Known popularly as Mistress Belladonna, and The Detroit Paganism Examiner, Kenya Coviak is a Pagan presenter, instructor, writer, and advocate. She currently is a proud member of the Pagan Business Network Team.
The world of the American Witch citizen is in a state of informed chaos in these times. So much is going on at once that one only need pick up local, or national, news sources for it. The ragged screams of disorder and imbalance blaze our ears and eyes. The divisions that pollute the psyche of the peoples threaten the flow and weave of our tribes and kinships.
The topics of political and social hot buttons make conversations a dance for only the bravest. We talk at each other, not with each other, in gatherings. Conversation has become Opportunistic Conversion as each faction seeks to overtalk and overwhelm the others.
When did the children of the Divine become pundits and judgemental avatars for the social elite and the ambulance chasing social justice cloaked con persons. The people are marred by the shadows of those who feed upon the hatred and dissonance. Entire careers are made and broken in the Pagan worlds based on vampiric exploitation of the suffering of others.
Witches are an independent bunch. This is not the place where I will address the nuances of Wiccans and Witches. I speak to all who take up that backpack. Thus, it is most shocking to see them cluster together to speed toward the same sort of divisive lemming like behavior that seeks to silence the dissidents among us.
When did craft become about profiteering and politics? When did spiritual service fester into a blot on the landscape, seen as a means to gaining cult of personality style control of others … the kind of control that leads to sickness and wickedness. When did the rites of the priest and priestess, the covener and the neophyte, get tainted with personal agendas?
I have no answers to the crises that face our citizens as a nation. I speak out, and urge all to do so as well. I expect, no, desire and wish, that people work their paths and live their lives in honor and truthfulness. But this, only this, is all. The need to control and thought patrol other witches, people, humanity in general, from the altar is a thing I will not do.
In this time, when religion and power are wielded from common hands that interweave so much, this is the time to hold the sacred to be untouchable. This is the time to take civil actions as we must, but the Mysteries are sacrosanct and must remain so.
So, in good will, please leave the stones at the edge of the circles you enter. Use them not to build walls between you. Use them not to stone your foes. But use them to build cisterns of love from which the world may draw what it needs to build a better place for all of us.
When Pagan communities have unfortunate uproars, or controversies, it often leads to fissures in the communal networks. In the settling dust of the aftermath is where the remains of once seemingly seamless connections burn slowly under their own power. The hurt and anger expressed by the parties involved spill out and touch all the events, celebrations, and organizations in some way when factions draw lines over who is right, who is wrong, and who is interested in healing through discussion vs. excommunication and banishment. It is at this time that the responsibility of leadership to not only bring peace, but also truthful constructive examination and amelioration.
In these times, we have access to the power to inform one another in the blink of a cursor. Information travels as quick as the thought can leave our brains and animate our fingers upon the electronic devices that serve as our virtual avatars. Words that we would not serve in person are dished out upon the byte filled landscapes of social media. When used for confronting the pains brought by crisis, they are the stallions of our causes. They deliver the emotions and thoughts that join the fray in order to bring about justice and fairness. When used carelessly, they become hellhounds that are unleashed to destroy our opponents without the nasty inconvenience of having to look them in the eye and share the same air in the same room.
It is the wounds that words and actions inflict that must be healed. To do this, those same words must be examined and digested. The community must eat from the plate that it serves. If our words are truthful, that means the meal will be pure. And if our words are cruel, that will season the meal. If we refuse the meal by avoidance or dissembling, then we starve our souls. And if we only eat from one side of the table, we are in a state of imbalance. All sides must be present at the table if the people involved are to heal and grow stronger.
Leadership is not pushing the truth under the tablecloth. Leadership is not forcing a narrative. Leadership is not playing holier than thou, or claiming the cloak of respectability by staying silent behind group statements. Leadership does not tip over the lid of the boiling pot of problems, and then walk away to pretend nothing has happened. Leadership does not call attention to a transgression and then refuse to take the next steps.
What are the next steps? What do those look like?
The next part to any situation where hurt and pain and anger have burned through the bonds that connect us as peoples in the Pagan circles is examination. After the flash of conflict has faded, it is the time to really look at what happened and weigh how it was handled. Was it done with determination and fairness? Was it righteous? Was the will of what is right served? Are there ways that could have led to the desired outcome that may have been more productive? Did the desired outcome happen? Why, or why not? How does we heal after this?
If the crisis is legal, have the authorities been contacted? Did we follow through with making sure the reports were filed and accurate?
