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  • Seeker? – Get looking!

    A seeker in religions is a person trying to see what they believe so they ‘seek’ out information on the different religions and eventually find what they are looking for. For those imbedded in Pagan community one  might  wonder who is looking?  We often forget there is a steady stream of people, young and old, who are looking for a meaningful expression of their spiritual beliefs outside of main stream religions.  Sometimes seekers are looking for help clarifying what they really do believe. Seeker classes serve an important function;  giving people new to Pagan experience an overview of what the Pagan world looks like and encompasses.

    Fall is the season many of these classes start. Some classes may only be sponsored every few years by some groups  and locations. In an online world of many classes and opportunities there is still really no substitute for meeting in person with fellows on a similar level of investigation, with someone qualified to help guide you, and exploring the many paths of magic and Paganism. If you are a seeker, to find class opportunities you need to get on mail lists, talk to book stores, and get recommendations from those you trust.  When you find one, jump on it! If you know a tradition or path you are already interested in use the same resources and ask around. Many groups or covens have ongoing ways for new people to learn about them without an ongoing commitment.

    Many of these classes have already started and may not take people at this time. always worth asking though. Starting tomorrow is:
    Wicca 101   –  Location: Eye of Horus, 910 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
    October 16th (Thursday) 7-9pm ~ 13 Class Series 3rd Thursday Each Month, starting in October 2014
    Learn the basics of Wicca from ethics and basic protection work to spellwork and ritual creation. We will cover energy work, use of herbs and stones, and more in this once a month class series. To finish out the course, participants will write and perform a final ritual. Everyone will also leave with resources to either continue a solitary path or find the coven that is right for them. Class is provided by Wellspring Coven from Minneapolis. 3rd Thursday of each month, starting October 16th, 2014. 
    $65 Cost covers entire year – 13 month commitment required.

    Seekers Classes The Coven of the Standing Stones regularly holds seeker classes and their next series is beginning
     in November at Magus Books. They will begin the first Friday in November and are offered free at 6.30pm.  Contact Magus Books or the Standing Stones to reserve a spot in the class.

     Grove Training   Stillwater (Minnesota) Gardnerian Coven is currently accepting students for our outer court training grove. Seekers interested in training and possible initiation in the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition can find more information and contact info on our WitchVox listing, here: http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmn&id=36698

    These classes have already begun :

     Elements of Magic 101, Six Sessions in Six Months begins this Saturday, Sept 13th.   “All are welcome to join us. If you are new to Reclaiming and wish to be a more active participant in our practices and understandings this will be a very good way to learn the basics of our Tradition.  We will meet once a month over 6 months exploring, learning and deepening the foundational arts, magics, and practices of Reclaiming. Some of the topics that we will be looking at are; grounding, shielding, personal practice, shaping intentions, spell crafting, divination, ritual format and skills, prayer beads, labyrinths, the Seven Sacred Voices, nurturing our relationships with Mystery, altar building and an overview of Reclaiming’s history. We will also closely examine our one core document that informs everything that we do, The Principals of Unity. We will explore all of these topics and more, using the tools of conscious thought, trance journeying, discussion, rune and tarot work, song, chant, and other voice skills, and the mystery that we are bodies, and that all of the magical tools that we need our already a part of our beings.”


    Since September the Wiccan Church of Minnesota ( WiCoM )has been doing a series of six seekers’ classes.  We meet every second and fourth Wednesday evening at a St. Paul restaurant that has a meeting room to rent.  The purpose of the class is to give students just a taste of what Wicca is about and some very basic information about other Pagan paths.  We also touch upon the history of Wicca, our church in particular, ethics, ritual, and energy work.  At the end of our classes it is hoped that students will know if Wicca is something they wish to pursue.  If it is, the class teachers and other church leaders help the students connect with appropriate teachers.  Unlike other seekers’ classes that encompass year-and-a-day training, WiCoM Seekers’ classes are intended to give students a familiarity with Wicca and then a connection to year-and-a-day training.

    It is too late to join this round of WiCoM seekers classes.  We hope to have another round in the spring.  Folks can watch our Facebook page and website for an announcement about upcoming classes.

