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  • Ivo Dominguez Jr at Paganicon – Interview

    Ivo Dominguez Jr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Construction of the New Alexandrian Library

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

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

    Ivo speaking at library ground breaking.

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

    Nels Linde

    Teo Bishop appearance at Sacred Harvest Festival – Interview

    Teo Bishop

    Teo Bishop

    Teo Bishop is pretty unique in the Pagan world. If you know of him, you probably know more about his spiritual ponderings and quest, than about who he is!  He is a  blogger,  bard, and  contemplative Pagan, the  author of Bishop In The Grove, a  regular contributor to  HuffPost Religion, and Columnist at The Wild Hunt. He is also one excellent musician and song writer.

    Read a bit of Teo’s  history here

    I talked by phone to Teo Bishop in Los Angeles about his upcoming appearance beginning next Monday at Sacred Harvest Festival, Aug 5-11th.

    Have you ever been to Minnesota before?
    Teo; I have been to the Twin Cities once before on a promotional tour. I think the theater was in St. Paul. This is the first time I’ve been during the “warm” part of the year!

    And you are out in Los  Angeles now?
    Teo; Yes. Most of the time when not at home in Colorado I am doing some kind of work in the music industry. Music is my primary work. Mainly I write songs for artists. You could think of it as applying my bardic skills in the pop music world.

    In addition to songwriting, do you plan on resuming a musical performance career?
    Teo; I’m not really focused on performance right now. I spent the majority of time between 2008 and 2011 working to cultivate a career as a performer and recording artist. My focus right now is on songwriting, and more behind the scenes work.

    From Letterman appearance as Matt Morris

    It is an exciting time, though, because the last few weeks have been exceptionally creative. In the past eight days I have written eight new songs. It’s a vibrant time, and I’m excited to take that creativity and bring it to Sacred Harvest Festival!

    You recently announce leaving the Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF).  Was that difficult? Are you still a Druid?

    Teo; I still very much feel like I am on a Druidic path. I don’t think you can ever truly disassociate yourself from traditions you have been a part of, and ADF has been very influential on me. So leaving ADF was a difficult decision to make, yes. But I decided to leave because it just felt, in all of my parts, like the right thing for me to do at this point in my own spiritual evolution.

    My leaving made a splash only because I am fairly public with aspects of my spirituality and my process. I’ve also been in a role of leadership within ADF, and I feel very happy about how things have been progressing in my absence, particularly with the Solitary Druid Fellowship.

    I think it’s important to understand that this is not some big dramatic event, but that my own process has led me to leave. I’m not on a crusade against ADF. There are many wonderful people in ADF who have genuinely been kind to me — both before and after this decision.

    Are you headed down a different path now?
    Teo:   I’m not sure exactly what path I’m on at the moment. I feel like my “ordinary”, non-religious life has a great number of spiritual teachings to offer me. I am still tremendously influenced by the teachings of ADF Druidry, in the same way that before that, before being a Pagan, I was influenced by Episcopalian Christianity. It is all part of a continuum for me. The creative work I am doing — the work that happens apart from any one spiritual path or tradition — feels like the best thing to focus on at this point.

    Teo Bishop

    Teo Bishop

    This is your first appearance as a guest at a Pagan event, what are you looking forward to?
    Teo:  I’m looking forward to meeting so many people that I’ve only engaged with online. I think it’s important for internet-entered Pagans to get out there, in the dirt, and get to know each other. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to offering up my experiences and insights into the creative process to the community. I’d like to find ways to conceive of our creativity and our spirituality as synonymous aspects of our lives.

    You are offering both a kids workshop and a ritual, is this new for you?
    Teo: Actually, I have done some work with kids outside of a festival context. My mom is a teacher and I have worked with kids to help them develop their creativity and use their own creative voice. This is comfortable territory for me, and I think the young people at the festival will have a lot to offer.

