Detroit Pagan Pride Day holds drum vigil for Dead at “Love Conquers Hate” Aug 19

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.

DPPD advertisement

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?

 

Michigan Pagan Fest brings the power June 22-25 2017

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.

Michigan Pagan Fest Official Banner – Event Page

Headliners include Witchdoctor Utu, Dragon Ritual Drummers, Amber K , and Azrael Arynn K. Local Headliners include teachers Lady Bona Dea  Max Maya, and Baba Ted Juaw. This festival just continues to draw so much talent that it is almost inconceivable that it has not expanded to a week. Her programming is always rock solid.

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.

Image: Pixabay

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.

Image: Public Domain

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.)

 

Speaking of fiery experiences, don’t miss the Peruvian Fire Ceremony with James “TwoSnakes” Stovall.

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.

 

 

Why is Detroit having its first conjure and folk magic festival?

Detroit is not like any other city in the world, and its magical residents can surely attest to this. We do things differently here. We do not keep our practices insulated and encapsulated like so many jars on an apothecary’s shelf.

Our energies and beliefs blur and move and merge in a dance that is both wonderful and terrible in its beauty. When we go to a shop, we are like a bohemian style magical band of hippies, taking what is needed, ignoring the rest, always willing to try something by chance and direction. So now we are trying something new.

Detroit is going to have a conjure and folk magic festival.

Detroit has its own spirits, its own legends, its own conjure and folk magic. We sit as an international port on the seas of fresh water. Our city of the strait is the gateway to foreign lands and immigrants have brought with them their traditions, their magics and their customs to merge with those of we who are here. The indigenous Peoples who ARE STILL HERE couple their narratives and spirits into the land with the folks who walk the centuries-old trails that are now covered in asphalt and bricks.

We practice Hoodoo here. We practice Vodou here. We practice Wicca here. We practice Ceremonial Magick here. We practice Ifa here. We practice Brujeria here. We practice Santeria here. We practice Lucumi here. We practice Candomble here. We practice Obeah here. We practice Espiritismo here. We practice Juju here. We practice Angel Magick here. We practice Necromancy here. We practice Spiritism here. We practice Hexencraft here (yes, we really do). We practice all types of renegade, wilding out Hedgewitchery here. We practice Demonolatry based magicks here.We practice Kemetic Mysteries here. We practice Palo here. We practice Lodge Teachings here. We practice Psalmistry here. We practice the teachings of the Aetherius Society here. We practice more than I can ever hope to name, and we do it all here in Detroit. We do it all in Michigan.

And we mix it together in ways that should not work, according to “authorities”. Our special brand of Detroit magick, conjure, and lore is our own. We have elements of the French, German, Greek, Polish, People of the Three Fires, and those who migrated here from all over the world cooked up in our own form of “City Chicken” style goodness. That is to say, we practice our own form of taking things and forming them into what we wish them to be for us, despite how they appear.

(City Chicken is made of pork, see what I mean?)

It was not uncommon for me to accompany my friends to a “candle shop” and get a stew of different magical traditions in one trip. In one case, my companion sought to increase her income for her exotic dance career. She purchased Honey of Love for her perfume and lotion, to add in. She picked up some love drops oil to add to her Pink Oil in her make up bag. She picked up some orris root powder to add to her baby powder.

Next, she bought a Money Candle and had it “dressed” with powder and glitter. Yep, I know. Glitter. Deal with it. This was added to the candle with an invocation, as the counter person carved a sigil into the wax. For an extra dollar, she lit it at the shop and left it to burn there in their “workings” room.

She then picked up a new tarot deck and some crystals. A candle to Oshun and some blessed oil was added to her purchase. She had a psalm paper blessed, bought a new Devil’s Trap seal, and a brass ring with runes inscribed along the inside. To finish her purchase, she grabbed some crushed shells and some Devil’s Shoestring “because of the scheming chicks” who were after her top spot.

This was normal. This was not a thing. This same girl gathered every full moon to worship Diana and to give an offering of cool water and wine to Aradia. She also petitioned Persephone that evening for a personal favor. And not a single damn was given. Not a single eye was rolled.

Because in Detroit, we do what we want. We embrace it all and tolerate whatever floats you boat, as long as it does not bump ours. What we do not do, however, is have any problem with recognizing that what we are doing is indeed a blended sort of thing, and is not “proper”. We just roll with it.

After so many generation of this mingling, it is bound to happen that folks forget where the dotted lines and boundaries on the magickal maps were located in our landscapes. We forgot how to not merge in some cases. Purists be damned, we got this. Innovation is what we are known for here.

However, this led to things being lost and pushed aside. Practices altered and then faded. Wording changed and sometimes completely disappeared. Our tradition mixing would soon give birth to new ones and so on.

