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  • Magic to the People Indiegogo Campaign

    Drew Jacob, Rogue Priest and the former Twin Cities resident, has been on a spiritual journey that has led him to create a new project. Jacob is currently fund-raising a successful Indiegogo campaign called “Magic to the People,” to establish a magical work-site to provide free magical services to New Orleans residents and visitors. Jacob, featured previously on PNC-Minnesota for his work at the Temple of the River and then on his incredible cross-country travels on the heroic path, has found a new home in Louisiana.

    The Indiegogo campaign, which is going on right now, has already reached its initial goal of $1,100. This exciting news led Jacob to revise his plans to reach a new goal of $2,000 to create a book of magic for the fundraising backers. On top of that, if they reach $3,100, then Jacob will have a guidebook sent to backers that shows a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Magic to the People work-space.

    Jacob is a hounsi (initiate) of New Orleans Vodou but not yet a Vodou priest. He is a fully initiated priest of the Irish gods holding the rank of clí in draíocht (druidic practices). He has practiced magic for 17 years, founded and ran an Irish polytheist temple for 7 years, and is now traveling as a journeyman to learn from other traditions. He blogs about his spiritual journey at http://roguepriest.net.

    Jacob took a little time out of his busy campaign to speak with PNC-Minnesota:

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    Polytheist priest sets out on ‘Heroic Path’

    Known in the Twin Cities area as the founder and priest of the recently closed Celtic temple, author of the book Walk Like a God, and blogger for Patheos.com, an tSruith Drew Jacob is now ready to begin the next chapter of his life.  It’s a crazy idea, which an tSruith Jacob readily admits, to walk from Minnesota to Brazil.  Yet that’s precisely the path that Jacob set his feet on.   Last night I attended his 30th birthday/Rogue Priest deployment party and at 9 pm he used a slick move straight from Lord of the Rings to leave the party and start his trip unseen.

    PNC-MN Editor Cara Schulz, tSruith Drew Jacob, and PNC Contributor Diana Rajchel

    The trip has been a dream of Jacob’s for several years and he’s been planning in earnest for the last six months to make this dream a reality.  He sees the trip, one that will give him time to get to know an area and its people and test himself, as a spiritual calling.  “I decided to live the Heroic Life after many years of telling the myths of the ancient heroes. One day I realized that although their stories are fun to read or hear, they would be more fun to live. So I’ve begun to change my entire life to be able to travel and do great things.  To live the Heroic Life means taking action, living for high ideals, charging fearlessly into new and grand plans, building a name around your art or skill, and using your life to change the way the world works.”

    Continue reading

    Book review: Walk Like A God

    Walk Like A God, by Drew Jacob, sounds like a book that should be on every Pagan’s book shelf.  After all, right on the cover it says “how to have powerful spiritual moments with no church and no dogma,” which is what Pagans do every day of our lives.  The book is not a Pagan book, it’s a book that could be read and utilized by any person, religious or not.  It is also a book that could anger any person, religious or not.  Walk Like A God challenges you, making you face deeply held beliefs you never even knew you had, and challenge is not always a soothing experience.

    Title:  Walk Like A God

    Author: Drew Jacob

    Price:  $8 in eBook format

    Available:  Only on-line

    The book is short, it clocks in at 86 pages, but it is devoid of fluff and filler that other authors place in their books to up the page count.  The lay-out s spacious and makes good use of imagery.  If you’ve read the Rogue Priest website, than you’ll have a good idea of how the book lay-out feels.    Reading the book I was struck by the way information is presented.  It’s very hands-on with specific ideas, tips, and suggestions on how a person can seek and travel down their own spiritual path.

    Notice I am using the word ‘spiritual’ and never religious in regards to Drew’s book.  That’s because atheists will be just as (if not more) comfortable reading Walk Like A God than any theist.  That is the book’s blessing and curse.  The appeal is widened as it is written for a much more inclusive audience than polytheists like Drew, but the idea of living a spiritual life without faith in a higher power of some type pissed me off at times.  I realize that people do live spiritual and ethical lives without being a theist of some flavor and I have no problem with what others do in their lives, but the Gods are the center of my spiritual life.  I can also understand and support the idea that you can live a connected life full of amazing experiences without religion, but Drew’s book goes a bit further and excludes the Gods, not just organized religion.

