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

Eye of Horus Metaphysical Store Faced with Relocating

Thraicie and Jane

Thraicie and Jane

You would never guess from the business-as-usual appearance at the Eye of Horus Metaphysical Store that the owners are faced with the sudden challenge of relocating it by the end of this month and finding the funds to do so. As I enter “the Eye”, I am still greeted by the customers browsing, buying and getting their questions answered by upbeat staff. Stones of all types glisten beside cards stating their magical properties. A client seeking spiritual guidance exits into a room with one of the divinational readers. In the background a CD plays musical selections from an upcoming Wendy Rule concert being held there this Sunday. Thraicie Hawkner, her long silver hair flowing down her shoulders, and Jane Hawkner, with a short, cute pixie cut, approach me from across the busy room with undaunted looks on their faces.

Their confident appearance shouldn’t have surprised me. They have been running The Eye of Horus since October 31st 2003 in a previous location just a few blocks from their current space and even earlier as an internet business with booths at community gatherings. Meeting the challenges of entrepreneurship over the years has made them seasoned businesswomen with a fair amount of mettle. But, even so, finding out the first of July that they would need to find a new space and move the store into it by the end of July, would have been enough to make even experienced business owners sweat.

“During this crunch time it has been particularly motivating to remember how many times people have come in and said things like, “I did not know there was a place like this, I feel like I have come home” or “Your store is the reason I was able to reconnect to my faith”, said Jane. It keeps us tuned into the reason we are here and to what the Eye of Horus means to so many people. Knowing that we have been of meaningful service to the community has been fuel for problem solving through this challenge.”

“We have found a perfect size space for us that we can move into,” Thraicie said. She explained that the challenge has been raising the funds for the move. “We just found out July 1st that we would need to move, so we had no money to secure the new location, or any money to cover the closing of the store during move time, a rental truck or other moving expenses. So we developed the current fundraiser.”

Eye of Horus has a GoFundMe website  that enables people to either purchase “perks” or make a straight donation. The perks are in the form of discounted services such as divinatory readings, therapeutic massage, discounted gift certificates, or a book shelf in their name.  In this way, people can choose to donate or purchase “perks” at attractively discounted prices.

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Peek at BareBones 20th Anniversary Extravaganza

image provided courtesy of BareBones theater collective

image provided courtesy of BareBones theater collective

Both Maren Ward, Halloween Artistic Co-Director, and Mark Safford, Section Designer and a performing puppeteer in this year’s show, refer to the annual BareBones  theater production as a ritual. This tradition, always staged during Halloween season, explores where life juts into death. For its 20th anniversary, that ritual explores grief.

Barebones theater, a collective of acrobats, puppeteers, actors, 2-dimensional artists and interested volunteers are an exotic staple of Twin Cities Halloween celebrations. This year’s play, Carry On: a Requiem for 20 Years, hosts visiting artists from years past and even includes the reprise of the character Jack Pumpkinhead, taking the ne’r-do-well on another misadventure as played by Julian McFaul. Participant-creators describe this year as invoking a little bit of Dia de Los Muertos and a little bit of Kali Ma.

Among other returning artists is Roger Peet, a printmaker and visual artist. He did this year’s poster design and is creating the two dimensional images used in the spectacle.

Every year the story is developed at a community brainstorming session. This year, several primary designers suffered significant personal losses and those sorrows gave direction to the show.

The implicit story explores grief as process and time as predator. Says Ward, “[The actors] are going to have grief-cases with little stories of their own personal grieving – a story about a person that they lost, about not having children, about global warming, grieving the glaciers -looking at different ways of being impacted by grief at a personal level.” Time itself will appear as a giant cuckoo clock that processes mourning with a carnivorous energy, acting as a giant grief monster. Other surreal moments in the evening’s journey will include a dance of marigolds, tea with spiders and ultimately coming face to face with a giant grief monster.