    I’m also excited about leading ritual. I’ll be incorporating some aspects of ADF Druidry, as well as seeking to use movement and voice as a catalyst within the ritual to enliven us and revitalize our own sense of creativity. We’ll make a good noise!!

    I think the festival will be a really great time. Everyone involved has been extremely kind, generous and hospitable with me, and I’m looking forward to giving the “Tribe” a big old hug when I get out there!

    Teo Bishop  is a featured National Guest at Sacred Harvest Festival   located at Harmony Park in  S. Minnesota near Albert Lea , Aug. 5-11th.  Teo is offering several workshops, a ritual, and a performance –  Workshop Schedule

    Discount advance registration for Sacred Harvest Festival  ends Thursday Aug 1st,  Gate Registration is also available at event.

    Nels Linde is a Council Member of Harmony Tribe which sponsors Sacred Harvest Festival.

    Kenny Klein returns to Minnesota – Interview

    Kenny Klein is  an author, musician, and an elder and a High Priest in the Blue Star tradition of Wicca.  He will be appearing Aug. 2-4th at Eye of Horus, and at Sacred Harvest Festival Aug 5-11th. I spoke to him by phone from Brushwood in New York state.

    You are touring now, but how long have you been a New Orleans Resident?
    Kenny :   Before Katrina I would winter there every year, as a lot of musicians do in December- Feb, and then go out on tour. When Katrina hit I was in California. About four years ago I felt the call to go back, and have been there ever since. This is the first time, since 2010 that I actually have a leased apartment in New Orleans! I usually leave in May and don’t return until September. This year I toured in April and May, Came back for an appearance at the “Gryphon’s Nest” a Pagan camp ground outside of New Orleans. Fishbird played there in June, then flew up to a pagan festival outside Wasilla , Alaska, where Sarah Palin is from.  I came back to new Orleans, and then took off for New york in July and will be on tour until September.

    You are into your second week at Brushwood?
    Kenny : Yes, arrived a week ago today. I come to Brushwood every year as both a presenter and a performer.  Each year i offer about six workshops and a couple concerts. This year we did the kickstarter campaign in order to bring the full band, Fishbird  along to here.  This is the first year we have the full band up here. We are doing something most Pagans have never seen me do. Solo I play acoustic guitar and fiddle and sing. In this band I play electric jam dark Celtic rock .I do this down in New Orleans and now with this live recording Pagans will be able to listen to it wherever they are.

    Is this what you enjoy playing?
    Kenny : I love it, I have a sensational band. The bass player in the New Orleans band didn’t want to come on the trip, so at first I was bummed, but my life long friend Carl Smith, who used to play bass with “Kenny and Tzipora” back in the eighties  was able to come up from Tennessee and play.  We have our drummer and Rachel Maxann my singer from New Orleans are both up here and we doing some awesome shows here. We have complete one of our main stage shows here and will be doing another one  Thursday. There is a small cafe at Brushwood and we have an independent contract to play at their cafe every day.  People are getting a short mini concert each day, and then the two main stage concerts.

    How is the recording going?
    Kenny : My newest CD, which I should have at Sacred Harvest Festival, is my concert from last year here, recorded live from the stage. That gave me the confidence to bring Fishbird up here to record for a CD.  Except for the “Griffin’s Nest” a Pagan camp ground performance this spring, this is the first time ever that Fishbird has performed for a Pagan audience.

    Then you are leaving the end of the week and headed to Minnesota?
    Kenny : That’s right, I have three days of performance and workshops at Eye of Horus (event info at bottom), and then right after the weekend I travel down to Sacred Harvest Festival for the week Aug 5-11th.  There I’ll be offering five workshops and a concert on Friday Night.  At my last appearance ar SHF I connected with some local musicians at the festival, and hope to again.

    Tell me about your new book .