Innovation and adaptation our forte. While this is all classically Detroit in its nature, it has its pitfalls. One of the main ones is that special nuanced flavor of each tradition and belief path being unique. Much is special about each “way” and religion and belief system. While we hold each as our baseline, many times they are so intermingled here that it is almost impossible to find strings in that tapestry.

This is why I decided to create the Detroit Conjure and Folk Magic Festival event this year. It happens on August 12, 2017. This will be held in Green Acres Park, in Hazel Park, Michigan. In years past, I was honored and blessed to be able to help run the Pagan Pride Detroit’s celebration of Pagan Pride Day Detroit there, so the place is familiar to many in the state.

The reason for this event is personal. I did not do it to make tons of money. I do like money, but that is not the primary goal of this event.

This festival was born in order to feature practitioners who are really part of the culture and “family” of the traditions and magics they are teaching. It is my sincere hope that by bringing forward folks who are bringing their unique flavor to this event, we will start dialogues about what is special about our bleedings, and what is special about appreciating what is different.

Image: Kenya Coviak

Appropriation as a habit is an ugly truth to post 70’s magic here in the United States. We take things, make them our own, and blend them into our practices without a thought as to why it is key to acknowledge the places form which we glean. We burn sage in shells at events in Pagan festivals with no thought as to why this is problematic, or why we should be talking about it.

That is not to say you cannot do this, but under what vibe? If you are doing it as part of your personal practice, yeah. But why that shell, why that plant? This is the kind of thing that I want to encourage folks to explore. We Sing the songs of others, yet silence their voices. Why?

In Detroit, I have been fortunate to see the resurgence and preservation of respect for the need to be mindful. I see folks who use the magicks, without regard for any of this, and make their lives better. They do not know, nor care, from where it came. That, too is acceptable. But when we speak of teaching and presenting, that is when we need to really make sure we are letting each path shine so that folks can ask questions of folks who KNOW for sure what is part, what is pilfered, and what is parrotted. To see the grace in which we have held another’s path in order to glimpse their walk in our own.

I have three goals for this event. They are my guiding principles. So I shall share them here.

  1. To present a spirit/magick based event for the region based on Detroit led interests. This includes people, paths, and practices from all over, not just in Michigan.
  2. To host, and hold space, for cultural topics that offer insights into the cultures that are the proving grounds and catalysts of the magicks that are part of our world today in an open zone.
  3. To provide a family friendly experience where attendees can learn; share ideas; and meet others of like and unfamiliar traditions and views, while having a good time in a safe environment.

 

We can have magic
But where did it vibe from
We can have culture
But what is it without magic
We can have family and friends
But what are they without spirituality and culture
All go together
At least in my f*cked up little vision
– Kenya Coviak
I invite you to come out to our city in the Fresh Water Seas this August 12, 2017 to experience some Detroit hospitality. The music and performances are free, as is general admission.We support Jit Culture as well, a special place in my heart beats for this hometown dance form. In featuring Jit Street, we hope to help spread the culture, and preserve it.
Rituals and classes for the public, young and old, will delight and intrigue those who make the choice to learn something new. Some may even reinforce what you know. A few will probably shock you by how much you thought you knew.
For those with a deeper need for practical applications and more in-depth knowledge, the Conjure College will provide opportunities to master new skills and concepts. This part is by paid admission only. Ticket holders get to get their hands and minds into a practitioner’s “kitchen” so to speak. Training by experts on what works is key.
Speakers from four states share their knowledge and expertise with our little city with the big roots. In picking Green Acres Park, I made a commitment to continue a tradition of magical festivals there. That is where I “cut my teeth” in holding them, so it is my home. It is a green space with beautiful trees made for sitting under, thinking, and celebrating. I could think of no better place to host this event when so many from around the Great Lakes area will set their feet here upon grounds that have been home to many years of magick …. and love.
I hope to see you there. I hope to see you, with your folding chairs, and your notebooks. I hope to see you in your floppy hats with your children in tow. I hope to hear from you if you cannot make it there.
But most of all, I hope. I hope to present to you why our city is like no place else. I hope to show you, in this little town just outside its border, why it is a shining beacon on the strait.
We do it our own way. I am Detroit born and bred, right off 7 Mile Road. 7, kind of a foreshadowing hunh (what’s up, numerology students)? I love folks on both sides of 8 Mile, there is magick everywhere. On this day, we are going to give you a piece of what makes us different.
Oh, and one more thing. Expect the unexpected. This is the Detroit, after all. We do things differently here, since 1701.
At the end of the day, I have to say that ultimately I give love, honor, and thanks to everyone who made my life the rich ride that it is.
I love all of you. No matter if you take your magick as a purist, blend it up, or shaken not stirred. It is all about respect.
What up, doe?