If it was ethical, were all parties contacted? Was there a town hall meeting type of conversation? Was there an opportunity to make amends given? Was there a desire to do so?
Now comes the part where foot to ground comes into play. What actions are leaders taking in order to decompress the atmosphere? Did they set up a forum, or simply walk away back to their regularly scheduled programs? Are there educational events or rituals scheduled in order to make peace or bury animosity? Is there any effort to heal the fractures that this may have caused? Where do we begin?
Each body of people is its own. Each will find its own way of handling what may be a pivotal moment for them as individuals and part of a greater circle of connections. However, it is the responsibility of leaders to take part in finding what that looks like…with purpose and action.
Ryan LoRee, Candidate for Michigan House of Representatives, 50th District, is kicking into action with the Hurricane Harvey Flint (Genesee County rescue team) in putting some made in Michigan compassion to work. He, along with a volunteers of determined folks with boats, supplies, and other items, are heading out this evening to put the rotors to the road. Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston and surrounding areas. These Michiganderns have answered the call.
The situation continues to deteriorate. The flood waters show no sign of relenting, and rain continues to drown the urban centers and rural areas with devastation. Water rescues by law enforcement, the Cajun Navy, and the National Guard forces are happening, but the task is monumental.
The volunteers on this mission from the Midwest are moving out tonight. With goals and guts, they are traveling to Texas with bootstraps firmly pulled up and ready to roll. But, one thing.
They need your help.
We are assembling a recovery team to head down to Texas. We are looking for rescue equipment, medical supplies, Pet food, canned foods, water bottles, GAS CARDS ect… Please let me know if you can be of any assistance? The team we have assembled is very trained and proficient in rescue operations. Thank you for your support and please let me know if you can help!!!!
Local Witch, and Leader, HPS Morgana Moonwater gave PBN News the heads up that this was going down. To her, big thanks. Keep up the good fight for the true and right.
On the list of items needed, they include
Solar emergency blankets
In addition to those listed above, there is a major need for blankets, pet food, and sanitary supplies. Gas cards to get there make it possible. Food cards to major stores are also something you might wish to donate.
We have aquired a 24ft Airstream to take on the trip. We are expecting to leave by at the latest 7pm. If anyone has artistic talents and would like to make signs from home we can collect and stick them in the widows with your messages!!! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Please share this to at least 5 friends. This will be one of the main sources we pull from for resources.
This morning, as I was contemplating how to best core and store my apples for the freezer, I scrolled through my social media and was appalled. My cousin-in-law posted that she and her sisters were assaulted at McDonald’s last evening in the parking lot by racist neighbors. As is perfunctory with this ilk, they made sure to call them the pernicious word “N*****r”. One of the young women was only 17, an early age to begin to taste the sourness of life.
My family, on both sides, contain numerous living proofs of the power of love existing across color and creeds. The shades are as varied in any meadow garden planted by Gaia. So when I hear some reprehensible nugget of soiled humanity has taken to inciting his fellows into attacking anyone, especially family, I get heated.
I seem to stay heated, lately. It must be something in the weather that is agitating me, such as the putrid smell of hatred mixed with tiki torch oil. The kind carried by small people with large egos and strident voices. That smell is the kef that rises like steam from the killing fields during strangulation of spiritual truth. The hounds of chaos are calling.
But underneath, the call of Spirit calls louder.
If you deflesh humans, there is a distinct layer of red reality underneath. That red is blood. Blood is life. That blood is connected to the life forces that run through every living thing. It does not change when it is placed in a vessel with brown skin. It does not change when it courses through veins in alabaster skin. It does not alchemize to something else when it resides in yellow, tan, red, or ebony skin. Because it is deep within the living host.
Humanity is a living host of spirit and life. We must look deeper to get beyond the wrappers in which we live. Culture and classism, race, religion, or any other division is only an accident of placement … genetic or regional. As a society, this charnal pit of conflict is the last gasp of an unevolved era of backward reactionary fear based wickedness.
All the altars in the world cannot light the flames of righteousness in one person’s heart if they are not lit in compassion and with the hand of those who will not be cowed. For every screaming chant of the wicked, an equal chord of good and power must counter and overpower it. We are the hidden children in plain sight, you and I. Those who keep the vigils, the chants, the sacred secret ways and places that do not change with the cults of men. It is time to be hidden no longer.
The Divine is calling its firebrands. The human soul burns brighter than any torch of human making. Let us heed the call to witness the truth.