    Lauren Devoe, my girlfriend, and I just finished a new book for Llewellyn. It is a follow up to Fairy Tale Rituals, called Fairy Tale Magic. The previous book looked at Grimm’s fairy tales and elements that could be culled from them and used to create ritual. This book is looking at non-Grimm fairy tales .  We explore Russian tales like Baba Yaga, Briton  and English tales, like Jack in the Beanstalk and Goldilocks.  We look at the elements of magical theory that are contained in these tales. We touch on Qabala and Tora Magic .  We explore Wicca, Pagan, and Ceremonial magic and how the elements of all these different magical forms can be found in these fairy tales. Lauren, who is an academic librarian at Tulane University did a lot of the research through the university to contribute information and obscure tales that we may not have otherwise found. It will be out next spring  from Llewellyn.

    Kenny Klein and Lauren Devoe

    Kenny Klein and Lauren Devoe

    Do you still practice Blue Star Wicca?
    Yes, Iron and Cypress, is our coven in New Orleans. We just elevated to neophyte two students into our coven. This took place, here at Brushwood.  I will also be guest priesting an open Blue Star ritual hosted by Hearth Stone coven of Minneapolis on Wednesday night at Sacred Harvest Festival.

    Kenny Klein at Eye of Horus:
    Friday August 2nd at 7:30 – Kenny Klein, Live in Concert Tickets $17

    Saturday August 3rd
    2-3:30pm – Book Signing/Meet & Greet Free Event
    4-5:30pm – Grimms Fairy Tales: What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You (mature content) Class $20
    6-7:30pm – Lost Secrets of Wicca with Kenny Klein – Class $20

    Sunday August 4th 2-5pm: Mojo and Magic in Blues & New Orleans Music – combined double-workshop – Just $30

    Kenny Klein at Sacred Harvest Festival Aug. 5-11th  – Workshop Schedule

    Nels Linde is a Council Member of Harmony Tribe which sponsors Sacred Harvest Festival, and an initiate of the Blue Star Tradition.

    Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – Interview Part 2 Deity and Trance

    Part two of this interview series with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone ,  guests at Heartland Spirit Festival , this continues from the first portion of our interview. This section of the interview focuses on the current practice of  Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, what they have experienced with deity work and integrated.

    Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

    Nels (N) :Is it easier to speak to the deities now?

    Gavin (G) : Something interesting is going on, as Pagans we have been waking the gods since the 1950′s. Voudon and the Caribbean traditions has a few hundred years on us! When you go to a Voudon Bembe, with its ecstatic drumming and dancing,  they come through really strong, riding (possessing) the participants. We are now reaching the point where this beginning to happen now in modern neo-paganism, even though it has only been fifty years.  This is because we have been waking the gods up. We have noticed something interesting as we have done the work. We are forming a Neo-Pagan pantheon. We only have a finite amount of energy to give the gods as spirits as they wake up.  You see the same gods and goddess coming up all the time in our community. Hecate, Brid, Isis, Morrigan, Freja, Odin, Diana etc.  Because there is only this finite amount of energy for them, they are congregating and forming a  new pantheon.  All awakened gods from different cultures forming a pantheon, and redefining roles.

    Hecate Photo: wikimedia

    Over the years as we done trance possession we have kept having Hecate appearing, even though neither of us have felt inclined to work with her,  but now it seems we haven’t got much choice! As we did the trance prophesy she started coming through at almost every event and  public workshop. We had strange occurrences.  On one occasion we started  conversation wither her in Connecticut through a priestess in trance, and she finished with us, unprompted with a priestess in California.  Now it has reached a point where when she comes through somebody, I will know if it is Hecate, because she will burst into fits of laughter when she knows it is me!

    Janet (J) :  The last time it happened in America she turned around and said to Gavin, “Oh God, it’s not you again”.

    G:  She has been developing and evolving and  has taken on the role of teaching trance with in this new ‘pantheon’.

    J:  She is taking on the role of a psychopomp for trance, quite fascinating.

