Paganicon Presenters

I have published interviews of “Guests of Honor” appearing at Paganicon since its inception. There are many from “Paganistan” who have offered workshops each year who are exceptionally qualified as presenters, and recognized around the country. I solicited responses from about ten of the many notables, and in this busy rush of springtime, three responded. I asked them to  describe who they were and their  relationship to this community. I asked, “What do you offer, and why?”


Clio Anjana

Clio Ajana – ( Participating or offering six workshops!)

I’m Clio Ajana and this is my twelfth year in the Twin Cities Pagan Community. I’m a queer Hellenic Orthodox High Priestess and member of the Lodge of Our Lady of Celestial Fire, E.O.C.T.O. I lead services, welcome newcomers, and revel in spreading knowledge of our path to those who are drawn to us, including our prison ministry. Our tradition in the Twin Cities has been embracing Greek,Roman, and Egyptian gods with an emphasis and welcoming of all LGBTQIA since 1998. I offer my gifts as a Devotee in Service to the Gods in the areas of numerology, astrology, herbalism, eldercare, and writing as a spiritual practice. I write for the Patheos blog, “Daughters of Eve” and consider everything in my life to be touched by and guided by the gods.


Lisa Spiral Besnett

Lisa Spiral Besnett – Author and presenting:

Friday, March 18 • 3:00pm – 3:45pm
Exploring the World Tree

The World Tree touches all cultures and realities. In this guided meditation we climb the world tree and spend time visiting across the realms. If you are interested in exploring Deity and wondering what you are attracted to, or if perhaps you are wondering about Deities that might be attracted to working with you please join us.


I’ve been a member of the Twin Cities Pagan Community since the late 70’s early 80’s. Over the years I’ve worked with CUUPs, Reclaiming, had WicCoM ministerial credentials, served on the Northern Dawn COG board, run a Blue Star coven, taught in Twilight Tradition and generally made a nuisance of myself. I’m really excited that the community has grown to support this convention, a fall Pride event and 3 summer festivals along with Winter Witch Camp and the Earth Conclave. I think there is a strong desire to be connected and to continue to learn and grow on our spiritual paths. I tend to offer workshops that are accessible to “new” pagans, but that are specifically directed at more experienced practitioners. As a writer and workshop presenter I work hard not to let my Wiccan bias be too overwhelming and to make space for other frameworks of belief. This year I’m offering a guided meditation centered on Deity relationships. I’m looking forward to hearing what participants bring back from their journey.

Donald L. Engstrom-Reese –   Who am I? Well …

I am, among other things, an artist, a gardener, a vitki, and a hedge witch. I have been consciously involved with the Mysteries and the Spirit Peoples for well over forty years. My roots thrive in that place between the wild and the domestic. I am deeply informed and inspired by art-making, gardening, Queer Spirit, yoiking, Hedge Witchery, walking, singing, deep dreaming, spirit journeying, baking, primal clan-hold magics, and the exploration of the sacred realms of sex and pleasure. I am committed to the growth and nurturance of the emerging Cultures of Beauty, Balance and Delight. 

      I have taught sustainable witchy ways that nourish and strengthen the Emerging Cultures for over thirty years. My teaching is rooted in a living blend of Queer Spirit, Witchcraft, Heathenry, and other primal magics. I have taught in my local communities, at Earth Conclave gatherings, at Reclaiming Witch Camps, and at Radical Faerie, Queer Spirit, Pagan and men’s gatherings throughout North America and Great Britain. I am an initiate of the Queer Mysteries, the Cult of the Bear, the Cult of the Bee, and the Reclaiming Witch Tradition. I am a vitki and a seithus (ergi seidmadr) who practices the ever evolving forms of contemporary seidr and galdr. I yoik the sun,the moon, and the weather everyday. I am a ‘green-blood whisperer’ deeply in love with life and the breath of life. I have been declared an elder by many of my Witch and Queer Spirit communities. I am continually learning about and exploring what these joyful obligations actual entail.     

My historical relationship to this community?


Donald and Mark (Both are presenting)

I have lived and thrived for my whole life in the rich lands and sweet waters of the Upper Mississippi Valley. I am one of those whose ways of living are thoroughly infused with and informed by the sacred soils, waters, winds, and flames with whom I live. 

