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  • Tony Mierzwicki, Guest at Sacred Harvest Festival – Interview

    Tony Mierzwicki

    Tony Mierzwicki is one of three national guests appearing at Sacred Harvest Festival (SHF)  beginning Monday, August 4th near Albert Lea, MN.  Tony is the author of “Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment” and was also a guest of  SHF in 2008.

    Tony is from Austalia but spends much of his time writing and lecturing in Southern California. I talked to him by phone.

    Your expertise is in Greek Religion, what have you been up to lately?

    I have a book coming out in December called , “Hellenismos: Practicing Greek Polytheism Today” . It is a book that reconstructs the practice of Greek religion and updates it to the current day. It is the first book to come out from a main stream publishing company. Every other book has either come out as an academic text or has been self published. This will be a practical text published with Llewellyn. I am a student of Greek religion and I am trying to make it more accessible for those people who are interested. There does seem to be a fair amount of interest in Greek religion at the moment. There are all sorts of Hollywood movies coming out, like Herakles and about other figures of Greek mythology. There would be people out there wondering how the Greeks venerated their Gods. This book will allow people to venerate the gods in a spirit of how the ancient Greek went about the process. There are a number of things that the Greeks did that we cannot do. We are not going to bring back public animal sacrifice, or slavery, or the subjugation of women. Every religion modifies and changes as time goes on. What I am trying to do is look at ancient Greek religion and come up with my best guess of what it would look like today if it had continued since ancient times. That is the spirit behind the book.

    This is based on my own experience, but I also lurk on many Greek based electronic forums to see how other people practice Greek religion, and the issues they are having. There are a number of misconceptions that people have, and I have tried to address those issues. The book is heavily based on source texts, with over 400 footnotes that people can refer to as my primary and secondary sources. I look at the book as “factual” but different folks looking at the same data and material will look to other directions or disagree with the practice outline.

    Is Greek  reconstruction a growing part of the Pagan movement?

    It is a slowly growing part of the Pagan community . People who are drawn to the Greek religion tend to be very scholarly. They tend to consult original texts and get very passionate in their interpretations. There are many intelligent people practicing Greek polytheism. There are some people who believe you go through the motions, performing rituals perfectly, but do not expect any personal interaction with the gods. Others believe you it is all about a personal interaction with the gods. That is my belief. Unless you can feel the presence of the gods you are not really getting the most out of your practice.

    The Greeks did not have a word for religion. In this day and age we tend to think of religion and secular life as two separate things. We go about our daily lives and may get involved in some religious practice occasionally. Christians may go to church on Sunday, but the rest of the week they are indistinguishable from the rest of the community. Pagans may venerate their gods on certain days, full moons or the eight Sabbats, depending on what they are into. For the Greeks, venerating the gods was something they did everyday. They would not think of beginning any venture unless they called on the gods first. The practice of Greek religion was integrated seamlessly into everyday life. We think of religion as being separate, but then it was considered a crime to disbelieve in the gods, or be an atheist. Everyone went to temples constantly and engaged in various sacrifices. There were particular rituals that took place on a city level. Household performed their own rituals, Guilds and trade groups performed their rituals. They were all varied and different. The principles remained the same but the nuts and bolts of how they did ritual varied.

    The description of how Greeks practiced religion in all aspects of life sounds a lot like much indigenous practice?

    One of the early theories of how religion developed is that it started off as a shamanic practice that became more institutionalized and then turned into religion. If you look at many indigenous tribes their gods have a very real presence. The gods are around them constantly and interact with them frequently. The tribes depend on the gods for everything that is good in their lives. The gods provide sunshine and rain and produce a bountiful harvest for them. They are constantly working with the gods, there is no idea of separation from the divine. This is something you also see with the Greeks.

    What are you bringing to Sacred Harvest Festival next week?

    The heart of my presentation is a series of three workshops that begins with The Practice of Ancient Greek Religion Today.

    The second is on Greek Nature Deities and Gaia Consciousness .  It is about the interconnectedness of us and everything around us. I wanted to bring in the idea of Gaia consciousnessbecause it is a thoroughly modern concept that talks about how everything is interconnected and integrated.

    The third workshop pushes that further and talks about how all of this impacts our health. The things we do in everyday life have an impact on ourselves and everything around us. One of the problems in modern society is that many see themselves as separate from the world. They think they can exploit the riches of the world and not suffer the consequences. I will be pushing the idea of working in harmony with the world, working with sustainable faming practices, sustainable energy and the like. I will talk about how this then also impacts on our health. The workshops form a cohesive series together and I am very grateful to be able to offer these three workshops as a series.