Detroit Pagan Pride invites mystery and murder into Madison Heights

On March 18, the folks at Detroit Pagan Pride will team up with the Following Your Heart Players to provide a unique fundraising experience. The Pagan Pathways Temple will transform into the setting for an interactive murder mystery event. All ages are welcome to this night of fun, food, and enjoyment. The fun starts at 7pm, so be sure to get your seat early.

Detroit Pagan Pride Flyer

Tickets are $15 for a Single or $25 for a Couple.  An additional  charge of $5 will be added to tickets purchased at the door. Tickets are available for sale at Pagan Pathways Temple located at 28736 John R Rd, Madison Heights, Michigan. You can also find them through their website at http://paganpathwaystemple.org/.

The venue includes a spaghetti dinner, salad, and dessert. The main feature, of course, is the interactive experience brought you you courtesy of the Following Your Heart Players. A fundraiser, the proceeds are set to help support the Detroit Pagan Pride Day.

For updates information, follow their Facebook listing for the  Murder Mystery Dinner.

An Editorial on Betsy DeVos

The results are in and Betsy DeVos is the new Secretary of Education. The time for Pagans to step up and advocate for parity and representation in their schools is long past and is now in our faces. Those who are educators, new days are coming, and they do not look good for those who find their calling in the championing of the public schools system.

Public Domain, Screen grab C-Span

“Democrats mounted an all-night speaking marathon railing against her nomination in the run-up to the vote, questioning her experience and ties to charter schools though their opposition combined with lobbying efforts by teachers unions were not enough to block her.” – Fox News

It is generally considered bad form to begin a piece with an immediate quotation. However, this is an editorial and I am the editor. I am from Detroit, Michigan. You  know, the place with the motors, the music, and the moxy. We also carry the reputation as the place with the failing schools system. An infamous standing that has been the direct result of the wicked designs of the ilk of Betsy DeVos and her hell-bent-for-leather conservative wrecking crew is responsible for in full truth.
Decade after decade, the school educational funds destined for the city have been deferred, and outright stolen for other sweetheart deals and projects. When materials were not embezzled by corrupt staff, (a less common occurrence than people would like to promote), then they were undercut and slashed by the free wheeling corporate whores of millionaires sitting comfortably atop the political food-chain here in Michigan.
For myself, these abstract ideas and policy bludgeons against public education are in my face. Too many children have gone without not only books, and safe schools, but also basic supplies such as bathroom tissue or pencils. Despite popular belief, the budget is not supposed to be so raped of resources that they cannot provide these items for the students in the system’s care. However no mercy, not unto the tiniest tile on the meanest floor in the smallest elementary school could escape the rapine needs of the relentless attack of the conservative agenda in Michigan when it came to eviscerating the Detroit Public School System, and by thinnest of veils, empowering the less hidden systemic bigotry involved in targeting the residents and their children who reside there.
Since the district has been under control of state-appointed emergency managers since 2009, the deficit has ballooned to more than $300 million, despite numerous school closures and other painful budget cuts. – Motor City Muckraker

As a Pagan student, I completed my education throughout the 80’s under the shadow of the rising conservative juggernaut that saw the rise of the Reagan machine, a machine that has turned into almost a religion of the conservative faithful. Programs that were in place to empower and educate were continually and progressively gutted again and again. Fortunate enough to be counted as gifted, I escaped much of the brunt of cuts in quality. This was directly due to dedicated teachers who came out of their own pockets for supplies and out of their homes to support the union in protecting not just their own, but the interests of the families they served.

The onslaught in this state against education being education and not a pipeline to a career in math or science based service jobs to feed into the corporate machines at the cost sports, music, art, and trades produced a disaffected and poorly cheated series of generations. Everyone is not right brained. Everyone is not going to college. Everyone is not going to a factory. Everyone is not going to go into being a CNA. But to speak this to the powers that be is like blowing dust into the wind in a hailstorm.

Emergency managers added to the issue and the charter school wild wild west environment consumed all. Every school building that was closed was stolen from the community like the Sabine women (Yeah, I went there. I read all faiths’ stories.). Torn from the hands and control of the communities that continued to pay their taxes into their existence, the schools were delivered to charter groups, or in many cases, closed and sold outright. Others were left to rot and decay like carrion of the hopes of generations.

Let us be clear. I have a stake in this on many levels. This is why I am writing this piece.

My elementary school was the place where I learned that I was a different kind of spirituality from others. Many did not accept this, but some of the best teachers did. They did not stifle me, but encouraged me to find my own truth. There, at Elizabeth Courville Elementary school, I learned Art, Social Studies, Music, and found my world filled with wonderful books and scientific inquiries in class with a greenhouse garden. That school is now closed.