Detroit is a unique place, and Detroit Pagan Pride Day is using the creative spirituality here to hold a drum vigil called “Love Conquers Hate”. This Saturday, on August 19th at Green Acres Park in Hazel Park, MI they call on the community to join with them to bring in love and energy to strike a mighty beat. The rhythm of love and honor.
They hold this event
…in remembrance of all those who have lost their lives due to crimes of hate. The focus will be to uplift and empower. We will be raising energy to bring greater love, respect and inclusion to our communities, the nation and the world. The DPPD festival runs from 11 am-8 pm. Drum circle vigil starts at 6. All are welcome! Please spread the word, bring your families, chairs, rattles, drums and energy for change and join us.
These are perilous times. In times such as these, a murderer can plow into a body of humans and snuff out the life force of an innocent woman in Charlottesville. The call for action by the warriors of the light is strong. Prayer and energy are real and they make change. Accompanied with actions, they save worlds.
Pagans are always the hidden in plain sight. They are the gatekeepers and the watchpersons. They are the healers and the protectors. On Saturday, they will send their intentions, in time with the drums, to again signal that they are stepping into place. Won’t you join them?
The magick is changing in Detroit. Some of it is good, and some of it is not very good at all. The music of the times is changing and the melodies of protest new generations of practitioners making it are emerging in an era that sees the division of the different spiritual groups self segregating again. Their music may change some of that. The anniversary of the riots has only served to add body to the growing school of thought that the tone of the spiritual landscape is cycling back to a possibly dark place.
The tensions and divisions continue into every aspect of life, and the magickal landscape of practitioners is not different in many ways. The 8 Mile boundary, made famous by Eminem’s movie, is still a very real phenomenon. The reality of “White Flight” affected the families of many.
Pagans active here today are mostly in outlying areas. The fellowships of the “Pagan” communities in Metro Detroit are often dotted around the city like random sprinkles on a donut. The poverty left in the wake of the rebellion, the loss of businesses and the homes of spiritual workers, a school system struggling (today, due to the constant redirection of funds by the powers that lobby for development instead of education), the vile myth of the unemployable nature of the population of minorities who are stake-holders in the community, all mixed together to create the playing field of a city that saw a rebellion five decades ago.
Those circumstances are repeating themselves today.
But so are the good things. The sound of music and melody made paths out of obscurity and manifested the dreams of hardworking groups from Motown and other independent companies. Artisans, barbers, beauticians, tailors, seamstresses, and other industries that supported our musicians rode this wave. The big factory workers let their hair down and lit their candles to the songs that told of life how it could be, despite constant harassment. Candle shops and readers in Eastern Market, off Grand Blvd, and on the West Side of McNichol’s served all races and creeds and the music tied them all together in the auric energy of the bardic craft.
But even the music of a generation could not stop reality from being right outside that door. Segregated places still existed. The legacy of Dr. Sweet, even now, is still in the minds of Detroit’s children. The families that were engaged in that battle never left the city, and their children’s children lived to see the rebellion as a city was on fire while the music played.
Many stayed, but many more left.
A great migration from the city took with it the young. It took away the chances for them to learn the names of the stores and the streets where spells were spoken and offerings left. Many never bought their first dream/number policy book, but had seen them in their parent’s dresser drawer. Some even may have seen some Anna Riva books, but not understood why those books were not on the shelves at the corporate bookstores …. and why that was the case. An entire cultural oral history stolen from a new generation due to systematic racism, class warfare, and the resulting explosive reaction left a disconnect from the historicity of the magick in the Motor City.
Every section of the city has some aspect of magickal community. No area is untouched and unaffected by the ripping apart of neighborhoods, societies, and businesses that lie embedded in the dust beneath the Trees of Paradise that mark their resting places on the landscape. Known as the City of Churches, Detroit also is known as a City of the Unseen, both in powers and peoples. The first spellcraft so many of us learned was how to sing a song to spark a spell. Those songs are part of who we are and they were passed along in oral tradition.
Right now, the biggest ambassador of popular media regarding the culture of mixed magicks here that is of the common person and not a BNP (Big Name Pagan) is our music. Again. Because music can reach beyond the visions of flesh that divide us by skin color. So we have again found the magick in the music. From 7 Mile Road, we have anthems for our street practitioners of a new generation from the mic of BIG HOODOO, an artist signed with iconic ICP’s Psychopathic Records.
WARNING EXPLICIT LYRICS
The spiritual spectrums are myriad. We have a new generation of artist magickians who are looking for ways to express themselves that can reach beyond the street names and the color lines. Day Oshee Maatin is one younger magickian who has ventured past the enclaves. She visited ConVocation, performed at the Ancient Faiths Alliance Harvest Festival, and will grace the stage at the Detroit Conjure and Folk Magic Festival. She saw a long time ago that these divisions are beneficial to no one.