    Will this be of interest to those of many different paths?

    Absolutely, I will try to talk in generalities about these topics, but when it comes down to it one of the things that most Pagans have in common is a deep connection with the planet, the world around them. Regardless of the gods that they may feel closest to, most of us realize that we are integrally connected with the planet and that our decisions effect everything that happens around us – the butterfly effect.  This proposes that every little thing that we do, can wind up having a much larger effect around us. The more people become responsible in how they act, the better things will turn out in the long term for us. A precipice is approaching where we start running out of fossil fuels, and pollution is so bad we can’t breathe the air or drink the water.

    My fourth workshop will be about ancient curses and bindings. This will be an overview from an academic sort of viewpoint. It will give people an idea about what kind of activities took place so they can see the darker underbelly of our community from the vantage point of the past.

    The last workshop will be about the god Set. For a lot of people Set is thought of as an evil god, a prototype of the Christian devil. He has been demonized over the years. When one people conquers another they demonize the gods of the other. In this case Set was a very significant god in ancient times. There are various texts which talk about his importance and describe him as a benevolent deity. Once the worship of Osiris came to the ascendancy, Set was demonized. I hope to present some balance and provide another way of looking at him. He is a powerful god, but not really evil. I want to share what I have found in my research about him.

    When were you last a guest at Sacred Harvest Festival?

    This was in 2008 and had a fantastic time! I was made to feel very welcome. One of the things I really liked was there wer activities for all ages. There were many children and there wer activities for kids, teens, and adults. There was a strong family environment for people who attended with their kids. It was nice to have a festival where you could actually sleep!. Many stayed up late but it was around campfires, singing, enjoying stories and a drink or two together. The whole event had a very family kind of feel to it and I felt blessed to be there. I feel blessed to be coming out yet again!

    I firmly believe that whatever path you choose has to be the path that resonates with you, the path that feels right for you. Unless you have found a specific path you absolutely don’t want to deviate from, it is always good to see what other people are doing and perhaps learn little things that you can integrate into your own practice from them. I am simply bringing things I have learned in the past couple of decades in the hopes that attendees can get something out of them to integrate into their own practice. There may be people interested enough in what I am doing to engage in the practice of Greek polytheism or perhaps Graeco-Egyptian magick – the subject of my previous book. What I have found from running workshops based on my first book is that very few people will choose to practice exactly as it is presented in the book. People tend to pick out bits and pieces from it and integrate it into what they are already doing. That is fine because it is all about finding things which resonate with you. When I was starting out I was trying to learn everything I could from those around me. There were things that would just feel right, and others that didn’t quite feel right. This approach ensures that eventually you end up navigating your own path.

    There are so many gifted speakers this year sharing their experiences and knowledge. That is what it is all about, learning from each other and sharing our experiences. We can then all pass what we have learned and pay it forward. I can’t help those who helped me in the past but I can help those who come after me, and I encourage others to do the same.

    Tony will join Yeshe Rabbit and Crystal Blanton  for a week of workshops and rituals at Sacred Harvest Festival, August 4-10th near Albert Lea, Mn.  Advance registration closes this Thursday, July 31st, but is available for a week, weekend, or day pass at the festival gate.


    Nels Linde

    ~ Nels is a council member of Harmony Tribe, sponsor of Sacred Harvest Festival

    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;



    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

    PNC-Minnesota Sunday Cartoon

    Our apologies for publishing this a bit late!

    0144resized (1)Noland Comics by Shea Thomas

    Oberon Zell-Ravenheart at Paganicon – Interview

    Oberon Zell Ravenheart

    Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

    I talked by phone with Oberon Zell-Ravenheart about his upcoming appearance at Paganicon, and his new book  about to be released.

    Where: Doubletree Park Place in St. Louis Park, MN
    When: March 14-16, 2014
    NOTE: Deadline for programming submissions is January 31st!

    Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is a multi-talented and active force of nature, pursuing many interests at any one time. I inquired about the health of  lifemate Morning Glory who has been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time. Oberon splits most days to spend time with her in this current hospitalization, and a funding site has been established for donations for her ongoing care. Don’t be fooled by the funding goal displayed, the need is real and ongoing!