At Cleveland Middle School, I was bussed from the North End to the edge of Hamtramck. There, I encountered my first Catholic teacher, a formidable woman named Mrs. Cayce, the only African American Catholic woman I would meet until college. In her honors classroom, I learned about Literature, continued my Music education with Mr. Hagen, started forensics, and studied about the world. I also made my best childhood friend, Sheila Habel. This girl was half Jewish, half German, Catholic/Jewish/Agnostic, and all sparkly hair, Aquanette, and spiked collars. We exchanged cultural and social realities and our worlds were expanded with all the programs that Detroit Public Schools could offer. I even took my SATs there in the 7th grade. That school is now closed.

At General John J. Pershing High School, I became a Marching Doughgirl, stayed in the Honors track, and participated in the Rainbow Program under Dr. Emerald Crosby. This program sought to promote a higher standard of scholarship and opportunity. I was afforded the honor of performing a quartet, learning how to transpose, with the Michigan Opera Theater for “El Capatin“, ushered for an auditorium full of greats as we hosted the Count Basie Orchestra, and saw many of my peers earn scholarships to colleges all over the United States of America for Music, Sports, and Academics. My interactions with the student body flowed from the Young Socialists to the Young Republicans for Reagan. All manner of views and all systems of belief were on the table to be discussed and explored.

I lettered in Forensics, and read great books under the tutelage of a meditating, dedicated hippie named Mr. Kidney (as he would say, “just like the damn bean”). A few of us went to learn how to do cable television production under the Community High School program at that time at Barden Cable through an agreement with the schools. I learned Arabic and got to know my Chaldean neighbors holding conversations with the lessons from my teacher Mr. Jameel and the legendary Sister Theresa. On a bad year, I did not pass a class due to illness and had to attend Osborn High School for summer classes.

Both these High Schools are now on the chopping block.

After this, I continued my education by attending Highland Park Community College. There, I was enrolled in the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program and met international students from all over the world and every economic status. As Literary Editor, and the founder of the charitable school organization L.E.A.F.. I met athiests, pagans, and every sort of faith, including magickians. It was here I found my tribes, and learned to distinguish kith from kind. It was here that I learned that being Pagan was more than the small slices glimpsed before then.

And it was here that instructors encouraged me to develop my full self and pursue not only liberal arts in general, but the humanities and how they related to paganism in my reality.

I engaged the community and met my first college fraternal organizations and learned how important they were to the city and the children. Their work with charities and educational programs amazed me and inspired me. I almost went to do work in Africa fighting female genital mutilation afterward, but was derailed by home responsibilities. But I can proudly state I saw many of my peers go on to distinguished universities.

While there, I tutored in the college’s Center for Instructional Support, and saw first-hand the damage that the destructive monetary and educational policies were having on incoming students. Basic Education was required in some instances just to enter the vocational programs. The dumbing down had begun in earnest. A stellar nursing program noted for the rigor in which it trained its students was our shining star.

This college is now closed due to the decision of Gov. Engler. It’s closure set the framework for the later decimation of Highland Park’s schools. Then of course, the charters, that DeVos loves, moved in like jackals. No care was given to the fact that public schools are part of the American promise to our children.

“I heard they want to bring in charters. It will benefit the private companies but not the students of people in the community. People can’t just pick up and leave. If you move schools out of the neighborhood you are basically telling people to move out of the neighborhood. So what are they saying—you have to move? – World Socialist Website

So, let’s review. My elementary, middle, and junior college are all closed. My high school, and summer school high school are on the block to be closed. The only colleges left that I attended that remain open are the American Institute of Banking and Spring Arbor University. A business and an evangelical college are all that remain of my educational journeys, in theory, that have real space in this physical world. What a telling irony, considering the current virtual coup taking place in the national power positions today. The rhetoric is as strong as police station coffee on the East Side of Detroit at 3:00 am.

Conservatives believe that a voucher system would be the most effective and efficient way to deliver school choice to millions of children. Not only would vouchers empower families to find the best fit for their children, but it saves taxpayers money as well. Currently, the per-pupil cost of public education is close to $11,000 across the nation. (And how many parents would say they believe their child gets an $11,000 per year education?) A voucher system would let parents use some of that money and apply it to a private or charter school of their choosing. Not only does the student get to attend a school that is a good educational fit, but charter and private schools are typically far less expensive, thus saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars every time a student leaves the status quo educational system in favor of a parent-chosen school. – Marcus Hawkins, AboutNews

My question is, what choice is there when the public schools referred to in this view are being destroyed, razed, and the powers that be are stopping just short of practically salting their grounds? The monies that are already allocated to the public schools could easily take care of the needs of the public schools systems if they were not diverted and pilfered. This fictive narrative of this shining land of parents having the luxury and leisure and disposable income and means of transportation to be so selective in where they send their children to be educated is not only dangerous, it is laughably absurd. A more detailed view of this can be found by visiting DeVos’ Michigan schools experiment gets poor grades.