    G:  This does  mimic what happens in voudon. She is taking the same role as Elegba/Ellegua.  You also have other deities fulfilling other roles as well. That is what is starting to occur, as simple as that. You see it where Brid is taking over the healing role. Brid is forming into three Brid’s, the triple goddess Brid consisting of the original Celtic Brid, Saint Bridget, and Maman Bridget from Voudon. Every priestess we know who works with Brid has found that is what is occurring. Suddenly they get this dark aspect of Brid, this dark earth goddess, the Maman Bridget from Haiti. It is getting drawn to them to balance the other two aspects.

    J:  There is the Brid of fire, who says right, you are going to be my priestess but I am going to put you through hell, put you on my anvil and beat the shit out of you! She is an initiatory type of goddess.

    G:  The Morrigan is a protective type of goddess, the Macha.  We are also seeing that Freya, who is taking on a different type of role. She is a goddess of journeying.  Which is how this all started for us, by working Freya.

    Continue reading

    Tribal Dance Performance and Workshops Feb 1st-3rd – Interview

    ATS Master Wendy Allen

    Kamala Chaand Dance Co and Bohemian Underground Workshop

    and Fuse: A Tribal and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Magazine  present

    Something Tribal This Way Comes…

    Wendy Allen of FatChanceBellyDance ®
    February 1-3, 2013
    Workshops and Performances at
    St. Paul’s Wellstone Center ***

    With Special Guests: Kelly Holder, Cassandra Shore & Tim O’Keefe

    Gala Show Spectacular February 1, 2013  featuring

    Wendy Allen, Kelly Holder, Cassandra Shore
    Kamala Chaand Dance Co, Bougouis Bohemians, Luna Rouge
    and STTWC Instructors

    Editor’s note:  ***Venue change

    Something Tribal This Way Comes will take place at Minneapolis’  Old Arizona at 2821 Nicollet Ave.  The  Gala Show Spectacular and Participant Showcase are combined into one Friday night event. Registration for the workshop and tickets for the Gala can be purchased online at http://somethingtribal.com or at the door.

    Please check the event website and Facebook page  for programming additions and changes prior to the event !

    All forms of belly dance have had an explosion of popularity in the Pagan and Twin Cities community the last few years. I talked to Tasha Rose of Kamala Chaand Dance Co  about the event:
    What is unique about this event?
    Tasha:   It is the first Minnesota workshop setting bringing together a collaboration of  three great talents and aspects of the Tribal Belly Dance world;
    American Tribal Style (ATS) Master Wendy Allen of FatChanceBelltDance®
    Kelly Holder who is an up and coming teacher in the Tribal fusion dance world
    Cassandra Shore, a local but world class dancer and teacher who is versed in the tribal roots and history of Tribal dance and the rich folkloric heritage of the Middle East. Continue reading

    Restorative Justice II at Sacred Harvest Festival – Editorial

    Thursday, August 9th, the second community Restorative Justice (RJ)  circle was held at Sacred Harvest Festival,  a year after the first. The festival was a lot different place this year, it was observable that an immense amount of grief resolution and healing had taken place over a year. A focus on the festival theme of the sacred in our lives, and the power of love, had seemed to replace a sense of anxiety, hurt, grief, and fear that many had felt a year ago.

    The Circle was much smaller this year, down to 15 participants, with 6 having their first experience with RJ at this circle. The feelings of the nine who returned were softened,  and reflected a feeling of a return to normalcy, which in this case is defined by the tribal sense of family this festival has generated based on the feedback of thousands of individuals over fifteen years.

    Crystal Blanton had offered to facilitate this RJ circle again.  Crystal began with establishing a talking stick. This year she used a personal Phoenix tradition piece because:

    “What we are doing in this community. We are rising from circumstances, regardless of what those circumstances have been, and where everybody falls in that. Taking where we are at, and using it as a catalyst to grow into something beautiful and bigger, and in some ways unimaginable.”

