Twin Cities Pagan Pride this Saturday September 6th!

TCPP Entrance

TCPP Entrance

The Twin Cities Pagan Pride (TCPP) Fall Festival is being held at Minnehaha Falls Park on Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 – 6:00pm. Pagan Pride is a free fall event, open to the public, that offers education about Paganism to the larger community. Twin Cities Pagan Pride has offered a fall event since 1998 that includes a ritual focusing on the harvest, a food and charity drive, along with other rituals, discussions, vendors, and entertainment.

TCPPimg6

Labyrinth Station

Paul Eaves, the amazing labyrinth designer, will be back putting up another of his walkable works of art.  TCPP is partnering with the Groveland Emergency Food Shelf again this year to give back to the community, please bring non-perishable food items!.

 

There are over 25 vendor booths for merchants and representing area groups to visit. Something for everyone!

Saturday’s schedule :

10:00am-10:30am – Opening Ritual (Steven Posch)

10:30 Crow Call

11:00 Standing Stones Ritual

11:15 Dance 1 – Mystic Siren
11:25 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
12:00 Blue Star Ritual – We’ll be singing, celebrating the season, and honoring the gods.
1:00 Mark Digitono
1:45 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
2:05 Bourgeois Bohemians
2:25 Kamala Chaand Dance Co
3:00 Our Lady of Celestial Fire Ritual
3:45 Beth Kinderman and the Player Characters
Located at Minnehaha Falls Park, in the area around the bandshell. There are both paid and free parking options in the area (the link includes map and parking details.) The park is not far from the 46th Street light rail station and a wide variety of bus lines (and you can find out more from the MetroTransit site.

Nels Linde

Ed Fitch at Heartland Pagan Festival – Interview

Ed Fitch before his workshop on the Magick of the Seven Seas.

Ed Fitch before his workshop on the Magick of the Seven Seas.

Edward Fitch is a Wiccan High Priest of the Gardnerian tradition and was a leading figure in the rise of contemporary Wicca and Paganism in America.  Fitch was an early initiate of Raymond and Rosemary Buckland (initiated by Gerald Gardner’s home coven) after they set up the first Gardnerian coven in America. Fitch also helped to organize and chaired two Pagan Ecumenical Councils to establish the Covenant of the Goddess (COG) as an international umbrella organization representing Pagans. Through the 1980s Fitch continued to perform as a Gardnerian High Priest, but his researches also led him to initiation in a number of other traditions and orders, including:  Faerie faith, Mohsian, the Order of Osiris, the Order of the Temple of Astarte, Norse, and Ceremonial magick.

 

Fitch is the original author of “Magical Rituals from the Crystal Well”, the Pagan Way Rituals, and two classic underground books on American witchcraft:  “The Grimoire of the Shadows” and “The Outer Court Book of Shadows” (later combined by Llewellyn Publications to be published as “A Grimoire of Shadows”) as well as the Norse volume,  “The Rites of Odin”. He also wrote (uncredited) “A Book of Pagan Rituals” and is the author of the forthcoming “Revised and Updated Rituals of the Pagan Way”. (He created the original “Pagan Way” ritual system in 1972.)

I had the chance to chat with Ed before one of his workshops as guest at Heartland Pagan Festival, near Leavenworth, KS.

What was your introduction to the craft like?
I had been looking for the craft for a long time, and had been totally isolated from it. I was in Baltimore and was getting restless.  I would go out to the airport, and go to their bookstore which featured science fiction. I was out there flipping through books and came upon “Sign of the Labrys”  by Margaret St. Clair  and words started jumping out at me; “moon power”, ‘priestess”,  “coven”. I started some research on what was this “Wicca”.   This was 1963 and there was nothing in the states that I knew about. I thought , ah ha, here is someone to contact, but how in the world do I do it? It took me a year to figure to contact the publisher. I did and got an invite to drop in and visit from Margaret and Eric St. Clair. I visited them in Richmond, Ca and thought nothing of the fact they had a ceremonial sword on the wall and the living room had a triple circle inscribed there in bronze. They were brilliant people and we had great conversations. I did not know but afterward they sent a letter about me to Ray and Rosemary Buckland in Long Island. I went back into the Air force and was assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base just outside of Boston. I began to visit Ray and Rosemary and very rapidly became part of the coven.