Mark Engstrom-Reese (my husband) and I have live for over ten years with our beloved home and gardens (Hector House) in the charming river city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Together, we offer hospitality and friendship to our communities (human and otherwise), consciously practicing, with clear eyes and open hearts, the arts of Guest and Hostess Law.

What do you offer, and why?

Friday, March 18   1:00pm A Brief Overview of Emerging Queer Spirit

I am committed to this region and all of its people’s. No matter where I roam, I am always called to come back home to my beloved River. I have come to understand more deeply with every passing season, that I live in the heart of a ‘holy land’, a sacred earthy paradise at the center of Turtle Island.

As part of my dedication to living fully in my ‘holy land’, I collaborate with others in offering local classes and workshops on a number of arts and skills specifically designed to encourage to consciously develop and nourish their own day to day deep relationships with their ‘holy land’. In other words, we teach classes that explore fully embracing the sacred ground on which we walk with every step we take, to consciously inhale the sacred winds we breath with our every breath, to deeply drink the ancient waters of life each time we taste the gifts of the rains and snows. I also offer such classes as; learning to live and work with the runes, developing individual and community Pagan Prayer Bead practices, and deepening our relationships with the green-bloods (the botanical realms).

Mark Engstrom-Reese & EmrysAnu are presenting Sunday, March 20 1:00pm
Perennial Paganicon favorites, Mark Engstrom-Reese and EmrysAnu, team up to facilitate a discussion around the issues of safe relationships within Paganism. From sexual boundaries to time, money, and thought control, together we’ll look at the dynamics of abuse between individuals and within groups. Particpants will leave with a solid understanding of the warning signs of abuse and how to promote healthy boundaries within their own groups.

Paganicon 6: March 18-20, 2016, Registration available at the door!  See you there!

Nels Linde

Community Member In Need: Lola Fundraiser and Healing Ritual

[Disclosure: This is more of an editorial than an article as the author is friends with the subject and was unable to be unbiased and objective.]

Lola is one of the kindest, sweetest, most positive people you will ever meet. And a few months ago she was diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 Melanoma.

Here is her story in her own words:

Lola was welcoming to me when I first came to Paganistan. She was unfailingly kind, and always available to hang out when I needed a friend. Lola gave me an incredible gift when after not being able to give for a long time she let me offer her hospitality to her when she needed it. Being able to offer her a meal and a place to crash on occasion was a huge boost to my self-esteem and spirituality and I am so grateful to her for that. She is one of the finest people I know.

When I spoke to Lola for information for this post she was cheerful and happy. She was helping her sister’s children prepare a Mother’s Day surprise for her sister. She never mentioned her pain, her needs, or her personal desires. She spoke to me of the financial commitments she had made to her sister, of her love for her sister, and of her desire that her sister not suffer financially while Lola copes with terminal cancer.


Lola and Katie celebrating getting the keys to the home they currently share.

Lola told me about how she and her sister were roommates years ago, and how close they have remained over the years. Her sister is a single mom who wanted a better place to raise her children and needed help to do that, and she and Lola were so excited to be living together again. Before she realized she was sick Lola told me about how excited she was to be there for her family, to be more present in their lives, and to be creating this new future with her sister. You can hear the love in her voice when Lola talks about her family, and you can hear that for her the most devastating thing about this dire prognosis is the impact it will have on the people she loves.

Lola was told at one point that she might not make it past May, but she is looking forward to attending EarthHouse’s midsummer festival and finally making it to Pagan Spirit Gathering. She is a fighter, and her spirit is indomitable. She is living wholeheartedly in spite of her advanced cancer. She is still working as a massage therapist. She is still devoted to her family. She is still a positive influence on her many friends. She is amazing and she needs our help.

Lola is trying to raise funds to help her bridge the gap until her disability kicks in this August. She can no longer work full-time, her sister depends on her help to make rent and pay utilities, and she is facing losing her car within the next week. She needs love and support, but she also really needs cash to make it through the next few months. She’s not even really asking as much for herself as she is to help honor the commitment she made to her sister.