Despite two decades of charter-school growth, the state’s overall academic progress has failed to keep pace with other states.

All of this was to illustrate the good things that a much maligned system, the Detroit Public Schools and their teaching staff, have accomplished despite disgusting slander, union busting legislation, and corporate sabotage. This all despite the fact that the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) continually uses Michigan’s School Aid Fund monies destined for Detroit Public Schools as their personal piggy bank.

The refusal of Betsy DeVos to abdjure the position of being pro public school destruction is obscene. The numbers are in and they are damning. I implore anyone who is reading this and wishes to have their voice heard regarding the measures that will be taken by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her views to contact congress, and keep contacting them. Do not let another generation see its hopes mortgaged for politics. You can watch the live hearings via PBS here.

As administrator of the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund, it is my duty to speak out as well. It is too late to wait until the young are out of school to play catch up. The time is when they are in their formative years to guard their dreams most. What tools they are given there will make all the difference to their futures, and ours.

Signed,

Kenya Coviak

Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund | Detroit Public Schools Alumna

Hiding Your Faith During The Holidays?

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No, this article is not about bashing anyone for any reason. Just to shed some light and understanding to those who may not understand. Being Pagan isn’t something everyone was born into, more often than not it was something discovered on one’s own, not through family tradition. Even those that are born witches are not necessarily Pagan, or even Wiccan, and they may not even be open about the fact that they are a witch.

In some families and communities, being Pagan is frowned upon. Since many do not understand the old religion they associate it with Satanism, which are two entirely different religions. And to say you’re a witch to some is the equivalent of setting yourself on fire, or purchasing you’re very own key to the insane asylum. The fact of the matter is, coming out the closet as a Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch to your family can be just as hard, or possibil even harder than coming out as being gay.

And during the holidays… I must confess, I am out of the closet, but still in it at the same time when it comes to my family. More than likely it’s that way for a lot of people. Some families will just write your beliefs off as though they’re just a phase, a cry for attention, a bunch of gibberish, or just some more ramblings from the black sheep.

What’s funny is that while most families may criticize or frown upon one celebrating Yule or the Winter Solstice as opposed to celebrating Christmas, yet if you were to ask them what Jesus Christ’s true birthday was, they nine times out of ten would not know. They also wouldn’t know that the term itself derived from the Pagan celebrations of rebirth.  I double dog dare any one of you to go into a church and remind them of that fact.

So, for some, admittedly like me, it’s just easier to hide your religion during the holidays. Its just much easier to just go with the flow and say Merry Christmas while with family than to subjugate oneself to the inevitable ridicule that will come otherwise. And that’s okay. At the end of the day, whatever you believe, whatever your faith, cannot be taken away from you, whether you go around boasting the news to your entire family or not.

Whatever your patron, pantheon, Goddess, or God you pray to will not punish you, nor hold doing so against you. If you do decide to celebrate Christmas with your family you can still celebrate Yule/Winter Solstice privately, or amongst friends. One thing about the Pagan community, there truly are welcome arms all around. Arms that won’t hold you with judgmental eyes staring wholes into your forehead.

Haven’t decided what’s best for you yet? The answer will come to you, only you can make that decision. While thinking it over, maybe stop at the Fire and Frost Winter Festival this Saturday. Surround yourself with like minded people for a few moments of piece, and find a gift for yourself that calls out to you.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1641187122841298/

 

 

Tennessee fires spark coordinated groups relief in Kingsport

Prolonged drought conditions in Tennessee contributed to the sweeping threat posed by Chimney Top Fire as it reached Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The ongoing displacement, and evacuation of homes and businesses have impacted citizens of every faith, following and status. Efforts to contain the fire  will be aided by rains, however this is expected to end Wednesday night. PBN News urges all Pagan organizations and leadership, that are able, to come forward and not hesitate to collaborate with this action as one part of the humanitarian relief.

High Priestess Kimberly Lukes,  of Willow Grove Coven in Kingsport, Tennessee Willing served as a coordinator of a unified night of prayer, energy work, and spell work last evening with other groups in the area. They focused primarily on prayerful directed work for rain, and to protect the animals at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Community Service is an important value of this Coven – Willow Grove Coven, Witchvox

She is currently still working with local groups to continue directed magic and prayers, and is open to being contacted by those wishing to work together and network.  She can be reached at the Willow Grove Coven by calling (530) 949-4573. Efforts are continuing and they have open arms to all who can share this working.