    Are you excited to come to Minnesota?
    Yes, I have not been to Minneapolis for a long time. My father used to live up there and I visited him frequently before he died a few years ago. But my major connection to the area is the old Llewellyn Gnosticons  back in the early 70’s, which is where I met Morning Glory. We met at the fourth Gnosticon festival in 1973 at the fall equinox, and were handfasted there on April 14, 1974. We’re coming up on our 40th wedding anniversary! We have just completed and published our life story, and that period is an important part of it.  Llewellyn is publishing it and Carl Weschcke wrote the introduction to the book, so it is all coming around full circle. The book will be released in early February.

    Tell me about your keynote address at Paganicon.

    Deborah Lipp

    Deborah Lipp

    I am sharing the keynote with guest Deborah Lipp, and we are offering a talk on the legacy of the whole Neo-Pagan movement. The two of us will be bouncing back and forth about the emergence of the Neo-Pagan movement and what it has contributed that will be of lasting significance in the world. I think it is quite a lot. We will also talk about where we go from here as Paganism becomes more recognized as a mainstream religion. One of the puzzles we have all experienced is why don’t people don’t seem to know about us, because they ought to!

    There have been more books published by and about the Pagan movement that just about any other religion you could find. Vast numbers of people are involved, interviews, television shows are aired about us. People seem to have a much greater awareness about a few truly obscure and off the wall spiritual groups than us.

    You have always had a very public face as a Pagan, how has that experience been for you?
    I always get a good reception. I have done lots of interviews and never had a bad one. I have done many public appearances, speaking, book signings, and festivals, and they have all been positively received. I can afford to be out there in the public in a way that many people can’t. I don’t have to worry about losing my job, or losing my kids in a child custody suit, or many of the things that have caused some of our people to feel the need to stay “in the broom closet.” Because of my freedom to move in the wider world without repercussions, I feel a responsibility to do so, because of all the people who cannot afford to.

    What will you be offering at Paganicon?
    The theme of the conference is about Embracing the Elements, and now that we have just stepped over the threshold of the age of Aquarius, there is interest in knowing what all this will mean. I want to talk about this, as Aquarius is an Air sign, signifying communication, wisdom, and travel through the air and sky. The internet and how that will continue evolving in the years to come, and space travel and colonization, these are totally Aquarian types of issues. Then there is the spiritual, and Aquarius also involves the mind and consciousness. The “New Age” is very Aquarian in its entire vision. This is truly a time of global awakening, of our planetary being, of Gaea herself. Her awakening to full consciousness and the implications of that for us. I have been thinking about these things for decades and I think it will make a great subject to talk about. We are here!

    Where do you put most your effort now?
    With each of the projects I have worked on I have tried to create what I want to see. If it is not out there, then I feel I have a mission to create it. I started off back in college with finding two major things lacking. I wanted to create a new religion because I was into religion but was not satisfied with what was out there and available. I took that as an assignment, and created the Church of All Worlds  in 1962.
    Ultimately I had a lot to do with the creation of the whole modern Pagan movement. I feel good about that, I don’t feel the need to keep at that, it is sustaining and I just keep my finger in the pie with my ideas. The most recent involvement has been a campaign to get journalists and press style books to capitalize the name of our religions. Everything from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, to Christianity in all its forms are capitalized. Why not Paganism? There is no other religion that I can think of that is ordinarily and routinely not capitalized by journalists. It is really annoying and frustrating. We have been hammering at this trend for decades. It is insulting and demeaning .Lately I pulled together an international coalition of scholars in Pagan studies and we submitted a petition to the AP and Chicago Stylebooks to capitalize the name of our religion. Your readers may view and sign the petition .
    But the other thing I have always felt a need for was an entirely new approach to education—what I call “esoteric education.” That is, once upon a time getting an education was universally regarded as a very special privilege. But this view has been severely diluted by our laudable goal of universal education. But I was always inspired by more visionary models, such as Montessori, Waldorf schools, Summerhill, Walden Two—and perhaps most of all, “Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters” in “The X-Men.”
    For decades I have written and lectured about the need I perceived in our Pagan community to create schools of magick and Wizardry that would be open to youths as well as adults. With the incredible popularity of the Harry Potter novels and movies, centering around a fictional school of “Witchcraft and Wizardry,” I felt that the time had finally come for me to actualize my long-standing vision, and create such a school in the real world. And so it is, with my Grey School of Wizardry , which is ten years old this year!

    Have we not attained a capital P in Pagan by not having a commonly accepted definition?
    That idea frustrates me, because we do have a commonly accepted definition, and we have had it for decades. I don’t understand why there are people who resist that. Some people just seem to be contrary-wise and don’t want to get with the program. This is not something that we haven’t done or talked about. We have had whole conferences of Pagan leaders, like the Pagan Leaders Summit in 2001, that I attended over ten years ago that addressed this question. These things have been settled and used worldwide for decades now. I don’t understand why new people coming into the Pagan movement can say we don’t really know who we are.