    That concept is the part that will both attract and challenge many Pagans and readers of other religious flavors.  But if you accept the challenge, you will benefit.

    Once you stop looking at the book as a guide to spirituality and start reading it as a very practical how-to on living a fuller, richer, and more joyous life, you start to get into the groove and see how the steps Drew leads you through can change your life.  How to become more loving and connected to other people.  You’ll see nature as truly sacred and not just the lip service many of us pay to idea.  You’ll go outside your comfort zone to experience how adventure can become a core personal growth practice.  This book is meant, in short, to transform your life.

    Does it?  It can.  If you are willing to have an open mind, an open heart, and are willing to get up off your ass.  Frankly, that puts many of us out of the running.  We aren’t willing to do much of anything other than be wage slaves and allow our time and minds to be sucked away watching tv.  But if you are ready to make serious, deep, and profound changes in your life by taking a walk in the woods – get this book and go live the life you dreamed of when you were a small child and hadn’t yet given up.

    As for what Drew is up to next?  He’s practicing what he preaches.  He’s going to walk across two continents to meet the Gods.

    Celtic Temple closes doors, group disbands

    Temple of the River an tSruith Drew Jacob released a statement today that the Irish Cottage Temple in NE Minneapolis is closing its doors and the religious community is disbanding.  Lack of  improving lives and changing spiritual needs are reasons cited.

    The Irish Cottage Temple in NE Minneapolis

    The Old Belief Society, which practices a form of Iron Age Irish polytheism, has been active in the Twin Cities area for over seven years. The Society, which an tSruith Jacob helped found, uses Celtic social customs to understand Celtic spirituality.  They built the first and only Temple of its kind in the US which opened its doors in September of 2010.  Today, Jacob sent out a press release announcing, “As Drumclí of Temple of the River, with the full support of my students and the governing Council of the Old Belief Society, I am announcing the closing of Temple of the River.”

    Just over a week ago, an tSruith Jacob made waves across the Pagan community with an article titled “Why I’m not Pagan.”  In it, he talked about the successes of his spiritual community and said, “In less than six months we shifted from a small clique-like organization with no public presence to a bustling, dynamic community. … It was because of this surge of enthusiasm and interest—from a primarily non-Pagan crowd—that we were able to finally realize a dream of seeing ancient Irish religion alive and practiced as closely as possible to its original form.”

    tSruith Drew Jacob

    When asked to reconcile his former statement with the news that the group is dissolving and the Temple closing, an tSruith Jacob said, “There is no doubt that Temple of the River has attracted a large, diverse crowd of people who enjoyed our programs and ceremonies. If you measured success only in numbers, we’d be the most successful Celtic polytheist organization out there.  But I’ve never been comfortable measuring success that way.”  He says a better measure of success is to look at the spiritual good that a community does.  “We have a large community and terrific events, but the Temple isn’t making the [spiritual] impact I want to see it make.”

    an tSrith Jacob says that he has witnessed a shift in peoples’ spiritual needs over the past 10 years.  A shift away from needing accurate historical religious information and a place for community to meet and a shift towards empowering individuals to make changes in their lives.  He says that the structure and traditions of his group does not meet those changing needs, “I continue to find these traditions beautiful, but they’re not fostering the kind of powerful personal transformations that I expect spirituality to provide. If they’re not helping people transform their lives, then they’re not earning their keep.”

    A lack of  improving enough lives and changing spiritual needs are the reasons Jacob gave for Temple of the River disbanding as a spiritual community and closing the Temple doors.