Thousands evacuated as wildfires burn in Gatlinburg

(Video:WKRN.COM)

Emergency shelters in the area are now taxed to capacity, leaving about 2,000 people to take shelter at the Gatlinburg Community Center and at the Rocky Top Sports Park. This is a fraction of rhe estimated 14,000 evacuted citizens. Pagan chaplains and clergy are needed. the presence of all faiths is a strong source of solace to those who may be in spiritual crisis.

One site that is already in place and working is Waverly Road Presbyterian Church’s, led by Reverend Josh Russel. The church has opened it’s Prospect House, at 1401 Prospect Drive, Kingsport, TN. They are

currently asking businesses or individuals to consider donating to this effort. We do know that people can use snacks (remember the needs of children and the elderly), sports drinks, water, baby formula, diapers, and coats and clothing in all sizes.

Drop off at the Prospect House at Waverly Road Presbyterian Church at 1401 Prospect Drive, Kingsport, TN 37664 (behind Mac’s Medicine Mart downtown) today from 12-4 PM, tomorrow from 12-5 PM, and Thursday from 12-5 PM.

He asks those who wish to lend aid and help to this effort to email him at reverendjoshrussell@gmail.com.

The fires of Tennessee are continuing to rage. We ask for all Pagan leaders who are involved in relief efforts to comment below so that volunteers can find you. Networking is key to the level of engagement critical to preventing additional trauma.

 

WE Can Make America Great, Again

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I refuse to allow myself to think that we have voted for the worst parts of humanity. I refuse to believe that Xenophobia, Homophobia, Islamophobia, Racism, and Anti-Femimism,are the things that won yesterday.  I refuse to believe that I must now fear that my neighbors, friends, and allies and family members will be rounded up, snatched from their homes and livelihoods and sent to Conversion Therapy, “back” to Africa, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, India, etc. or killed. I refuse to believe that I or anyone in my community should be or must be afraid to wear headwraps,Pentacles, Afro-Centric attire, jilbabs, abayas, afros, braids, locs or anything else cultural or religious.  I refuse to believe that people who I know and care for; wonderful, loving, kind, accepting and beautiful people who I interact with everyday, that I have prayed with, manifested with, casted with…, hell shared beers with would “not care” for my and all those I share intersectionality with to elect someone who  could cost us health,  safety, and autonomy. I refuse to ever again comfort my children and dry their tears because they fear their friends will have to leave school because their families are from afar.

No. I refuse to think or do any of this. Because I know better, I am better, and I know WE are better.

What I believe is that Fear has created a Servitor, and fear won, on both sides.  From the Tweets, Facebook posts, News pundits, family fights, unfriendings, hate crimes, hashtags and conflicts that both fan and foe of President-Elect Trump are guilty of, if nothing else is clear, what is, is that we have been operating in fear and have manifested exactly what we have focused on.

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Fear drives hate; hate is just fear unchecked. One side is fearful of nuclear war, marginalization, further loss of jobs and industries, and moral decay. The other is fearful of social justice setbacks, loss of economic safety nets, mobilization of the worst members of society,  theocracy, and, well, conservatism. Mix all of this with the fact that a lot of people have a “my way is the right way” attitude( yes, even we Pagans) and you have a recipe for mayhem.

At any rate, what’s done is done. President-Elect Trump,  while not having the majority of the popular vote, fairly won the needed number of Electoral votes. His party has the majority seating in both House and Senate. If his acceptance speech is any indication, the times of division, rancor and stalemate in Washington, D.C. are over and he seems set up to succeed. May Justice, Fairness, and Truth guide him as he leads this country.

Where our focus should lie now, is with being and molding the best humans that we can be. We can kill the Servitor that we have created by intentionally chosing to operate in an opposing energy.  That energy, Friends, is Love.

I choose to believe that we can make this country great again by choosing to be great people. I choose to believe that we all want what is just and best for humanity.  I choose to believe that everything will be well and will get better.  I choose to believe that we all know and recognize the Divine/ Ultimate Potential in each other and ourselves, and will treat each other accordingly. I believe that we ALL abhor the evils of Racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Sexism, Homophobia, and the like. I also chose to believe that we as people will band together and fight these monsters wherever they may appear. I chose to believe that all that was wished to succeed is a change in politics as usual and to give an outsider a chance. I chose to believe that the hope for Change won over a promise of the same. I choose to believe that we all will protect them those whom injustice targets with all we have.