    Yes we do; we have known for decades! It is who we are and have been very clear about our definitions. Simply put, Paganism is Nature Worship. That is pretty fundamental. On a broader scale it is the “Old Religion” the original religion of ancient peoples everywhere, indigenous traditions that existed before being taken over by prophet-based religions. It is about the Earth, the seasons, natural cycles and the ways of Nature; that is the core of it. I particularly like the definition of Paganism I overheard in the ‘90’s as “Green Religion.”

    Are you actively involved in the School of Wizardry?
    These days most of my activity with the School isn’t so much on the internal level. That is all being handled really well. We have a phenomenal faculty and staff, a couple dozen people, who are doing a great job with all that. What I do is just keeping the oversight of the long term vision. I tend to handle the outside public relations, and speaking about it. I try to bring the school to a wider public consciousness and help in shaping the whole thing. Writing the textbooks, trying to encapsulate the obsessive learning I have done all my life, consumes much of my time. To get that together coherently in a literary format so people can have it, and so it will remain, is important to me.

    Oberon and Morning Glory with unicorn

    Are you excited about your new book coming out?
    I look forward a great deal to seeing how people react to it. The initial manuscript was twice as long as the edited book! A great deal had to be trimmed. What we have now should be tight and fun, and move right along and hopefully people will find it enjoyable. That is really what is comes down to when producing a book. There are two aspects. Most writers think of what they want to give to people. People who are buying the books are looking at what they are receiving. If they don’t like the book it doesn’t matter how well the author has articulated his or her thoughts, it falls flat. If people think it is a great story, and they like it a lot, well cool! If not, then, oh well. You drop a pebble in the pond and watch the ripples spread…

    What was your experience of the Midwest?
    I grew up out there, what I consider to be “Pleasantville”. I was in high school in the 50’s, the world of Archie and Jughead, Happy Days, Father Knows Best, all that was created after World War II to offer to returning GI’s. To emerge out of that into the sixties was a major cultural revolution. Every sixty years, like clockwork , there has been a major cultural renaissance, the last one being in the 1960’s.  Out of that came the Pagan movement, the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the anti -war movement, and the sexual revolution; it was huge.
    The next one of these will be in the 2020’s. I am excited to look forward to that. Each time the people who came of age in one revolutionary era then become the elders, teachers, and wise ones for the young people in the next generation. We have this cycle in our mythology, of wizards and young heroes. Wizards are the mentors for the heroes as they leave on their adventures. Connecting all this from the myths into the reality, the history of past, present, and future is a large part of what I am thinking about and working with these days.
    This is the ultimate conspiracy of Pagans. By the time you know enough to know what we are really all about, it too late, you are already one of us.

    Nels Linde

    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
    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.

    2013 Restaurants with Veterans Day Free Meals

    PNC-Minnesota would like to thank all Active Duty and Veterans for their service to our country.

    Applebees Free Meal
    On Monday, November 11th, veterans and active duty military can choose from a free signature Thank You Meal menu that includes some of Applebee’s favorite items, including a 7 oz. House Sirloin, Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, Three-Cheese Chicken & Sundried Tomato Penne, Fiesta Lime Chicken, Double Crunch Shrimp, Chicken Tenders Platter or Oriental Chicken Salad. Must present valid Veteran’s form of identification or be in uniform.

    Bar Louie Free Lunch or Dinner
    From open to close Sunday, November 10th and Monday, November 11th every Bar Louie location across the country will offer veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value when they show valid military I.D. or other proof of service.

    California Pizza Kitchen
    On Monday, November 11, all veterans or active duty military personnel will be able to get any pizza from our menu for free (dine-in only). Please come in uniform or bring your military ID or other proof of service. Offer valid at participating CPK restaurants, excluding Guam, airport, stadium and university locations.

    Champps Free Cheeseburger and Fries
    Veterans and active-duty receive a free handcrafted burger and fries all day. Choose from a select menu. Participating locations only, check to confirm.

    Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse Eat Free
    Veterans and active-duty military eat free on Monday, 11.11.13. Valid ID required or in uniform or photo in uniform.

    Cheeseburger in Paradise
    On Monday, November 11 get a complimentary All-American Burger with fries to active and retired military personnel. Dine in only and must purchase a beverage and present proof of service.

