Paganistan Reclaiming Tradition Fall Events

photo: Donald L. Engstrom-Reese

Reclaiming Tradition has a series of fall events in the Twin Cities. A series of six monthly introductory classes begins Saturday. Paganistan Reclaiming will for the first time host a tradition “Dandelion Gathering”, and sponsors a public Equinox ritual which takes place during the gathering.

 

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

A Dandelion Gathering is a tradition-wide Reclaiming reunion. At the last Dandelion Gathering of 2012 in Portland, OR, those meeting decided to encourage bio-regional Dandelion gatherings to be held in communities across the globe.

Our intention for the gathering: We joyfully gather, with the heart of the Fool, near the Sacred Mississippi to celebrate, sing, dance and heal in community. ”

I talked to Paul Eaves as he tended his annual Pagan Pride labyrinth about Dandelion last week. “This event is co-created by our community and rather than have a highly scheduled event we have planned a series of events people can select from. A full schedule of events and locations are available online.”

The Saturday events at Hidden Falls Park include workshops on building a Labyrinth, and connecting with fossil allies.  Participate in an Open Listening/Discussion Session about Winter Witchcamp with some of the event Weavers.  At 2pm, before the equinox ritual, an introduction to Reclaiming discussion is scheduled with a brief background about Reclaiming Tradition and question and answer session.

 

photo: Reclaiming Quarterly

We are celebrating the turning of the wheel with an Autumnal Equinox Ritual at the park pavilion of Hidden Falls Regional Park on September 20. We will start gathering at 3:00 p.m. and begin ritual promptly at 3:20 p.m.
Our intention: “We name our flames to honor this hearth.”
We ask that you consider coming to this ritual with:
1.  A seasonal oath to name aloud while in the hearth of community
2.  A non-perishable food item or items to donate to The Exchange’s Queer Community Food Shelf
Money donations are also welcome to cover ritual expenses, but please note that no one will be turned away for lack of funds or food items.
Please bring a chair if you need one and weather-appropriate clothing as we will be outdoors.
ALL ARE WELCOME including children and folks from other traditions. This is a sober event. We also invite you to refrain from the use of perfumes, lotions, and other scented product to ensure increased accessibility.
We look forward to seeing you!
When
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Time
3:00 p.m.
Where
The park pavilion at Hidden Falls Regional Park, 1313 Hidden Falls Drive, St. Paul, MN 55116

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

Crystal Blanton and Yeshe Rabbit at Sacred Harvest Festival – Interview

Crystal Blanton at Sacred Harvest Festival 2012

Two other guests from past Sacred Harvest Festivals are returning, Crystal Blanton and Yeshe Rabbit. This year a whole range of rituals are offered from guests, Harmony Tribe members, and community members.  Crystal and Rabbit are together offering a Ritual of Ancestral Healing on Thursday, Aug 7th.   Yeshe Rabbit is offering a featured ritual Friday evening Aug 8th,  “Dancing with our Demons”, before the annual Rangoli ritual.  I talked to them together on a Google hangout.

Advance Registration for Sacred Harvest Festival ends tomorrow at midnight, Thursday July 31st. Patrons can register at the gate in Albert Lea, Mn for a day, weekend, or the full week Aug 4-10th.

Yeshe Rabbit

What is the ritual that you are offering together?
Rabbit: We are very excited about the ritual we are doing together,  the Ritual of Ancestral Healing. We recently heard a lecture two weeks ago together that was so wonderful.  It was with one of Crystal’s mentors,  Dr Joy Degruy,  who speaks about the racial and ethnic underpinnings that have formed American culture.  There are these invisible threads of racism twined within everything. You don’t see them until you pull back the cloth and reveal the threads that are holding it all together.  I am so fired up for this ritual after going with Crystal to this eye opening lecture.

Crystal:  Doing something like this together is a step at looking at some of the many layers that keep us stuck. It is opening up conversation and connection,  extending the olive branch;  not necessarily through each other but through our ancestors. It is connecting in a way we don’t normally get to in our normal walk of life.  We will be acknowledging the many layers of societal hurt,  community hurt, and how we impact one another. I am excited about it as a way to open another level of work, and acknowledging it in a way meant to be healing. Not just ripping the scab off,  but acknowledging the fact the scabs and scars exist.  Loving those scars and loving our past through one another as a result of that.  I am really excited about it for those reasons.

You are offering this in the mainly white Midwest.  Does that make it different?
Crystal: I think it makes a huge difference because it is not often we get to offer this in other areas that may not have the diversity of places like the Bay Area,  and get a chance to  explore these things, in this way.  This is something very unique that both of us can bring to the table, and that otherwise people may not have the opportunity to participate in.