I choose to stop contributing to this Servitor by feeding it with hate, vengeance and division. I acknowledge that I have contributed to and been influenced by It. But I know I am better, and you are better. I know my coworkers are better,my neighbors are better. I know that by you and I treating ALL humans with Love,Kindness, Friendship, and Respect we can defeat the Hate that Hatred has produced.  I believe that we can disagree and still be civil.  I know we will not let our great society devolve into Nazi Germany or 1950’s America as so many fear. We are too great for that. And only by us remembering this, and committing to make our society better one interaction at a time, with all that we come across can we achieve the goals laid out in President-Elect Trump’s acceptance speech:

Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.
It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me…
I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country. I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their families. It’s a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.

I know we as people, as Humans can do this. only by suspending the fear mongering that has consumed the last 2 years and acting out of love towards all from love of ourselves can we defeat this evil that has infiltrated society.  We know better, we are better,  we can do better, and as Magickal Practitioners and Earth lovers we must do better. Espouse the Good, reprimand the evil, Love all and always love.

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Interview With the NEW HeadMistress of the Ball! (And Bazaar)

gerri

For those of you who do not know there is now a new head of the ball, Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb. She has allowed yours truly to stalk her for a few so that we can bring you all some highlights of what goes on behind the scenes of an event most of us look forward to for an entire year. 

How do you feel about taking over as Head Mistress of the ball, were you nervous, excited, or wondering what in Hel’s name were you thinking?

All of the above!!!! And it also depends on the day you ask me this! Like most things in my life it wasn’t really a matter of deciding to, actually there wasn’t much thought involved! (Which could be my problem) Mostly it was the love of it being at such a wonderful event, watching others have a great time, and knowing that we need to keep it moving forward!

What is the wildest, craziest idea you’re thinking up for the ball?

I am definitely a free thinker, which usually gets me in trouble, however if I let you in my brain you would probably runaway screaming, so I’ll keep the crazy ideas to myself and committee to shoot down politely as not to scare the locals.

Are you happy to be getting the reigns? Or do you feel like telling everyone to shove the reigns where Ra won’t shine?

I’ve always been a take “the reigns” type of person, but again it does depend on the day you ask on whether I am on top of the mountain, or trying to crush someone with it!

Any advice you’ve asked of your mentor?

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t speak to Gordon, he is absolutely incredible at what he does and my work is really cut out for me to fill his shoes, but somehow ill get it done, and probably in heels!

What is the most insane question you’ve heard Gordon receive about the ball?

I can’t even begin to answer this question, but a book could be written on some of the crazy things people have asked or requested.

Anyone ever ask either of you would there be any human sacrifices, death magic, or Sex Rites involved (don’t give me that look cuz people have asked me was it some type of orgy party, Ha! The world is full of fidiots.)?

Actually and unfortunately YES they have! And depending on WHO asked sometimes they got an answer that probably still left their tongue on the floor for weeks.

What would you like to see happen within the future of the community?

Of course I can give the “beauty queen” answer! But it still holds true! I would love to see unity in the community being non judgment of each other!! I can’t begin to tell you the nasty things I hear behind my back even from people who don’t even know me, it’s okay, I know they must really have issues and I have big shoulders. This is the only community in the world where you can be who you are!!! I know that must scare some people, but acceptance is key!

How rich would you be from all of the times you’ve heard Gordon being asked if both Wiccans and Pagans were allowed, even though it clearly states WITCHES ball?

I can honestly say I have never heard that one, but have been asked if NON-Pagans can come!

Ever been tempted to hex someone for saying witches aren’t real? Any regrets?
No one has ever said that to me, surprisingly. But I’ve had my share of my right wing friends patronizing me with stereotypes.

Do you think you’ll ever wish you had just stayed in the shadows instead of becoming a figurehead?

This made me giggle…… I think you need a balance of both shadows and limelight. Sometimes more fun can be had in shadows…..

What is the dumbest thing you’ve witnessed during the ball once everyone was liquored up?

Oh let’s see, people going into wrong rooms at the hotel, falling into bushes, urinating in public, okay enough about my ex…..

Do you think if there had been an All Witch Lives Matter movement in Salem that would have stopped the Witch Trials sooner?

Um no….but I am thinking I need this on a t-shirt LOL!!!

Did you know? Salem College is the oldest female college in America.
Did you know? Salem College is the oldest female college in America.

Should only witches be allowed to attend Salem University (yes, it is a real school, Nessa wants to go, she even had me make her a t-shirt with their school colors, motto, and name for College day last school year. Such a Minnie me. It’s nothing like Hogwarts though, THAT would be fangtastic, nut they don’t teach magic.)?

Well how could you tell? Anyone can call themselves a witch! (Much like any other religion). Actions speak louder than words in this case. I can tell when I see a true witch, but to limit anyone of learning anything to me would be silly. I believe the only valuable thing we truly own is our knowledge, everything else can be lost..