The community art collective is well known for its tradition of aerialism, puppetry and pageantry – this year acted to the sound of a 20 piece orchestra, with minimal dialogue.  Each production has grown the pageant in increasingly complex ways. The very first production began with a scuba diver emerging from the Mississippi River and a bicycle-operated 60 foot skull. In other years, shows were staged near the Ross Island power station; later on BareBones moved to private land. A particularly ambitious year featured the production in three locations: Marina on the Saint Croix, Audubon Park in northeast Minneapolis and the Ross Island Power station. Says Safford, “Traditionally this was the local bard’s show. We could do whatever we wanted.”

What initially drew a few dozen audience members expanded over the years to over 1000, enough for the city of Saint Paul and Hidden Falls Park to increase its park use fee from around $50 to $7500 to cover the use of porta-potties, insurance, security and technical gear. In addition BareBones had to pay its artists and fund the pieces used in each production. The years the collective has received help in the past from Bedlam Theater and Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. This year, in addition to these fees, the company is attempting to raise funds to pay for the show and its attached party, as well as to cover the travel costs of some of the collective’s returning artists.

Safford makes sure to mention something even frequent visitors may be unaware of another BareBones tradition: free food after the show. “A really important part of this show is that we eat together. Waffle, the person that travels from Florida to cook for the show is a really important part of the process. There are moments that are heartbreakingly beautiful. I remember last night seeing people from a long time ago and more recently a guy came from New York riding the rail; he was on walkabout and ended up helping Waffle cook. The food is terrific and sustaining and Sisters Camelot  helps facilitate that.”

Safford describes the company’s work as “High magic, low tech.” He also adds, “It really comes out of nothing but the hearts and minds of the people participating in it.”


All performances are at Hidden Falls Regional Park. When planning your attendance this year: dress warm, bring a blanket, try to carpool and they do supply bike racks. Visitors need to bring flashlights; no alcohol is allowed. All shows are followed by a performance from the Brass Messengers.  The food and drink after the show is supplied by Sisters Camelot. The afterparty runs until 10 pm.

If you wish to contribute to BareBones Theater extravaganza, visit their IndieGoGo page.  All funds raised provide free food to theater crew and audience, cover travel costs of visiting actors and pay for the show the following year.

Show Dates:

All shows start at 7 pm.

Saturday, October 26thwith ASL interpreter

Sunday, October 27th

Thursday, October 31st

Friday, November 1st

Saturday, November 2nd

Suggested donation of $5 – $20 upon entry

Bike racks available. Carpooling strongly encouraged.

Weather cancellation hotline: 415-640-2116 after 3 pm on performance dates

Help a Bunny Out: Displaced Plymouth Rabbit Needs Home

A local domestic rabbit needs a new home. Can you help?

Nora the rabbit

Nora, a Plymouth area rabbit, needs a new home.
– photo used with permission of Sheryl Burns

Roads have opened and power is restored after the storms that led to an up to a 96 hour blackout in the east and west Twin Cities Metro. As flood warnings appear daily, those with severe damage to their homes scramble to house their families and pets.

Some pets are more difficult to place than others. Such is this case with Nora, a 20 pound Flemish Giant rabbit.

Sheryl Burns, Plymouth resident and member of Standing Stones coven, is looking for someone to adopt  Nora.  A large tree fell on the Burns residence,  forcing the family to relocate for an estimated 4-6 months.

Tree on home

The Burns family home sustained significant damage from a fallen tree.
— photo used with permission of Sheryl Burns

Woman with pet rabbit

Burns with her pet rabbit Nora
– photo used with permission of Sheryl Burns

The family received assistance from family, neighbors and coven but still have significant decisions to make during the coming cleanup.  In the meantime, they need to find a safe place for their pets, including Nora.

Nora is going on two years old and is 75% litter box trained. She bathes well, but only cuddles on her own terms. She is quite fond of plastic and cords, along with more safely edible objects such as apples, carrots, lettuce and rabbit pellets.  She has always been an indoor pet; she has only visited a backyard under supervision.  Nora also has experience cohabitating with cats. She has also not been spayed. Burns can supply her kennel and all remaining food.

If you wish to give this rabbit sanctuary, please contact Burns at

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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