A fundraiser and healing ritual for Lola is being held Saturday, May 30th, 2015 at Michael Servetus Unitarian Society in Fridley, MN from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. From 11 to 1 is a “buy a bowl” fundraiser potluck with an all-you-can-eat bowl for $5, and the healing ritual will take place from 1:30 to 2:30. There will be a silent auction and lawn games for both adults and kids. A beaded necklace is being made for Lola and you are encouraged to bring a bead to add to it. The dinner is a potluck and you are also encouraged to bring a dish to share.

To contribute an item to the silent auction, or for any other questions, you can e-mail Nikki at

If you can’t attend but would still like to contribute to the fundraiser you can make a donation on Lola’s YouCare page: Help My Sister After I Pass On.

For updates or to RSVP to the fundraiser you can join the Facebook event: Lola Fundraiser and Healing Ritual.

If you can’t attend or donate online sharing this information via social media is a great way to help out.

It is my hope that Lola isn’t only able to raise the funds to meet her needs, but that the community can support her in living to the fullest as she battles terminal cancer. I hope Lola can to go to the festivals she wants to go to and over the next few months feel the love and support of her community.

My thanks to PNC:MN for sharing this with the community.

Veterans Honored at Paganicon

Ceremony Begins

Ceremony Begins

Last Sunday, March fifteenth,  during the afternoon tea at the conclusion of Paganicon,  seven veterans who served in various branches of the armed forces were honored.  In a community ceremony of recognition and appreciation, Selena Fox presented the Pagan Military Service Ribbon to Pagans who have served or are serving in the US Armed Forces.

Honored Veterans, Selena Fox at left

Honored Veterans, Selena Fox at left

Pictured from top, clockwise are Wayne Sears, John Farrow, Herbert Cook Roy, Celeste Proe, Shawn Burns, Debbie Olson, and Tamia Finnegan. They received their pin to the applause of appreciation and support from the over hundred community members present.


The Ribbon pin, created by Circle Sanctuary in 2011, is being presented to Pagan veterans and troops around the country who request it. If you are a veteran please visit the ribbon website to participate in the honoring recognition.

Please congratulate these service members!

Nels Linde

Selena Fox – Paganicon Guest Interview

Selena Fox

Selena Fox is a well-known priestess, environmentalist, religious freedom activist, writer, teacher, and psychotherapist. Also known as Rev. Selena Fox, she is senior minister of Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin, which has been serving Nature religion practitioners worldwide since 1974.

Selena will appear at Paganicon March 13-15, 2015 and offer several workshops, participate in panel discussions, lead a ritual, and facilitating the Military Pagan Honoring Ceremony . Tickets are available at the door for the day, weekend, or for special events. Selena responded to written questions:

Nels: Tell me about your Cauldron Magic workshop?

Selena: I have been studying folklore and folkways for many years, and old folk traditions are an essential part of the Circle Craft tradition that I practice. In my Cauldron Magic workshop, I will share some of the ways that cauldrons have been used in ceremonies as well as in daily life through time and across a variety of cultures and spiritual traditions. I also will share some of my own experiences working with different types of cauldrons as well as ways that Pagans today can use them as ceremonial tools and symbols for celebrating the seasons, home blessings, and other sacred work. In addition, I plan to facilitate some Cauldron meditations and experiences during the workshop.

What will you include in the Pagan Death Passages workshop?

Selena: Creating and guiding Life Passage Rituals is an important part of my services to Pagan community and has been since I began priestess work more than forty years ago. In addition to creating and performing weddings, baby blessings, coming of age into adulthood rites, cronings and sagings, I also do several types of end-of-life passage rituals. The Pagan Death Passages workshop emerged out of my experiences working with individuals and their family and friends prior to, during, and after death. I realized that there was a need to do end-of-life preparation education as well as facilitate crossing overs, funerals, and burials when the need arises.

In my Pagan Death Passages workshop, I share ideas and information about ways to support end of life planning and processes for family and friends, and I also express the importance of considering your own needs and making your own end of life plans. This workshop also is designed to help facilitate community discussions and considerations about dying and death, topics that some are reluctant to talk about with others.