The very first time I was there we were chatting and it approached midnight. I was going to turn in and Ray said, “No, we will be doing a ritual. We will open the circle first and we will have you come in later on.”  They prepared a consecrating bath for everyone and he flipped me a towel and in his finest English accent said, “Here, this should soak up the blood.”  Everyone had their bath, and I had mine,  and went then all down and they left me sitting in the living room dressed only in my goose bumps. I could hear chanting and a little bit of laughter. I wondered what is this all about? I had done research and knew these people did not take blood sacrifices, but … just suppose that I am wrong?  After a while Ray came with his athame, in his devilish beard and mustache and said, “We are ready for you.”  At the dark entrance to the stairs going down I said; “After you.” and Ray said, “No, no, after you!”  I walked down the stairs into the complete darkness,  being very conscious that  someone was just behind be with a drawn blade. At the bottom a curtain was opened for me. There was the ceremonial room all lit in black light.  Suddenly a beautiful naked woman leaped out at me with a dagger and said, “Yummy, fresh blood!”  I nearly had heart failure. I later discovered they were very charming people with a great sense of humor.

Did you continue to work with them?
Well for a time but eventually the Air Force sent me to Vietnam, and on to Thailand. I had little contact over there, but began the writing (1967) of the “ The Outer Court Book of Shadows”, published by Llewellyn. Some of my writing from that time has a bit of an edge on it because, well, I was being shot at from time to time!  I had been working with Ray and Rosemary for some time, and writing material for them.

Did you ever run a coven as priest, or do you prefer to work solitary?
I had an interest long before I was initiated.  Initiations were done in pairs at that time, male and female, and I did have a small coven for a while. I was in the active military and was sent all over.  My lady and myself ended up going separate ways.  I have since sometimes worked as a coven and sometimes on my own.  I find it is very good to work as a coven because you can exchange ideas, and do power workings with them. Solitary you get to study and meditate. People have personalities and there are sometimes conflicts. When that happens it is best to just ease away genially and then do your own research and study.  I like both ways of working.  I like working with my people over here on advanced work and like to bounce my ideas off my people. Of the people that I train that I think will be the best maybe one out of ten will be really spectacular. The others will be mediocre, and one or two will be toxic. I have never been able to judge human nature that well. There are advantages to the traditional Wiccan time of waiting a year and a day before an initiation. When I got started there was such a demand that people wanted it faster than that. My material was written so  people could get into it a good deal faster.

fitch1Do you believe in magic?
Yes, and I believe in gravity, even green trees and beautiful women!  A person doesn’t believe in it, one lives it. Like talking to a tree. I taught myself to link into a tree and get its life force, get its feelings.  I go to the redwood forests in California and wow, this thing is three hundred feet tall, and I am tiny compared with it. I was on a ridge line outside Los Angeles hiking alone and came upon a snag that had been killed by lightning.  I gave it an offering of water around the base, and put my hands over it and my head against it. I immediately got a splitting head ache, like I had been hit by lightning. I was communicating with something that was dead.  There was a consciousness there that goes beyond death. I found that trees are all interlinked, but that is another matter.

Do you have a vision of what Wicca and magic is offering our society for the future?
Wicca and Paganism are going to be spreading more and more. We are probably going to be seeing some of the initial effects of it with the green movement and things like that.  We are gaining more of an understanding of some of the deeper aspects of life.  When I was working for Westinghouse some forty or fifty years ago we discovered by experiment that there is an understanding of reality beyond reality, the Multi-verse.  Reality is flexible, you can effect it with your own mind. I have learned how to affect it with mine.  You have to roll and live with what is out there, live with the natural world.  I stay away from cities as much as I can, because they are toxic. I have a strong dislike for anything chaotic. It is interesting to experience life in as many ways as possible.