Rabbit: When I have done this sort of work before, one of the things I have found is that white people feel that they can only talk to people of color about this issue. Sometimes we really need to be talking to each other about it. While our sisters and brothers of color in the Pagan community are often amazing resources of information and experience that we can learn from, it is not always appropriate for us to ask them to teach us everything.  By gathering groups of people together who are white to talk together with people they know and trust, in a creative environment of trust, we are hoping that people who are white will engage with us, and each other to take responsibility together for learning about race and ethnicity.  I know some of the people who live right there in Minnesota also have persecution in their ancestral past, that may be different than the type of persecution that Crystal’s ancestors may have faced.  Certainly different that my ancestors faced in Eastern Europe. It is still relevant because what we are coming to the table with is to take responsibility for what we can do, what we can learn from each others experiences.

Crystal: I am excited about it. There is more diversity there than one might assume at first glance.  At the same time, even knowing that, the experience of people of color is different for people of color walking into a place that is perceived as a lily white area.  What that brings up , understanding that, and having that kind of dialog  in an open and loving way is so important. We plan to back up that kind of dialog with something that is magical and supportive. This is something we don’t often give ourselves permission to do,  to come to the table as we are, and work together for collective healing.  We don’t have to, it is not a blame game, it is not making people feel they have to take accountability for something that they don’t relate to.  It is dissecting a little of it together and than backing that up with magic. Part of why this is so special is it would be totally different if we were doing this in another location.

Rangoli Ritual Ground Design

What is your Friday night SHF ritual, Dancing with our Demons about?
Rabbit: In Tibetan Buddhism you have various classes of beings that you encounter. In the Dharma view you have choices. You have rituals that will banish those demons, and rituals that will feed those demons.  In this case I am really referring to a shadow part of our personality or psyche that comes forward, or a vexatious situation, this is a demon. It is a bad thing,  some thing we deem a “bad” collection of energies. When we encounter those we are soul tied to decide, are we going to banish this, try to fix this, or try to feed this. When we are in this mode of trying to either banish, fix, or feed one of the things what often happens is we are not being present for the lessons that thet demon is teaching us in the moment.  Dancing with our Demons is a ritual to bring forward and embody some of the hardest lessons that we have had to learn from this year,  and dance them into healing, and dance them into awareness. Not necessarily seek to banish, fix, or feed any of it, but just to be moving with it. This movement based meditation will help us become aware of them and so learn from our demons.

Another workshop you offer is about the Dharma Pagan?
Rabbit: In this session we will start with a chanting session so everyone can come and benefit from the experience of a chanting practice. We will talk about the notion of the Dharma, and how I relate that to what in my Pagan practice I call magic.  It is the universal force that flows through all things.  We will talk about where my practice overlaps between my Paganism and my Tibetan Buddhism. This so perfect because after we leave you all we move on to what is like our pilgrimage. The first leg of the pilgrimage is the Pagan one to Sacred Harvest Festival. Then the second and third legs are first in Colorado at the Buddhist monastery, and then in Tibet itself. These are the Dharma voyage of the pilgrimage.  This workshop will be a great time to talk about that in terms of the structure of my beliefs.

Crystal, your Tuesday workshop, “Embodying Cultural Archetypes”, is this preparation for the ritual with Rabbit or a separate topic?
Crystal:  In some ways it is a separate topic, but there is some intersection there. Initially it is something I am working on,  work that I am doing independently as a writer and spiritual person. The Ancestral Healing ritual idea came about and they complimented each other.  Though I  didn’t plan them together, they will probably work in that way.  I am delving into the marriage between culture and our spiritual practice.  How we show up in our spirituality. It is important to acknowledge and honor all the many different layers of privilege and gratitude in our practice. Sometimes there is a negative viewpoint when someone brings up the idea of privilege, at least that is the perspective.  In reality we all live with privilege and there is an intersectionality with privilege. It is  important to understand and talk about how that feeds into gratitude. How we can acknowledge the things that we have,  and do so alongside other things that are very challenging for us.  How we can make that part of a balanced perspective and practice for us so that we are moving forward with gratitude. For me they are very closely related to the theme of the whole festival. How can we be grateful if we can’t acknowledge e what is happening within our life.

