S. 987: Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, seeks to provide reporters with a limited right to refuse to testify on information gathered or to be forced to reveal sources. The House Bill defines a journalist as someone who “for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism” while originally the Senate version had a looser definition.  The proposed amendment by Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Durbin requires journalists to meet at least one of these three additional criteria:

    1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
    2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
    3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.”

    Requiring that an individual is “salaried”or under a financial contract is problematic for Pagan news organizations as most reporters and contributors are volunteers or are not employed in journalism as their primary source of income. All PNC-News reporters, editors, and contributors are not paid. The Wild Hunt pays its contributors, but it’s a modest amount that could not be considered earning a “livelihood.”

    The second criteria is also a difficult hurdle for Pagan journalists.  The amendment is vague on what comprises an “entity” that reporters need to send their work in to and what a “significant number of articles” within a two year time table means. It’s not clear if Pagan news outlets would be considered an “entity” under this amendment.

    PNC-Minnesota Webmaster and Researcher Heather Biedermann said, “Even if we paid our staff, who in the government decides what is an approved media outlet? To me, this seems like a thinly-veiled attempt to put in place a “government-friendly” group of approved news reporters who are handpicked by some unknown agency to spread their own spin on the news. It also is a backhanded way of discrediting the growing grass-roots news media that we are seeing all around the world. Not only does it discredit, but it also endangers news sites like PNC. Who is to say that this isn’t the beginning of finding ways to limit free speech in general?”

    The effects of the proposed Bill could strip away protections independent news organizations have been slowly gaining on the state level. In November of 2010, PNC-Minnesota published an article relating a rape survivors experience while undergoing an enhanced search by TSA agents.  The article quickly went viral and was republished or linked to by traditional news sources. PNC-Minnesota received a request from the TSA to reveal our source for the article. We refused, citing Minnesota’s shield law and the traditional protections afforded members of the press and backed by the First Amendment of the United States. There was no response from the TSA.

    Supporters of the Bill say it is a good compromise between protecting national security against leaks and protecting the rights of a free press, “I can’t support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I’m not going to go there,” said  Sen. Feinstein.

    Bloggers, alternative media, and civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have criticized the Bill as creating two classes of reporters, the traditional media licensed by the government, and everyone else.  In an article on the proposed Bill, Morgan Weiland of EFF wrote, “The requirement of doing journalism for money and on a consistent basis, coupled with the suggestion that such activities happen within a larger journalistic organization, paints a picture of a New York Times correspondent—and arguably excludes bloggers, freelancers, and other non-salaried individuals who practice the craft of journalism and need the most protection.”

    PNC-News Editor in Chief and Founder and Editor of the Wild Hunt Jason Pitzl-Waters had this to say about the legislation, “Author and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis has said that ‘there are no journalists, there is only the service of journalism,’ a sentiment that I would broadly agree with. There are those who make their living reporting and investigating the news, but our history is full of individuals who, in key moments, rose up to document important events, to give voices to voiceless communities, or to expose hidden wrongs. Any protections for journalists that do no protect grass-roots manifestations of the service of journalism are not only flawed, but chilling. Would Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker be covered under these provisions? Would Gandhi’s newsletters advocating for an independent India? The farther down the road we travel into creating hurdles to legal protections, the more we damage the service, in essence dictating who is a ‘real’ journalist. The heart of journalism is a radical heart, because it creates an informed community, these guidelines can only hinder journalism’s purpose.”


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 2,631 other followers