Do you consider yourself a traditional Gardnerian?
Gardnerianism is my home, and from there I expand outward. I really feel a person should get a start in one tradition or another, from there, go with your DNA. If you have Norse blood, great, if you have African, great, go with that. Some of my best friends are in the Roman traditions. After you have got the tradition down then you can branch out and try other ones.

Do you have a personal set of deities?
There are many, many manifestations of the Gods and Goddesses. The Garderians work with the God and Goddess, but when I am up in the mountains I may give an invocation to Thor.  If  I am near the ocean I may work with the Lady of the Seas, or Poseidon, or what the hell, even Davy Jones.  There is only one deity force but he or she has ten thousand names and more. Just pick the ones you can relate to the best. I like the Goddess because she is pretty, and very, very magical. As Freya, she kicks butt!

How have your travels and the spirituality you found there influenced you?
The reason I did the Odinist book is because I spent several summers in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and the British high country. The military sent me to the orient and I learned a bit of their view of things, and followed up on it with study. In Japan the oldest legend is that they were founded by the seven little Gods who sailed up from the south.  I still have a sculpture of this with the seven gods on their ship. Each has one  has one of the major aspects of civilization.  In Sumerian legend, Inanna wanted to get civilization started but her father had the seventy-two “Me”, magical scrolls, I think.  She sailed her boat up the river to the God, smoozed him and got him drunk, and then sweet talked him. She got all the Me loaded on her boat and sailed away before he knew what had happened. He was angry, but she had gotten the basis for civilization. I like Inanna, she was a sex goddess, a war-goddess, loved to go into taverns. She went down into hell, got killed and then came back again.

Where does your path lead you today?
I am going to continue writing because I want to get my ideas out. It helps people in their own paths and begins to change society in what little I can contribute to it. The royalties are trivial, but still good. Will I continue to work in a group? Yes, but I also continue to do researching  and reading and trying out new things. I have not lost any students as of yet, though I push the edge sometimes. I will have my elders coven come over and say, “Lets step on out, I want to have you do face and shape changing.”  I have a special technique that I have researched and written for this, and worked on for years with my ex-wife, Janine Renée . Through this you can change your appearance. You can actually feel the flesh and the bones moving and changing their appearance.  This is a trick, but the deepest part is what happens in the mind. Or lighting a magical flame. You have a candle and everyone concentrates on breathing the element of fire in and putting it there on the candle. It will light and the blue glow spreads all over, and onto your hands. This is great for healing, but that is yet another matter.

There are many things that I do not understand, but I am fascinated by them all. It’s a big, complex and intriguing universe of magic!

 

Nels Linde

Deborah Lipp at Paganicon – Interview

Paganicon 4 begins this Friday

Deborah Lipp

Deborah Lipp

March 14th  7pm – 16th 4pm

at the Doubletree Park Place

St. Louis Park , MN

Deborah Lipp and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart are Guests of Honor

I got the chance to interview Deborah Lipp about her appearance beginning Friday at Paganicon

You will be sharing the opening remarks for Paganicon with Oberon?
Yes, we have known each other for many years. We discussed the talk and were on the same page so we decided to work together on the keynote address. The talk will be about our Pagan history, its importance, and how to preserve it, and to know who we are, and then lead into some ideas about the future.  I published a memoir about a year ago, and now Oberon has one that has just come out. I was particularly affected by the death of my ex-husband (Isaac Bonewits), and felt very strongly the importance of history, of knowing who we are and who we came from.