Are Pagans class aware as a group, Is this about class?
Crystal: I do think we struggle in that area. In some ways we are class aware but in other ways my perception is that we struggle with the many different layers of what makes us a whole person and not just a Pagan.  It is in the evolution of any community. You start with one person and then it spreads out and spreads out.  We add to it and then have a different awareness and understanding.  At this point we are expanding our understanding around issues like class, racism, gender,  and how those things make up the Pagan community.  We ask does our understanding enhance or take away from our spiritual practice?  We are growing in that way. Not all Pagans are poor,  but not all Pagans have a lot of money either.  It is a struggle to wrap our minds around that. Even though we are Pagans we are also just people who are struggling in different areas. Bringing attention to that just makes us stronger.

You are offering a Community Gratitude Restorative Justice Circle on Friday, what does that look like?
Crystal:  Because it is focused on community building we will do some interactive things differently than at the other restorative justice circles I have done there before. It will be the same format but different. I don’t want to give too much away, but one of the activities we will be doing will leave the community with something tangible that has a piece of everyone there. You can choose what to do with it, whether to put it on your website, or return it to the festival. I really want to leave something tangible and walk away so when anyone sees it they will remember, remember how incredible it was to build community in that way.  I am excited about offering it, I did something similar at Pantheacon a few years ago.  There it was a really great experience and I m excited to see how it works for Harmony Tribe at the festival.

It is such an honor to be back there at the festival for a wonderful theme like gratitude, when I feel so much gratitude for everyone I have met in Minnesota.

 

Yeshe Rabbit and Crystal Blanton  will join Tony Mierzwicki for a week of workshops and rituals at Sacred Harvest Festival, August 4-10th near Albert Lea, Mn.  Advance registration closes this Thursday, July 31st, but is available for a week, weekend, or day pass at the festival gate.

 

Nels Linde

~ Nels is a council member of Harmony Tribe, sponsor of Sacred Harvest Festival

Sparky T. Rabbit Passes

Spark T. Rabbit at Sacred Harvest Festival 2004

Sparky T. Rabbit – Bruner Soderberg of Rock Island, Il.,  passed over Monday June 2nd, 2014.

Born February 3, 1954 he was a prominent Midwest heathen,  singer, song-writer, rite-maker, gadfly and friend of Freyr.   Sparky;  “I critique and satirize neopaganisms,monotheisms, and any other-isms that seem appropriate.”    Handfasted [married] to Ray Bayley since 1984 (Sparky: “That’s 93 anniversaries in straight years!”)
Sparky was a nationally known singer, bard, master ritualist, and pot stirrer.  His recording “Lunacy”, done as a duo, is still one of the most prized pagan recordings of all time.
Sparky was often quoted for his wisdom and satire;

http://witchesandpagans.com/EasyBlog/the-once-future-people.html

http://hedgeconfessions.com/2012/08/23/thinking-in-pagan/

Words from his friends and  colleagues:

Sparky T. Rabbit’s voice is intertwined with the roots of my development as a witch, and we still use the chants that he wrote and the chants that he popularized within our covens today. I played the cassettes for his two albums so often that I wore them out and had to buy replacements twice. I cherish the one time that I had the opportunity to sing with him. It is still a luminous fan boy moment for me. I grieve the loss of such a beautiful man and his beautiful talents, but I also grieve that so many in the current generation of Pagans have not heard of him. What is remembered lives. Take the time to look him up and find copies of his music which is finally available again in digital formats. Then you’ll feel the joy of discovering his music, and also share my sense of loss as well. May he go forth shining.

– Ivo Dominguez, Jr. Elder, Assembly of the Sacred Wheel

Sparky was my dear, dear friend for many years.  I am heartbroken at his passing.  A ritualist extraordinary, singer and songwriter, Sparky was a world-class cauldron stirrer, and a giant of Pagan culture….  My life has been enriched immeasurably by my long and deep friendship with Sparky.  His talent was sparkling.  He contributed much of great value to the Pagan movement and to the world.  In love may he return again.

– M. Macha NightMare (Aline O’Brien)
Witch at Large

May his gentle heart and spirit-filled voice live with us always.

Thanks to Steve (Posch), I got to meet and exchange enthusiasms with this wonderful man. I am shocked to hear of his passing, and I truly hope that his music and other works will live on with us.
– Paul B. Rucker
Sparky T Rabbit Bruner Soderburg

Sparky T Rabbit – Bruner Soderburg – Feb3, 1954 – June 2nd, 2014

“Coven brother, teacher, friend. Wicked Witch. Master rite-maker, singer, altar builder. Trouble maker. Sitting across from you at a kitchen table in Minneapolis, I found my life’s work.
You have left us so many gifts. We will carry them forward, Bruner. We will remember. “– Frebur C.  Moore

Nels Linde

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