WARNING EXPLICIT LYRICS
In the music, there is hope that a new generation will come forward to heal the divides in the groups. In the New Detroit, there is just enough of the GENUINE OLD DETROIT that can be resurrected for its magickal communities to once again transcend the burdens and biases that divide us. But to the new generation of gentrifiers, I have one thing to caution you about as you strive to change the city into your new BOHO.
Detroit is not Brooklyn. Detroit is not New York. Detroit is not Harlem.
Detroit is Detroit.
If you don’t learn that soon, you may need to deal with a certain Red Dwarf that will teach you the hard way. Your Blues are not like ours, and we have a lot more songs to sing that are not. Do not seek to bring back those bad times of division in magick and society here, the land has a memory. The spirits here have memories. And sometimes, they smell like saltpeter and sulfur.
Hold onto your cash registers, vendors, a new player is in town and is set to change the way you do you Pagan business. Pagan Markets is not only joining the selling platform game. With an expansive network of sellers and buyers, the previous blocks and purges that vendors have faced on sites such as Ebay and Etsy can be a thing of the past.
Sadie Odinsdottir, woman of a multitude of talents, was able to share her insight.
We are super excited about this new marketplace and we are getting a lot of support. I think the Pagan and Metaphysical community has been needing this for a long time.
The platform is welcomes services and products that are currently targeted for deletion by major corporations. Magic centered items, ritual tools, and other services find a home here. This is an innovative solution to an ever growing problem of sellers being forced to lose their inventory accessibility for their customers.
In response to inquiries regarding the complaints of this nature, Etsy issued this statement:
“Etsy strongly believes in freedom of thought, expression, and religion, and we will never institute a policy that discriminates against sellers for their religious beliefs or practices.”
This policy change comes along the crest of a wave of other assaults on the businesses of the magical and spiritual business sphere. While the selling platform is one front, the industry also took a hit when microtransaction processor Square began removing and rejecting the sales of occult merchandise.
Square’s user agreement states that by creating Square accounts, businesses won’t accept payments in connection with a host of prohibited activities or items, including illegal activity, drug paraphernalia, “hate products”, escort services, and “occult materials.” – Witches Are Being Kicked Off of Square For Selling ‘Occult Items’
Businesses need the ability to process monetary transactions to survive. That is a simple fact. In order to thrive, they need consistent, impartial, and fair services that facilitate this. The growing movement toward classifying magical and Pagan spiritual services created a demand.
The Pagan Markets platform provides those services. Sellers are able to embed their shops into the site, have shipping fees calculated by the site, and utilize other features tailored to their needs. This could be argued to be a natural progression from the Pagan Business Network’s visions. Veterans to the cause of enhancing the success of Pagan business, Charissa Iskiwitch ,and her staff of makers and shakers, have a plan. They have the knowledge, networks, and contacts that give a depth and dimension to their experience that is uniquely suited to the task.
What sets us apart is the fact that we have, Charissa, myself, and other, to help with the legalities of what can and cannot be sold in this kind of marketplace. As well as, the mentoring and assistance for new business owners. – Sadie Odinsdottir
Easy to use instructions help even the novice internet seller set up their accounts. The embedding feature also allows for greater exposure of brands. In addition to these advantages, the site also has a support group on Facebook that allows for valuable tips and advice that make this a wraparound service.
Money is good. Manifesting money is better. Finding folks who can help you do that is priceless
But do not take my word for all of this. See if for yourself. Visit Pagan Markets today, and tell them Kenya Coviak sent you. That is always good for a smile.
Diane Lonsway raises up the primal forces for Michigan Pagan Fest 2017 with her theme of “Root, Soil, and Stone” this year. The primal and elemental “materia magicka” of presenters and performers from far and wide that promise to engage, influence, and educate attendees. The woman who describes herself in words such as “laid back, humble, smart, can be funny, people-pleaser” brought home the goods with this year’s line-up.
Do you wish to see for yourself? Then take a gaze upon her schedule and be amazed.
(Full disclosure, I will be teaching this year at this event. Honestly, I get around.)
Plenty of opportunities for self-reflection abound, as this is also a campground based festival. This means that there is always time to play, read, relax, and enjoy the social activities that the Michigan Pagan Communities offer. Secure and safe, the family feeling and good vibes permeate the entire area.