    Crystal solicited;  “Any questions before we begin?   None were asked.

    Crystal Blanton

    Crystal:

    “We open with two pieces to set the tone for where we have been, and where we are going :”

    “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence, when mindfulness embraces those we love they will bloom like flowers. “

    And from an article: “Contact beyond the Gods”

    Crystal read a quote about the spiritual importance of connection, and the connection we all have with each other. Acknowledging the importance of the process we are in, how we integrate the lessons we have learned into our spiritual being, and into the path before us. Not only learning how to work in community, but teaching how to work in community, for our children. Preserving what we have worked so hard for here.

    Crystal begins the RJ circle offering two values she brings, asking each participant to state a value they bring to the circle.

    Continue reading

    Ubaka Hill at Women’s Drum Center – Interview

    Ubaka Hill

    Ubaka Hill is appearing in Minnesota this week, sponsored by the W0men’s Drum Center.

    CONCERT: Rhythms for the Trees: A Concert of Percussion, Poetry, Song and Vision

    Featuring Ubaka Hill and with Drumheart. Open to the general public Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for the Marketplace , Performance begins at 7:00 p.m.

    Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, Whitby Hall, St. Catherine University 2004 Randolph Ave., St.Paul, MN

    Ubaka’s 2-day Workshop: Drumsong: the Art and Spirit of Drumming

    (for women and girls)

    Friday, August 24, 2012, 6:30-9:00 p.m. & Saturday, August 25, 9:30-1:30p.m.

    At Carondolet Center, 1890 Randolph Ave., St.Paul

    Register for workshop ($60) at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/258804

    Ubaka arrived Monday to prepare for a week of appearances around Minnesota, we talked by phone.

    What brings you to Minnesota?
    The Women’s Drum Center ( WDC ) is responsible for brings me out and setting up the workshops and concert, and setting up the Million Women Drummers Gathering 2013 , what we call, “Meet and Greets”. One of those will include a workshop but these are primarily to speak about the Million Women Drummers Gathering 2013 initiative/movement and how local and global communities and individuals can be a part of it.

    What is the Million Women Drummers Gathering 2013?
    It is a two tiered, tow levels, and two phased program. There is a gathering planned for October 11-13th, 2013. Between now and that date it is about raising our consciousness, and becoming more awake and aware that our wooden musical instruments are trees. As simple as that is, it is quite profound to become aware that we are participating in the deforestation of our old growth forests, our third world local woods, and of our wooded areas within the US and around the world. I have been drumming on the wooden drum for over thirty years. There was a point where I was not as awake and aware, and mindful of my participation indirectly, by being a consumer of drums, in the deforestation and the senseless cutting and disrespect of the trees, and the woods. In the sustainability of our future. Around 2007, something awakened inside of me. That awakening had to do with our unconscious consumption of wooden instruments. I am including all wooden instruments, from acoustic guitars, to upright bass’s; pianos, marimba, clarinets, flutes, violins, cellos harps, all the instruments. If we do not sustain the trees that our wooden instruments are made from, we do not have a future for those instruments that we love to play, and listen to, that we enjoy dancing to. We won’t be able to sustain the music of those trees and so won’t be able to sustain the folkloric traditions of our various cultures. Generations that will follow us, will also not have the trees or the wooden instruments for those trees to play.

    The Million Women Drummers Gathering 2013 initiative is essentially about creating a new mindful model as musicians and listeners, and players of wooden instruments. This call is coming from the leadership of women who love drums and who love trees. The Gathering in 2013 is a celebration of our new awake and aware selves, and our effort to create a new mindful model through planting trees, through having conversations about trees and creating a sustainable future, and to celebrate this by creating local rhythm circles including all players of wooden instruments while we plant trees and while we begin to create new technologies, ideas, and new approaches to a sustainable green policy for manufacturers, new traditions and new ways to approach the trees and the forest with gratitude and appreciation and the their replenishment.