    Chili’s Free Meal
    Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a special Veterans Day menu on Monday Nov. 11th. Must show proof of military service.

    Einstein Bagels Free Bagel and Shmear
    This Veterans Day from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., all active, inactive and retired military personnel are invited to receive a Free Signature or Classic Bagel and Shmear, or any other topping, and no purchase is necessary.

    Famous Dave’s Free or Discounted Meal
    Famous Dave’s is providing a variety of free meals and discounts at participating locations to former and current military personnel on 11/11/2013. Offers vary by location.

    Fatz Eatz and Drinkz
    On this Veteran’s Day, 11/11/2013, Veterans and Active Duty military can enjoy a free entrée up to a $15 value. No purchase required! Also, each veteran will receive a $2 coupon for use on his or her next visit.

    Friendly’s Free Breakfast and Coffee
    Get a free Big Two Do Breakfast and coffee on Veteran’s Day, 11/11/2013.

    Golden Corral Free Meal
    Monday November 11th from 4 PM to 9 PM get a free Veterans Day buffet and beverage to any veteran who has served in the United States military or is a current active duty service member. All Golden Corral locations will be participating. No identification is required to get your free Veterans day meal.

    Hooters Free Meal
    Monday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country.

    Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House Free Meal
    Monday November 11th from 11 AM to 9 PM veterans and active duty eat free from a select menu.

    Krispy Kreme Free Doughnut & Coffee
    Offering a free doughnut and coffee to all those served or currently are serving. Proof of military service required or those in uniform. Only at participating locations.

    Little Caesars Free Crazy Bread
    All United States armed forces veterans and active military members get a free order of Crazy Bread® with proof of military status at participating stores nationwide this Veterans Day, 11/11/13.

    Longhorn Steakhouse Free App
    From Nov. 11 – Nov. 14, service members receive a complimentary appetizer from a list of 10 delicious options, including New! Crispy Fried Green Beans, Lobster-Crab-and-Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms and Sweet Chili Shrimp. Includes veterans and current service members.

    Max & Erma’s Free Cheeseburger Combo Meal with Dessert
    On Veterans Day, Monday Nov. 11, participating Max & Erma’s locations are celebrating veterans and active military personnel with a Cheeseburger, choice of soup or salad and a chocolate chip cookie.

    McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree
    Enjoy a complimentary entree on Sunday November 10th, 2013. All veterans must show official verification. Veterans Day entrees must be enjoyed at the restaurant. No to-go orders permitted.

    Menchie’s Free Frozen Yogurt
    On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th, 2013 Veterans and active duty personnel get a a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt. Show a valid ID or be in uniform to receive.

    Noah’s Bagels Free Bagel and Shmear
    This Veterans Day from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., all active, inactive and retired military personnel are invited to receive a Free Signature or Classic Bagel and Shmear, or any other topping, and no purchase is necessary.

    O’Charley’s free meal
    On Monday, November 11 all veterans and all active-duty military personnel will have their choice of one of nine meals on the O’Charley’s “$9.99er” menu. Options include O’Charley’s Famous Chicken Tenders & Twisted Chips, Cowboy Sirloin, Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie and Santa Fe Tilapia, among others.

    Olive Garden Free Meal
    All veterans and military active duty will receive a free meal from a special menu on Veterans Day. Also, all November current military service members and their families get 10% off in honor of Military Appreciation Month.

    On The Border Free Entree
    All veterans and active duty military will receive a free entree from the “Create Your Own Combo menu” on Monday, November 11, 2013. OTB will also donate 15% of all eligible sales on Veterans Day from guests who bring in a give-back flyer.

    Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage
    Military personnel and veterans get a Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage. Must have valid identification. Plus, get 10% off all meals from Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

    Paciugo Gelato Caffe
    Paciugo will thank our nation’s veterans and troops on Veterans Day with a free 12 oz Gelatte on Monday, November 11, 2013. Military guests will need to provide proof of military service.

    Red Lobster Free App & drink
    From Nov. 11 – Nov. 14, service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcohol beverage. Includes veterans and current service members.

    Red Robin Free Burger and Fries
    All Veterans and Active Duty Military get a free Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries on Monday, Nov. 11.

    Midnight 11.11 to Midnight 11.12 vets get a free 6″ turkey sub and 20oz fountain drink.

    Shoney’s Offers Free All-American Burger
    Shoney’s says ‘Thank You’ to America’s heroes by offering Shoney’s All-American Burger to All Veterans and Active Duty Military Members on Monday, November 11th.