You also have a long time history of participating in the Pagan festival movement?
I have been a festival participant quite literally from the beginning. I went to my first festival, well, right before I was initiated at age 21. Before my son was born, I went to 3-4 Pagan festivals a year. After his birth it was more difficult and I have slowed down, but I have been going to festivals for more than 30 years. Festivals were something that my high priestess, as a young witch, was very adamant about. Going to festivals was a way of meeting people, of exchanging ideas, of learning cool new chants to use in ritual. It was important. This is a part of Pagan history, too. As a young Pagan entering the community and you may not value festivals because they are corny, people dress funny, and you have to sleep in a tent. They don’t understand that the existence of the festival movement, which began in the eighties and didn’t really take off for another five years, transformed the face of the Pagan community. It is one of the most significant contributions to the Pagan community of the last thirty years. Before there was an internet, there was a Pagan festival movement.

Has the role of festivals changed over the years?
Electronic socializing has become really important. The fact that there are now so many ways to communicate as Pagans has diminished some of the importance of the festival movement. Now ten years after the rise of festivals we have what I would call the solitary movement. Prior to the publication of “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner”, people were not solitary by choice. People were solitary because they could not find other people to work with, period. A solitary was a person who had not yet found a group. The idea that you can be solitary because you want to be was facilitated by the festival movement because you can be solitary and at festival still share ritual with others. There you have a community that you can connect with. People make fun of it, you know, Beltain and Samhain Pagans, party Pagans, and such. The fact is coven work is not for everyone. The festival movement provided a source of different models for how to be Pagan. Maybe you have a 11 months  private solitary practice and then one month at festival and spend time connecting with your community. For those of us who came up through a coven system, festivals were our first insight into other ways to express Paganism, and how to relate to our community.

What about the beginnings of indoor Pagan conferences?
They have been around our community just as long as any festival. The first indoor festival was Gnosticon. The convention style event has always been a part of the mix. Every festival type event will have its own particular flavor. Some are intellectual, or ritual “heavy hitters”. Other may have a music or arts focus, or be more “party” oriented. Some festivals are more geek oriented and have a relationship to that culture in their personality. I have been to festivals all over the world, from Australia to Canada to Brazil. The people pretty much all look alike, they all look like Pagans. You feel at home and a sense of community, but the style and personality will vary.

What will the “Way of Four” workshop at Paganicon cover?
This will be drawn from my book, The Way of Four, about the four elements.  The workshop will cover, “What are the four elements. What parts of life do they apply to? How do they affect you? How do you work with them? How do you use an understanding of the four elements to enhance your quality of life?” The attendees will help guide the direction that we go in during the workshop. It is sometimes very interpersonal and questions about elemental issues and ideas may direct the focus of the workshop. First and foremost it is about a basic understanding of the four elements. The four elements are the building blocks of all occultism. I am passionate about that. You cannot read the Tarot, do high magic, or use astrology without understanding the four elements. They affect not just Wicca or magic, but nearly everything in the occult. We will come away with a deep set of correspondences with the four elements and then learn to apply them to different situations. This is one of my favorite workshops.

You wrote two books on the Way of Four, though.
When I wrote The Way of Four, I was trying to be very complete. Write down everything about the four elements, four elements in meditation, in nature, in your love life, in your home, in work. This how I write. As I was doing this I eventually got to “spells” of the four elements. As I worked I several times said, “You know I could write a whole book about this.” Out of this came the book “The Way of Four Spellbook” which is specifically about spells and magic. It is really a “how to” instructional book rather than a recipe book, each spell serves as an example of the lesson just discussed in the book. A sex magic spell would fall under the element of fire type of spell. We can just mention that in the interview because then everyone will perk up and listen and want to attend the workshop!

The “Heroes Journey” workshop centers around the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Are you a fan?
Yes I actually performed in it at the Eighth Street Playhouse in New York City, back in the day. It was a floor show or, as it now called, a “shadow cast”. You perform the movie live while the movie is going on. I am very interested in pop culture as a modern mythology and a modern form of religious expression. Rocky Horror, with its passionate cult following, is the perfect event to have this discussion around.