    Erica Scanlon Schopper, found an tSrith Jacob while looking for someone to perform the marriage ceremony for her and her fiance.  She then started attending Temple events and the meditations.  She feels the Temple of the River had a positive impact in her life,   ” I am meeting more and more people who are looking for different spiritual avenues to follow and though we may be in the minority I feel that the group’s structure is able to work in modern times. Drew and others at the Temple have provided me with many stories and Old Belief history and practices to assist me with my private spiritual time.”  Ms. Scanlon Schopper hopes that a new Celtic spiritual group will form in the Twin Cities similar to Temple of the River.

    The Irish Cottage Temple closes its doors at the end of June and is available for rent. Ms. Scanlon Schopper says she was surprised by the news and sad to hear the temple is closing its doors, “but I have hope that the cottage will continue to serve as a gathering place, no matter what the gatherings may be.”  The current owner believes the temple may be rented out as an art studio or for another spiritual group to use.  Jacob was the former owner of the land the Irish Cottage Temple sits on, but he sold the property in January of 2011 and presently lives at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Minneapolis.

    The last event held at the Irish Cottage Temple is a costumed midsummer celebration, The Final Goodnight, on Midsummer Eve – Monday, June 20. Jacob says details will be announced soon. The final Meditation For All session will be Tuesday, June 14.

    Jacob says he is now focused on what he calls a “a new spirituality for the 21st century,” the Heroic Life.  To read the full interview with an tSrith Jacob and the Press Release, click the ‘read more’ link.

    Continue reading

    Sacred Spaces – Celtic Temple: Funding

    Many Pagan groups share the dream of building some type of sacred space. A temple, a community center, a permanent altar. It remains a dream because they lack the information, skills, and experience to bring it into reality. Yet other groups have accomplished what can seem, at times, impossible. They have learned how to raise funds, deal with city inspectors, and overcome challenges that stymie most groups who attempt these ambitious projects. In this series, PNC talks with groups who have successfully created their own Sacred Spaces.

    In part one of our interview  Temple of the River Priest, Drew Jacob, discussed why his group decided to build a dedicated temple and how they ensured their building would be in compliance with city regulations. In part two, Mr. Jacob talked the challenges they faced and went into detail about temple construction.  Part three, we get into funding.  Mr. Jacob notes the attitudes that exist within the Pagan community about money and fundraising and gives tips on how your groups can raise the funds needed for your project.

    The Sacred Spaces series continues next week with interviews from Sacred Paths Center, the only Pagan community center currently operating in the United States.

    Sacred Spaces – Celtic Temple: Challenges and Construction

    Many Pagan groups share the dream of building some type of sacred space.  A temple, a community center, a permanent altar.  It remains a dream because they lack the information, skills, and experience to bring it into reality.  Yet other groups have accomplished what can seem, at times, impossible.  They have learned how to raise funds, deal with city inspectors, and overcome challenges that stymie most groups who attempt these ambitious projects.   In this series, PNC talks with groups who have successfully created their own Sacred Spaces.

    In part one of our interview with Temple of the River, Priest Drew Jacob discussed why his group decided to build a dedicated temple and how they ensured their building would be in compliance with city regulations. In part two, Mr. Jacob talks about temple construction and the challenges faced.

    In part three of our interview, Drew Jacob walks us through how Temple of the River was financed and gives tips on how you can fund a temple or project of your own. Part one can be found here.

    Sacred Spaces: Celtic Temple, Part 1

    Many Pagan groups share the dream of building some type of sacred space.  A temple, a community center, a permanent altar.  It remains a dream because they lack the information, skills, and experience to bring it into reality.  Yet other groups have accomplished what can seem, at times, impossible.  They have learned how to raise funds, deal with city inspectors, and overcome challenges that have stymied the rest of us.  We can learn from them and they are eager to share their successes and mistakes so that more Pagans can have their very own Sacred Space.

    In part one of this series, PNC-Minnesota looks at a Celtic temple in Northeast Minneapolis.  Temple priest, Drew Jacob, explains why the group wanted to build a temple, how they were able to work within city building codes, and why doing things by the book is a step forward for the Pagan community.

    All this week Sacred Spaces continues with more from Drew Jacob of Temple of the River.  For Part 2 of the series, please click here. Next week, we talk to Sacred Paths Center about how to create a sustainable Pagan community center.

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