    Sizzler Free Lunch
    Active duty and retired members of the military get a free lunch on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013 until 4 p.m. Guests with proof of military service will select a six-ounce six-ounce Tri Tip Steak, single Malibu Chicken or a half dozen Fried Shrimp entrée with a choice of side dish. Note this offer does not include veterans.

    Spaghetti Warehouse Buy 1 Get 1 Free Meal
    On Sunday, November 10th and Monday, November 11th choose 1 original spaghetti entrée or 15-layer lasagne, get the 2nd entrée free.

    Texas Roadhouse Free Lunch
    Select from a free special veterans lunch menu including a beverage and sides no November 11th, 2013.

    TGI Fridays Free Lunch
    Veterans and active duty military service members are invited have lunch on T.G.I Friday’s this Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop Free Doughnut
    Veterans and active-duty military will receive a free doughnut. No purchase required. Valid ID required or show up in uniform.

    Travel Centers of America Free Meal
    On Veterans Day, November 11, all CDL drivers who are Military Veterans eat FREE at participating full-service restaurants with proof of service. Must present valid ID.

    Tucanos Brazilian Grill
    All active duty, reserve and retired military and veterans receive a complimentary Churrasco meal on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Also, get 10-percent off the entire bill for veterans and troops who dine with their families, from Friday, Nov. 8 through Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 11.

    Twin Peaks Free Meal
    On Monday, November 11 all veterans, active and retired members of the Armed Forces are invited to visit Twin Peaks for lunch or dinner and select any meal from the Twin Peaks menu

    If you know of a local restaurant offering a free or reduced meal to Veterans and Active Duty members on Veterans Day, please let us know in the comments.

    Via:  http://militarybenefits.info/veterans-day-discounts-sales-deals-free-meals/#ixzz2jypjZKot

    Westboro protests gay marriage in MN, counter-protest planned

    Members of the Westboro Church protest in Kansas. photo credit AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm

    Members of the Westboro Church protest in Kansas. photo credit AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm

    The Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting at soldier’s funerals, will be in Minnesota on Thursday to protest the legalization of same sex marriage in the state. A counter-protest is being planned by local Pagan Jay Linnel of the Blue Star tradition. His coven members are joining in the counter-protest and invite others to join them. Other non-Pagan groups are also planning peaceful counter-protests.

    Counter-protests of Westboro Baptist Church members have often included humor to mock the group and lessen their impact.

    Westboro will be at 555 Cedar St / St Paul at 11:00am. The counter-protesters are meeting at the same location at 9am.

     I hope people will learn that they don’t have to be limited by their disabilities, and I hope the sighted community will learn to look beyond those challenges that we face. I hope people will discover that a little creativity and a willingness to experiment can go a long way toward enriching their experience with the craft, and enriching their lives overall.  – Lady Cedar Nightsong



    by Tara “Masery” Miller

    Lady Cedar Nightsong is the author of “Tangible Magick” in the upcoming anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness. Other authors in the anthoology include local author and PNC editorial contributer Lisa “Spiral” Besnett, Lydia Crabtree, Eric Dupree, Literata Hurley, P. Sufenas Virius Lupu, and Breyonne Blackthorne. You an read an interview with Mr. Dupree on PNC here: http://www.capitalwitch.com/2013/07/interview-with-erick-dupree-of-healing.html

    Lady Cedar Nightsong: Thanks for the opportunity to reach out to readers. I love writing, and am just amazed that you liked “Tangible Magick” well enough to run it in your anthology.

    Masery: Lady Cedar Nightsong, what is the story behind you choosing that name?

    LCN: I honestly use Lady Cedar as a handle for Pagan writing and Internet work. It is not my true ritual name, however cedars are trees I have a deep connection with, and the song of the screech owl at night is unforgettable, once you hear it.

    Masery: How long have you lived in Bloomington, Illinois and what is your favorite place to live?

    LCN: I have been in Bloomington-Normal for four years, and recently chose to lease an apartment in town and become a permanent resident. I would say my favorites are a toss-up between Fusion Brew, a restaurant selling coffee and herbal tea with a quiet atmosphere, and the farmers’ market in downtown Bloomington on Saturday mornings.

    Masery: You are attending Illinois State University to earn your major in journalism. What is it about journalism that interests you? What type of media do you hope to work in such as radio, TV, newspaper or Internet?