Why is there never a cauldron there? There could be a huge one filled with liquor, and a lil bit of punch.

I am not sure…. Probably because we have to play by the “Royalty house” rules, lol, but great idea!!!

Will you have one for next years ball?

Well, since this question was left unanswered, I just might sneak one in. I still play in the shadows. Muahahahaha! LOL!

Thank you Gerri for being such a good sport and answering my insane questions. I think some crazier ones for next year. PROMISE!!

Ancient Faiths Alliance holds its first harvest festival is this Sat

Ancient Faiths Alliance hosts its All Hands Together Harvest Festival this Saturday Sep 17, 2016. Their second community festival, the first being the Community Earth Day Celebration in Madison Heights in April, this their first harvest event. Set on to coincide with the Autumnal Equinox, it takes place from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm in Green Acres Park, Hazel Park, MI.

All Hands Together Harvest Festival
All Hands Together Harvest Festival

 

They have selected multiple charities to support at this event. They are the Hazel Park Promise Zone college scholarship fund, Pagans In Need food bank, and the Michigan Pagan Scholarship. In addition to these, they are collecting new and pretty printed pillowcases for a pillowcase dress project for children.

A full day of programming awaits the public. Vendors, classes, activities and special events of interest to Pagan and non Pagan, Heathen, Christian, and other paths and faiths are part of the festivities. A county fair feeling is what the All Faiths Alliance seems to have heard is the way the people in Southeastern Michigan offer as unofficial feedback about the day.

The classes for presentation are listed on their website as Jerry “Casper” Mckinney’s Runic workshop, Fool Proof Tarot, Herbs for Harmonizing a Happy Home, The Spiral Circle Pagans In Recovery, A Witches Thread, Basic Crystal Healing, Unscript Yourself!, Numbers and Magick!, and Essential Oils 101.

Store Poster for Fest
Store Poster for Fest

A rather dynamic marketing campaign has set this group apart. Flyers, online adverts, and multiple media outreach has gained a large supportive swell of non Pagan based businesses and Heathen based groups that have not customarily been forthcoming to area events of this nature.  Multiple ads customized to various demographics have generated buzz.

All Hands Together - DJ AD
All Hands Together – DJ AD

Music plays a huge part of this event. Local DJ phenom DJ Brutal donated his services as Master of Ceremonies to act as ringmaster to the talent. Bands include Blackmail, Day Oshee Maatin, Agenda 21, and acoustic group Rebel A’s.  A special performance by Adam Arcana of the Doppleganger Circus Sideshow is also on the playbill.

 

The band 21 Planets Away was scheduled to perform at this event, however they have suffered a personal loss. This writer speaks in good faith that the Southeastern Michigan communities extend their deepest sympathies at this time and lift them up in ritual and love.

Children are not left out of the fun, since a midday children’s dance party gives parents a much-needed time to relax and enjoy the food while the little ones burn off some energy. Sponsored by the Little Witches Ball, it promises to be a good time.

Children's Flyer
Children’s Flyer

Because all of the organizers are parents, there is a strong emphasis on inclusive family programming. Children’s activities and Harvest Games are proper for participation at various age and ability levels. Even the layout has the youth programming area centrally located for easier monitoring and safety.

Dani Cakes

A Quest Master leads two scavenger hunts during this event. Michigan Renaissance Faire Tickets for four, donated by Dani Cakes,  are the prize of the family track. The adult hunt is for a gift bag donated by the Midwest Witches Bazaar

The Phoenix Cafe is also in on the fun with an all day Pokemon Party. This includes Pokemon themed art by local area artists, which is entered into the art show competition. They have an after party to the event that evening.

Family classes and activities are listed as Kids’ Suncatcher Painting, A Witches Thread (crocheting), a Hammer Toss, Ring Toss, Fish Bowl game, Pin the Tail on the White tail buck, Broom Races, Hokey Pokey: Festival Edition, Pudding Pie eating contest, a water balloon relay, and an old favorite from when these folks were with Pagan Pride Detroit Inc’s Pagan Pride Detroit Days, The Pickle Roll. Ancient Oak Scouts will also be recruiting at this event.

Rituals for those interested in the spiritual side of the event are Dream World Connections, Fears & the Dream Warrior presented by MeKailia Nimue of Owls’ Grove Coven; Waters of the World ~ a gift of the Covenant of the Goddess presented by Oberon Osiris of Covenant of the Goddess, and a midday HandFasting ceremony officiated by Minister Enafae Moore-Sweet.

For the Waters of the World Ritual, the presenter has requested folks to bring containers of waters from all over the area to mingle together.

 

So many more features at set to happen. And it all happens this Saturday in Green Acres Park here in Michigan. Hope to see you there.