    I found this Witchvox listing in Duluth, contact them for future classes:

    When: Feb. 16th. 2014 – Jan. 18th. 2015
    Where: Duluth, Minnesota

    Seeker Classes offered by Silver Phoenix

    Event Details: Silver Phoenix is offering seeker classes starting in Feb 2014 and ending in Jan 2015.

    Our classes typically run for a year, and we have in person classes once a month as well as weekly projects and discussions online. New this year Song has built an interactive student website for the students to complement the classes.

    Seeker classes are open to anyone interested in learning, and we do not require our students to become members either before or following the end of classes (though we do occasionally offer membership) . Our goal is to help our students find the place that is right for them, be it with us, another group, or as a solitary.

    If you have information about new seeker class opportunities, please add them as a comment!

    Nels Linde

    Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – Interview

    I had the opportunity to interview Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone  who were guests at Heartland Spirit Festival near Kansas City this past Memorial Day Weekend. They took several hours out of their hectic schedule to simply hang out in our merchant booth and chat about a wide range of subjects, for which I am extremely grateful!

    There are few people left who directly experienced many of the legendary figures of the rise of Neo-Pagan spirituality. Janet has a wealth of knowledge and stories from this era, and vivid descriptions of what they have experience.  Gavin articulates where their practice has led them  since he became part of the most famous Pagan triad, and the subsequent passage of Stuart Farrar. Together they represent a vision of an evolving practice of deity centered witchcraft.

    This interview is about 9000 words long, but to me it is just too interesting to edit much content out.  It will appear in three parts over the coming weeks. First some history and an overview of their current work, then more details about their current practice, and finally a look into the future.

    Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

    Nels (N): You’re back in the states. How long has it been since you have been in the states?

    Gavin (G) : Nine months.

    Janet (J) : Yeah, nine months. We actually travel here a lot.

    G: We’re generally in the states every year. The last time we were in the Midwest was about 2002-2003.  We did INATS (International New Age Trade Show) the big trade fair in Colorado promoting Progressive Witchcraft. Before that we were in Wisconsin, so we haven’t done much in the Midwest for a while. But there’s been a lot more interest. We’ve been invited out towards Ohio August/September next year. Generally we spend a lot more time on the East Coast: New York, Connecticut, Florida. Those areas, mainly because we have connections there.

    J: We are actually linked to a group of covens in these places.  We don’t actually call them “our covens,” they are covens in their own right, but they are all linked together through us.

    G: Because they are covens that all follow the same philosophy.

    N: What is your philosophy for ritual, coven work, and magic now?

    Doreen Valiente 1922-1999

    J:  Ok, well let’s start at the beginning. Thanks to knowing, long before Gavin ever met her, Doreen Valiente, I had a totally different perspective on Witchcraft. Even if you look at that book, The Witches Bible. When we started off, Stewart and myself, we started off with Alex Sanders. After that basic training, we were running an Alexandrian coven. Far too short, to be honest, to have real experience. We winged it, as they say, but we learned as we went along. And when Stewart and I moved to Ireland in 1976, Stewart took a look through our Book of Shadows and said “There’s no meat on the bones of this. Let us start by investigating old Irish folk customs, and from that comes a great rise in Celtic mythology, and a lot of people are becoming fashionably Celtic.

    We lived, for the most part, in the most beautiful Celtic land, and a lot of those old festivals are sadly dying out now. We actually started resurrecting them ourselves, village folk festivals. We used to go along to them, and we used to experience them, and from 1976 to 1981 we traveled in various places across Ireland renting property to learn about what the locals still kept alive. Including the Midsummer bonfires, the Lughnasadh/Lammas festival, and we would glean knowledge. We would talk to the local people, the older people who remembered “ back in the days of my youth we did this, that, and the other.”