What do bring to Paganicon that will attract us?
First, I talk a good game, I hope you have noticed this! I am very entertaining, part Wicca, part stand up comedy. People do appreciate that because most writers are introverts. I am very extroverted, very talkative, and that is fun to experience. You get the kind of knowledge you expect from someone who has written six books but I’m also someone who is used to being interactive and thinking on my feet. Many writers can’t take Q & A and have to work from a prepared text. I am not like that. I would never call myself an elder because I am still youthful, and very cute! I have been in the community for thirty years and know what I am doing. I have been all over the world and have a deep knowledge and experience about what I know. I write about traditional Wicca and Paganism as understood by a traditional Wiccan.

Paganicon begins this Friday at 7pm and runs through Sunday at 4pm.  Located just five minutes West of Downtown Minneapolis.

Featured Friday evening is the Keynote address and the opening of  “The Third Offering: A Sacred Gallery Space Arts”, and on Saturday at 8pm the “Embracing the Elements Equinox Ball”.

Registration is available for the whole event, by the day, or just for the Saturday Ball at the door. Lodging at the hotel is still available and extra.

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.

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – Interview Part 3 The Future

Part two of this interview series with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone ,  guests at Heartland Spirit Festival , this continues from the second portion of our interview. This section of the interview focuses on life in Ireland and a look into where deity work is moving Neo-Paganism in the future.

 

Janet and Gavin

Janet and Gavin

Nels (N) : What happens when Pagan culture get truly in touch with their deities?

Janet (J) : This is the manifestation in Ireland, which is truly wonderful the resurgence of many of the old faith festivals. I am one of only five legal pagans in all of Ireland allowed to legally marry people. A legal solemnizer. I am on the health board as a hospital visitor. Ireland is a tiny island, but this is a major break through. Around 1982 Stewart  and I won the first witchcraft case in Ireland and changed the law which had made witchcraft illegal. It went to the high court in Dublin, and was given compensation because when “Eight Sabbats’ (A Witches Bible) came out a journalist called it devil worshiping, porn blasphemy. We won the entire case and were taken out be all the high court judges for a champagne reception.

Gavin (G): This really explains what has been going on in Ireland at the moment. One of the effects of working the way we have is that now the deities don’t care whether you are Pagan or not. They want to come through, they want to speak, and they want the connection to develop. This happened in Ireland because as the Catholic church began to lose control from the early 2000’s the people of Ireland still wanted that connection to their spirituality.  Initially they sought it through the Catholic church, but now  we now find ourselves involved in ceremonies with the general public, particularly one at Samhain every year in County Meath at the Hill of Ward, also known as Tlachta.

J:  Tlachta is the only witch goddess in the whole of Ireland that the church fathers, the monks, tried to write out of the history. But they ultimately failed.

Hill of Tlachta

G: Brid is not technically a witchcraft goddess, although some people say she is. Tlachta is the only goddess where the word witchcraft is actually associated with her. Every year there is a procession up the hill and the witches group, along with the Druids, are the ones that lead it.  When we get to the top we tell the old story  of her, and the traditional Samhain fire is lit. The majority of the people behind are not Pagan. They are good Catholics who are probably off to church on Sunday.

J: Half way up the hill is the well of Tlachta. We have a woman cloaked doing trance work and beside her we have a Knight in full armor, so if anyone hassles her, he is there.  All the witches and Druids pass with their flaming torches and behind them come all the villagers singing, “Tlachta Lady, goddess fair, light your night on moonlit air…..” . They sing a chant to this goddess as we light our fires. These Catholics are singing to a Pagan goddess. When they have all passed the parents bring their children to the lady of the well, Tlachta herself, to prophesize for them. To put her hands on them, and bless them.

Video from Tlachta Samhain Ritual

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