    LCN: Honestly I have been deeply pondering the reason I got into journalism. At first I didn’t want the job of slogging around disaster areas asking people to think about how badly things are going at the moment. Then in high school I got some CD reviews published, which led to my working for femmemetal.net for about a year in college. While I loved the interviews, I wanted to do something meaningful. I am an activist at heart–Pagan rights, women’s rights, and animal rights are my three main causes. I want to work freelance, publishing articles for both Pagan and non-religious magazines. What I really want is my own online publication, for all things underground, but mainly focused on Paganism and the Craft and environmentalist pieces. I want to make a difference through my writing.

    Masery: In your biography you mention that your faith continues to evolve from Wicca to eclectic Pagan. How long have you been Pagan? What is it about Wicca that appeals to you?

    LCN: My foundations will probably always be Wiccan. It drew me in, when I discovered that I held a lot of Wiccan beliefs, and seemed to have a lot of craft knowledge from past lives. I love reading about other Pagan paths and adding things that speak to me to what I already believe and practice. I am a spiritual witch.

    Masery: You are a member of the Circle of Spirit Tree. What kind of people are in the group? What has been one of your favorite activities with them? You like to work with herbs and stones and consider yourself a hedgewitch. How did you learn your craft?

    LCN: The members of the COTST are incredible people. One of the elders is having a book on trees published, both a field guide and a magickal reference. Most members are well-versed in the craft, and many have their specialty, such as the runes, Druidic magick, or herbal remedies. We are a close-knit group with a variety of personalities blended into almost a family dynamic. The most meaningful moments have been the Yule gift exchanges, when we’re all so close and willing to share, and our camping trips, particularly the woodland rituals late at night. There’s a depth and power that is hard to express in words, save to say that it is rooted in the spiritual realm, and in our love for one another and the earth.

    I guess you could call me a hedgewitch, although there is also a great deal of cottage craft as well. I call myself an Earthwitch. Either works. For some reason, stones come instinctively to me, though it took a long time to learn to communicate with them. My sister has told me that when I was really young i would bring home shiny stones, wash them, and leave them in the sun, which is a simple cleansing of sorts. Now I have had many years to develop the ability to work with stones. A few favorites are jade, Tibetan quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, moonstone, and hematite, but I’ll work with anything except for tektite, which I get negative energy from anytime I handle a piece. I think herbal work was just a natural extension of the stone magick.

    I’m learning to craft infused oils, incense, elixirs, and herbal teas. It is an ongoing learning process, like everything else is.

    Masery: You have low vision. Has that been since birth?

    LCN: I have had optic nerve damage since I was born. I have no vision in my right eye, about forty percent in my left.

    Masery: For the anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction and Illness you wrote “Tangible Magic”. What inspired you to submit the essay to the book for others to read? What do you hope low vision and sited people will learn from it?

    LCN: I honestly did it on an impulse, thinking I got so much joy out of my practice; I wanted to share that joy with others, and I thought they might be able to learn something. I hope people will learn that they don’t have to be limited by their disabilities, and I hope the sighted community will learn to look beyond those challenges that we face. I hope people will discover that a little creativity and a willingness to experiment can go a long way toward enriching their experience with the craft, and enriching their lives overall.

    I am teaching crystal workshops at Central Illinois and Chicago Pagan Pride Days. I am also offering divination at Central Illinois Pagan pride. I write Pagan poetry and dark fiction as well as journalistic pieces. If anyone is interested in getting an online publication going, here is where they can reach me. Please don’t spam me. It’s bad karma. paganrockchick (at) gmail.com

    Lady Cedar Nightsong is a 23 years old senior journalism major at Illinois State University.She is also with the Circle of Spirit Tree. Bloomington, Illinois branch and gives crystal workshops at Central Illinois Pagan Pride and possibly at Chicago Pagan Pride in the future. She’s been a magick practitioner for a little over six years, but says it’s a natural ability. She says her faith continues to evolve from Wiccan to eclectic Pagan and hopes to create her own tradition.

    PNC – Minnesota Sunday Cartoon


    0114resizedNoland Comics by Shea Thomas

    Pagan Spirit Gathering 2013

    Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG), one of the oldest Pagan camping festivals in the US, may have surpassed last year’s record breaking attendance. Final numbers are not yet available, but preliminary figures set attendance at 1070 registered guests. The festival was a combination of old and new. Same location, Stonehouse Farm in Illinois, but with new owners. Many familiar faces, but unofficial estimates put first time attendees at 30% of total attendance. There are also some new trends that appear to be emerging within the Pagan community that are very old trends in mainstream society.