    We put all that into the first book we wrote, before it became The Witches Bible it was Eight Sabbats For Witches. And with Doreen Valiente’s permission, I hasten to add, because a lot of the original Book of Shadows was her work. She took one look at the work we were doing, because we got to know her, and we said “Look, do you approve of this?” And she said “Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. A lot of this is my material, the Charge and etc… You have my permission to print it and be damned!” We said, “Well, fine if we’ve got your permission it goes into the book.” Continue reading

    Orion Foxwood at Paganicon – Interview


    Orion Foxwood

    Paganicon opens this Friday and one of the featured guests is Orion Foxwood. Orion Foxwood is the author of “The Faery Teachings”, “The Tree of Enchantment” and “The Candle and the Crossroads”; and the founder of the House of Brigh Faery Seership Institute and co-founder of Conjure Crossroads and 2hoodoos.com. He will be giving the keynote address at 7pm on the topic, “Paganism as a Co-Creative Call-to-Action”.  I talked to him by phone.

    Tell me a little about your personal journey?

     Orion Foxwood:  I am from Virginia, but live in Maryland right now, just outside of Washington, DC. I was born down in the Shenandoah Valley outside Winchester, Virginia. My early experience in magic was in Southern Folk Magic, conjure, although they don’t use that term much down there. My mother, myself, and my sister were all born with “the veil”, the covering of the face with the placental sheath. In southern Appalachian and many other cultures that denotes the second sight, the ability to see into the spirit world. Between the cultural practices and that veil, it solidified my journey in this kind of work.

    What did they call it in that region?

     O.F. :  They called it “spirit doctoring”, and people who did this kind of work are spirit doctors. Now and again you would hear the word conjure, that word is used a little more in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Texas. Another term used is “root work”, or “Hoodoo”  , but that is associated more along the Mississippi valley.

     Were you involved in witchcraft?

    O.F. :  When you grow up in a folk magical practice, you don’t necessarily see it as something special. I left from that period looking for more, and discovered witchcraft in my teens. I started corresponding with witches in the DC metro area. That is really what prompted my move to this area, and to learn the craft. I was initiated into a Welsh tradition and later a Celtic and then an Alexandrian Wiccan tradition. On the advice of my elders I eventually came back to the roots of my own cultural practices and integrated them into my practice.

    I have three major streams I work with. There is my Pagan witchcraft, Faery Seership, and Southern conjure. The Faery Seership grew along a parallel path with my craft work. I was influenced in a major way by R.J. Stewart in my Faery work, and through his work attained a contact in the spirit world named Brigh.  Brigh and I have continued to develop that work over the years. I teach much of that, it is more of an integrated, co-created practice working with the more invisible side of nature. All three streams of practices really come together with their own unique insights. They all have a way of speaking as to how my soul has grown; spiritually, magically, and mystically. They all support my work in the world, and within myself. They give me a broader set of language to often say the same things. It makes it easier to reach many kinds of “ears”, including people with different types of spirit work.

    Continue reading

    Crossed Quarters – Guest Editorial by Lisa Spiral

    Most Pagans are aware that the eight sabbats of Wicca are an artificial construction. They combine festivals of hunter/gatherer peoples with festivals of agriculture and animal husbandry. When you add to that an international following and crazy modern scheduling you have a practice of worship that is truly Neo-Pagan.

    Our quarter celebrations, the solstices and equinoxes, come to us from people’s who understood astronomy. These are real and measurable events in time and space. The tools and precision of measuring when these sabbats occur have changed over time. The events that they celebrate are fixed.

    The cross quarters, however, are seasonal celebrations. They mark events of weather and harvest that happen when they happen in the local area. We know from the names we call them by: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasad, and Samhein that these are sabbats from more northern climates. These are celebrations of a people who were dependent on an unpredictable weather.

    They may have marked migration cycles. They may have marked the end of a harvest season. They may have marked blooming plants. They may have marked fertility of farm animals. But these kind of events occur at different times in different places in different years.

    Our calendars come to us from the Romans and the Roman Catholic Church. When these local festivals were assigned patron saints and attributed to saints days on the calendar they became more fixed in time. Of course the church calendar has changed once or twice over the last several thousand years and saints come and go. Continue reading

    Christopher Penczak – Interview with Paganicon Guest

    Christopher Penczak at Stonehenge

    I talked to Christopher Penczak about his appearance as featured Paganicon guest March 16-18th.  He is an energetic, prolific, and well spoken author whose writing have sought to synthesize and integrate many magical concepts with the practice of the Witchcraft.  He is offering three workshops and a ritual at Paganicon, so if you don’t come away understanding his perspective, you have missed out!