In the workshop I not only present some information about types of end-of-life ceremonies but also give practical tips on end-of-life planning. We will explore ways to support a loved one at the time of being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and discuss approaches to maximizing quality of life in the time remaining. We will talk about working with life review during the last part of life. We will examine crossing over support, including the use of music, touch, presence, readings, and ritual. We will also look at post-death rites, including customizing wakes, funerals, memorials, and celebrations of life. In addition, I will be talking about natural burial as a death passage option.

Part of my work with Circle Sanctuary includes being the director of Circle Cemetery, a national Pagan cemetery and one of the first Green cemeteries in the USA. It is located at our headquarters near Barneveld, Wisconsin and this year we will be celebrating our cemetery’s 20th anniversary. We inter cremains at our cemetery and also do full body natural burials. Natural burial, also known as Green burial, is an ancient Pagan practice – it is placing an un-embalmed body in the earth in a shroud or other biodegradable container. In the workshop, I will describe some of our work in doing burial rituals at our cemetery, as well as things to consider in selecting a cemetery as part of end-of-life planning.

Is the Goddess Brigid one of your personal patrons?

Selena:  Yes, and I’ve been working with Brigid for most of my priestess life. I keep a Brigid Shrine at my home and also am among the caretakers of Brigid’s Spring, an outdoor healing place dedicated to Her at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve.

I had already been working with Brigid for many years, when I discovered while reading a book on Scottish history that I am descended from some who were caretakers of a Brigid site in Fife, Scotland.

In addition to doing personal Brigid work, I also facilitate Brigid rites for small and large groups at various conferences and festivals across North America. The Brigid Healing Ritual which I will be facilitating at Paganicon has evolved over time as my own work with Brigid has deepened.

In this rite as well as in my own person work, I work with Brigid in a variety of forms. In addition to honoring Brigid as the Triple Goddess of Inspiration, Healing, and the Forge, I also work with Her as a Sun Goddess, and a Goddess connected with the Land, Oak, Swan, Flames, and Waters of holy wells and sacred springs. Included in the Brigid Healing Ritual are invocations and chants drawing on these different facets of Brigid. We will be doing different types of healing during the ceremony — healing for ourselves, healing for each other, and healing for loved ones at a distance. And we also will be doing a community working for the well-being of Planet Earth and will energize Brigid crosses, charms, necklaces, and other items participants place on our central altar during the rite. I am looking forward to bringing the Brigid Healing Rite to Paganicon.

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Through Time – A History of Belly Dance in America – Saturday Jan 24th

Belly dance is an empowering daBDTimence form that has been embraced by the Pagan community for many years.  Women of all ages and backgrounds join together in classes and troupes to explore  the range of styles and expression drawn from diverse cultures around the world. This Saturday the Twin Cities gets a chance to see it all on one stage!  Originally produced in 2006, “Through Time – A History of Belly Dance in America” is returning bigger and better!

Saturday Jan 24th

Four Seasons Dance Studio  1637 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
DOORS OPEN AT 6:30 – SHOW STARTS AT 7:00  Purchase Advance Tickets


Alana Mari

The key purpose of this show is to educate how belly dance was introduced to the American public, how it was perceived and evolved to the variety we have today. Starting with Little Egypt at the World’s Fair in 1893, we travel through time to present day; watching as this art form which was introduced as exotic and mystical grew to become about empowerment, creativity and strength.

Amina Beres

Amina Beres




In this show, a variety of belly dance artists from the local dance community will be bringing their interpretation of periods of time and where belly dance was or was perceived by audiences; from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ lounges to Gothic Fusion Belly Dance; from the Silent Screen with Rudolph Valentino to the creation of American Tribal Style within the streets of San Francisco.

The Bourgeois Bohemians

The Bourgeois Bohemians

And to add to the madness, this show will be a multi-media production. Music, video, dance and a presentation on Little Egypt are all in store for this evening.


Come join us on this journey. Learn, explore and enjoy.

Visit Through Time  website for more information,  full cast  list and performer websites.

Kamala Chaand Dance Company

Kamala Chaand Dance Company

Lesley Inman  (Producer, Show Director, Performer)

Lesley Inman
(Producer, Show Director, Performer)