    In the coming week, the Pagan Newswire Collective is covering the old and the new at PSG in our PSG Report series. Some of the upcoming articles include:

    • An interview with the new owners of Stonehouse Farm and what’s in store for the future.
    • How PSG is a tribe of tribes.
    • Marty the Drama Llama and how Psyche’s Grotto helps PSG attendees deal with life and festival drama.
    • Looking for love (and marriage) at Pagan festivals.
    • A warrior blessing ritual.
    • An exploration of how it may be Pagans, and not conservative Christians, who are the banner bearers for traditional family values.

    PSG 2013 – an overview in short takes

    Photo by Edmund Zebrowski

    Photo by Edmund Zebrowski

    The weather was almost the reverse of 2011. This year we had sunny, 80 degree days at the start of the festival and rain, flooding, and muck at the end. Both years were an improvement on 2012 where the extreme heat caused many campers to seek medical attention and made sleep difficult. However, just like in 2011, there were problems caused by the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning storms. Tents collapsed or were flooded. Some not only made the most of it, they turned it into a party, complete with floating through flooded areas of camp and mud wrestling.


    To counter the sadness of familiar and long time PSG attendees not able to make the festival this year, there were many new faces at PSG this year. The virgin bell,which is rung when a first time attendee enters the gate to the campground, seemed to never stop ringing. It’s not unusual to have over 25% of attendees be PSG virgins, but this year the number appeared higher than normal. Conversely, the informal camps that spring up at PSG, with people camping as a group and coming up with names (and even t-shirts) for their group also appeared to be more numerous.

    First time PSG Attendee Jimmy rings the virgin ball. Photo by Starr.

    First time PSG Attendee Jimmy rings the virgin bell. Photo by Starr.

    While you can always count on gnomes and fairies to adorn Pagan campsites, this year the gnomes took over. I blame a tenor named Chris. There was Gnome Camp, where people devoted to gnomes pitched their tents. There were more gnome decorations. There was a gnome contest to be played amongst the merchant booths. And there were roaming gnomes which would randomly show up in your camp. One even made it into Media Camp on morning.

    A roaming gnome sits among PNC's important reporting tools.

    A roaming gnome sits among PNC’s important reporting tools.

    Food and drink have always had a place at Pagan events, but this year was up a notch. Filet mignon with demi glaze and infused simple syrups were on the menu at several campsites. Not only was the food more upscale, the campsites themselves were all about glamping (glamorous camping). A Pagan ethic of being extremely eco-conscious and simply was still evident, but the trend towards  providing more elegant and comfortable hospitality was more prominent. This mirrors the trend in the mainstream, but perhaps this is also a sign of greater religious diversity in the Pagan community as hospitality ethics become as important as eco and feminism ethics and influences.


    The theme of this year’s PSG was Connections, but the organizers may not have had social media in mind when they came up with it. PSGers were online more this year than previous years. They posted photos, videos, updated their statuses, and made plans to meet for lunch or arrange to pass of child care duties while enjoying the festival. Workshop handouts were made available electronically and there was even a workshop for technomages called “There’s an app for that.” Use of technology was, for the most part, very unobtrusive out of respect for those trying to unplug, but expect the use of social media during festivals to increase, not decrease.

    psg tenchology

    Rainbow Camp, a group comprised of GLBT Pagans and their straight allies, brought back the Rainbow Ritual. The ritual was attended by over 30 Pagans and one attendee said it was “The most powerful and moving ritual I’ve ever attended. I don’t often get to interact with gay Pagans as I live in a rural area. I was just touched.” The ritual, which was done in drag, and the very visible and active presence of Rainbow Camp was welcome after several years of gender controversy at festivals and conferences.

    PSG Drag

    Not only was PSG celebrating the summer solstice, but a super moon also made a magical appearance. A super moon is a full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (perigee) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.  The main ritual, hosted on the last Saturday evening of the festival, was graced by the light of the super moon.

    super moon

    This year’s PSG had many of the things you expect from a Pagan festival. There was all night drumming around the bonfire, rituals, musical performances, and more workshops than a person could ever hope to attend – even if they cloned themselves 7 times over. Hugs, cries of “welcome home” as people entered, and lots of really well made mead. Pagan festivals are an important part of the Pagan experience and they allow you to not only come together to worship communally and to enjoy being fully Pagan for a few days, they allow you to see where Paganism is heading and what challenges we face and offer an opportunity to be part of guiding and shaping the future of our diverse communities. PNC would like to thank all those at this year’s Pagan Spirit Gathering who allowed us to interview and photograph them so our history in the making can be recorded and not lost.


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