Showers and indoor bathrooms make this a fun time, even for the novice at festival camping. Local hotels are giving a special rate for Pagan “festies”, and a staff of volunteers are there to answer questions. Diane is never far away, either, so you can also thank her for a great event in person.
Do not forget, that shopping and “ooh, shiney” is part of the experience. Vendors with wares that delight, dazzle, and inspire amusement populate the shopper’s area. The famous raffle bar rides again, as does the charity/food drive for Pagans In Need. Organizations that make a difference in the community are also slated to be in attendance. Who knows, you may find a calling to volunteer.
Food is available on site. However, you can definitely bring your own to heighten your experience….such as roasting marshmallows and having ring chants. I like Ghirardelli chocolates on mine. Just saying.
The children will have fun at the workshops created just for them. Last year, they even had a children’s ritual. My own daughter, being the early teen Empress she is, was more fascinated with fawning over the soaps at Twisted Willow Soap Company and chasing after a passing puppy, of course.
(This was all part of a failed plot to enamor me toward dog adoption. Umm, no, allerergen level 100 here)
New this year, Blue Crow Talent joins the bill. This is the only local Pagan friendly circus in Metro Detroit. They have major chops, were founded in Detroit’s circuit, and are set to play in Las Vegas, baby! I LOVE THESE FOLKS.
(I love Las Vegas, too. But I can never tell you about it. Not even my husband can get my epic adventure there as a traveling saleswoman on vacation. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.)
All event goers are expected to observe proper ritual fire protocol. This means being respectful to the Fire Keepers, and to what it represents. Do NOT throw trash into the fire. I cannot stress this enough here. Use your best Pagan Manners.
In this spirit, it would also be a good time to suggest you bring your feast bundles if you have them. These are kits that you make yourself. They include a large cloth napkin, washable utensils, and bowl. This is easier on the environment than just tote, toss, and trash.
Michigan Pagan Fest is located at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. If you get lost, call (734) 697-7002. The address is 10871 Quirk Road, Belleville, Michigan 48111.
Hope to see you there. Here is a chant for you to enjoy around those marshmallows. Remember: I love chocolate.
The name of this piece may seem provocative, even outrageous. The wisdom behind it is hard won and with merit. In political and power circles, this piece of information has been invaluable.
Merriam Webster defines compassion as “ sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it“.
How can a person experiencing this be dangerous? Many would believe that if a person is compassionate, it would stay their hand from harming another person. They might also extend that belief to encompass the idea that this person would seek to be protective.
This, while commonly held as conventional thought, is not always the case. I submit that it is very likely not the case most of the time in circles of power. The compassionate person holds greater powers than acknowledged.
Those of us, who stood in the company of ruthless men and women, stand acquainted with the raw potential of violence and oppression that is possible at any given moment. I have observed such brutality executed with such swiftness that it did not seem real. Being unable to act, a crippling rage at my own powerlessness to assist the victims ground itself into my psyche.
In my life, it moved me toward deeper studies of religion, philosophy, culture, and martial thinking. The allure to being able to ease suffering tread arm-in-arm with my want to hone my particular skills as magickian, counselor, and courtier (still working on that). This was not in pursuit of protection, but defense.
To turn a heart that is cold-blooded away from its intended wickedness of action by a simple collection of ideas being implanted at the opportune times is beyond valuable. Understanding the motivations of the power decision makers allows a way to move them away from positions that bring harm to the oppressed. Researching laws and protocols allows a person to not only find where the bodies are buried, but make sure the new ones are not made in the political back alleys of societal and cultural games.
But what of physical violence in this cause? When you push a good man or woman too far, even a coward can destroy a force. When that person is moved by a sense of compassion coupled with wisdom, the body count can shift to a higher tally on the side of the bad guys. That person had a plan the moment they entered the room that covered how to protect the victim and themselves to the extent they can. They execute this mercilessly, due to the righteousness of their goal.
To spend hours in contemplation upon the goodness of man, the idea of peace, and the filmy concepts of justice and mercy, give fire to the blood. Some may never be called to place their body in front of a bullet, which takes the power from the gun-woman in deciding who will be shot. Many will never and sit whisper an embarrassing revelation to a legislator in the hallway at the water fountain right before a draconian vote against the poor. Few would ever get the opportunity to destroy a career bent on destroying an ecosystem. But all these actions, and more, are done not in malice. They are acts in compassion.
To dream of a perfect world is an act of revolution. To do magic, actions, and prayer to make it so, overriding the wishes and hopes of those who would spread harm – power. To hold compassion for all parties in this – love and darkness strangely mixed.
And sometimes, that is the most dangerous power of all.