    Continue reading

    Kirtan from the Heart – Gift to Sacred Harvest Festival

    A Kirtan in Sanskrit means  “praise, eulogy” . It originates in India and has spoken only forms and the more “liberal” Eastern Indian sung forms.  It is a call response form of expression of devotion, and is at its essence a ritual to the Gods.  It is from a world of 100′s of millions of Hindus and some forms of Buddhism, who celebrate their spirituality through the Kirtan. Alliances between these forms of spiritual Pagan expression are flourishing on the West Coast of the USA. Polytheists find more similarities in their worship than the vast cultural differences between Eastern practice and Western Pagans. Relatively new to Midwest Pagans, but becoming increasingly popular in “New Age” and Yoga based communities, the Kirtan movement is growing. Neo-Pagan connections to call and response, and voice based devotional ritual seems a logical extension in the range of Pagan practice.

    Sacred Harvest Festival guest, Yeshe Rabbit, brought this workshop as a taste of this form of expression. The workshop guided participants through, “… a magical progression to align body, mind, and spirit.”  I was drawn in and enthralled by the magic of this workshop.  The power of Rabbit’s voice was inspiring to festivants as the sound drifted through the village. The workshop participants were ecstatic afterwards, and bliss enveloped the village for the week. Jai Maa!  *

    Gift yourself seven minutes, close your eyes and join in the song as you hear the culmination of what was  over a 90 minute ritual Kirtan.

    Listen to Kali Mata – Kirtan From The Heart

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Jai Maa : This is a call to the Divine Mother, ‘Maa,’ a singing of Her glory. Literally, ‘jai’ means ‘victory,’ although we often translate it as ‘hallelujah’ or ‘praises.’ Speaking ‘Jai Maa’ in puja (worship ceremony) is an affirmation of the Divine Mother’s blessings, a chant of gratitude for all Her gifts and the challenges She provides that help us grow spiritually.

    Nels Linde

    Yeshe Rabbit – Sacred Harvest Festival Guest – Interview

    Lady Yeshe Rabbit
    Sacred Harvest Festival Guest

    I talked to Lady Yeshe Rabbit of the Come As You Are (CAYA) coven. We talked about her work in the San Francisco Bay area, her appearance at Sacred Harvest Festival, and her thoughts on gender issues in the Pagan community.

    How do you like to be addressed?
    For the most part you can call me Rabbit. My title in my coven is Yeshe, it is a word that has a few different meanings. In Tibetan it means “primordial wisdom”, and that is why I took the title, because I wanted to be guided by that primordial wisdom that resides within. It was also a childhood nickname, because I am Polish and my birth name is Jessica.

    Tell me about CAYA?
    CAYA coven is my coven.   There is within CAYA several different layers of membership. Some people have a casual relationship and may just attend our rituals. There is also an inner circle of trained clergy. These are people who have been with the group for a number of years. They would be my ‘closer’ coven you might say.

    What is the role of CAYA in the Bay area?
    CAYA stands for “Come As You Are”, and it is a coven that is built around the principles of eclecticism, inter-faith, and support for a wide variety of different paths. An individual who maybe has a very strong personal path, or, one who might be  just starting out and wants to learn about many different paths to see which one is the right fit, would find themselves very comfortable in CAYA. Each of us in CAYA feels that it is the utmost importance the we determine our own personal relationship with the divine. We then share our own individual practices and spiritual beliefs in the spirit of generosity without presuming that we know the one way that is right for everyone. What that means is that we are a coven “filled with solitaries” (jokingly), because everyone has their own individual practice. When we come together we join around a central core of protocols of how we do rituals in an outlined format, a baseline of ethics that we have all agreed to, and principles of community that we think are essential:  Cooperation, conflict resolution, clergy conduct and comportment. When people come into CAYA they feel very welcome, even if a beginner, or if they are extremely experienced and just don’t want to be told what to do because they are confident in their own path.

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    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?

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