    Have you visited the Twin Cities area before?

    I have! Many years ago, right after I signed with Llewellyn, I spoke at Magus books, and visited. It was right after “Inner Temple of Witchcraft” had come out. I came out a few years later when Llewellyn moved, and believe I again visited Magus, and the Eye of Horus, I think they had just opened.  I am excited about my Paganicon experience, and my first real teaching opportunity in the area.

    Tell me about your presentations at Paganicon?

    The Awen Symbol

    The Three Rays of Witchcraft is from the book I am most excited about, it is from a few books back, the first one released from my own publishing house, Copper Cauldron.  It came to me from a vision, trying to reconcile my own experience differences between Wicca based Witchcraft and more folk-loric based Witchcraft, along with my more Qabalistic side, shamanistic side, and more “New Age” side.  A lot of my influence for the book ‘Ascension Magic’ came from theosophy, New Age, and light worker material which really doesn’t fit into the Witchcraft paradigm. I was experience a schism in my own spiritual practice and this is how it all came together for me. In meditation I experienced an image, a  vision of the Awen, the symbol from Druidic tradition, that was a little bit different. It brought together all these different ideas for me.  I got bolted right out of the meditation. It was a really unique experience for me because nine days later, I had the draft of the book written. It was inspired, and is my favorite book to date. For me it gets into deeper thoughts about magic and Witchcraft. What are we seeking through magic? What is the Witches version of ‘enlightenment’ ? The The Three Rays really deals with the concept of power, and your true will; Love, unconditional love; and wisdom. How do we get to be creatures that can hold love, power and wisdom at the same time?

    Continue reading

    Pagans in Prison – Inmates Comment

    The inmates at various Department of Correction Facilities have been tracking this discussion of Pagans in Prison, and are aware of the civil rights issue in Stillwater Prison.  Nearly all Pagans in prison find that path in prison. They have no history with a ‘Pagan community’. They have the idea that we as Pagans have a spiritual community like many Christian groups do. Inmates, therefore, tend to have a real idealized vision of our ‘Pagan community’. We are presumed to have facilities, programs, ministers, outreach programs, and the dedication to help our ‘brethren’ in need, and they know they certainly need help. Maybe they suffer from the same attitude we hold, we want a lot from our community and don’t have the time or resources to put a lot into it.

    Many of the facilities have functions, and  Faribault is considered an ‘exit’ facility. It houses over 2200 mainly low risk inmates, double bunked, with mainly shorter terms. They are preparing to leave incarceration in a few months to a few years, and will be approaching our community as they seek their Pagan paths.

    What do you want from the Pagan community as Pagans in Prison?

     We want to be able to learn more, and to be able to meet people in a positive fashion. We want to start building  some positive relationships now, that will be available to us once we get on the outside. Ninety percent of us are here because of the people we hung around with. When we get out, if we hang with the same people, we will be back in here. We need Pagan people to hang with! Continue reading

    Pagans in Prison – Women Ministers in Prisons

    Emrys Anu is a Wiccan Minister volunteering for the last six years at Rush City Correctional Facility.  She has volunteered in the past at Red Wing (18 months) and Stillwater Correctional Facility (2 yrs.).

    A Prison Beltane Altar

    What is it like working with your “guys”?

    They are funny, engaged, and interested. They are incredibly grateful for the time and interactions that any volunteers bring. Just to show up, look them in the eye and shake their hand and treat them like human beings. They don’t get that often enough except with the religious volunteers. I think that attitude sets the foundation for the engagement. We develop a give and take trust that makes education in this setting possible. The topics that we touch on are the difficult topics of life transformation. We don’t talk about their crimes, they all know that they are in their for a crime, we even joke about it. Once I mentioned, “Ya, well I get to go home after this”, and they replied, “Ya, they keep us here because we are criminals”. They know that they have made bad choices. In those moments when they are calm and grounded and connected, they want to be able to make better choices and know they don’t have the skills to do that. Continue reading


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