Michael Wiggins memorial May 21, 2016

 micTaken too soon from us, much respected and beloved Michael Wiggins will be honored with a memorial on May 21, 2016.  One of the strongest pillars of the Michigan Pagan communities and societies, his transition is an enormous blow to many who knew him.  Known to many through ConVocation and the Magical Education Council, the Ren Faire community, the dance circles, Up in the Aether, The Phoenix Cafe, and more, he touched thousands of lives.
The memorial will be held at DoubleTree by Hilton (5801 Southfield Expressway, Detroit) located at 5801 Southfield Expressway, in Detroit.  This hotel will be familiar to any who attended his events.  Hosted by the Magical Education Council, it promises to be a service befitting of his standing.

The GoFundMe account created by Claudine Durham has seen over $7,000 pour in to help with the financial matters related to the memorial and the family.   This public service is the opportunity to celebrate the memory of this man as he lives on in our hearts.  For the sharing of stories is how a life lives on in this world – and Michael’s story was a masterful one, indeed.

Arrival and gathering begins at 4:00 pm.  This will be followed by a short service at 5:00 pm.  This shall lead up to the wake which is the joyful celebration of his memory.

Come and share a story, raise a glass and honor the man who thought that nothing was better than a good party. – ConVocation/MEC

Learning to live the Tarot Series- Part 1

Dru Ann Welch

This is part 1 of a 4 part series on learning to read the tarot intuitively.

I learned the tarot in 2002.  At first I attempted to take each card from the deck and read the page about it in the manual that comes with many decks.  How confusing!  Upright it means this, upside down it means this, next to this card the meaning changes to this and on and on.  No wonder some people really don’t take the time to learn this method of divination.  It was just too much.

Then I sat one day and simply pulled a card from the deck.  I looked at the color, the pictures and the suit.  No book for meaning just what was that card saying to me personally.  It was like a light bulb,  like someone had opened the curtains and the brightest sun ever was shining in on me and those cards and I was hooked!  I could suddenly see a meaning and gain insight from the picture on the card.  It was like it was talking to me.  I never opened another manual again!

By The artist is unknown. (Scanned from Michael Dummett's The Game of Tarot.)
By The artist is unknown. (Scanned from Michael Dummett’s The Game of Tarot.)

The tarot speaks to us through it’s pictures.  I always choose decks with images for each card, never ones that show just 3 cups for the 3 of cups.  It has to show me something.  You see our brains are wired to understand images.  The images in the tarot are archetypes for life itself.  When you let the pictures speak to you, you open an entire new world of information.

Let’s take it a step further, most books, manuals and tutorials show you a certain way to place the cards.  I personally like using 9 cards, 3 for past, 3 for present and 3 for where you are going or future.  I put them in 3 rows indicating past, present and future.

If there are any court cards like Queens or Kings that are pulled, I pull them to the side.  Then I look at the remaining cards to show me a pattern.  You will see cards that definitely fit what must have happened in the past, maybe there are 3, maybe 4.  Move them together so they tell you the story of the past on one row.

Now look at your remaining cards, which cards seem to show where you have moved from your past into something that relates to now, it may be 2 or 3 cards.  Move them to the second row again in a manner that tells you a story of the now.

Finally take the remaining cards and put them together to show where things are headed and what the outcome is.

To put it all together, look at any court cards you put to the side, these represent either the person you are doing the reading for or people involved in the situation you are reading about.  Place them in a column to the left of your 3 rows and see how they relate to what you saw in your placement of the cards.

Slovenščina: Smrekarjev tarok.

 

It’s an entirely intuitive way to read the tarot cards.  This method asks you to feel what you are seeing in the pictures and put them together in a small story to help the person you are reading for gain insight into the situation of their lives.  You are touching into the archetypes within yourself to give guidance.  If you use different decks, you may find the images don’t always give the exact same meaning for a card from deck to deck.  This is because of the artist’s interpretation of the meaning of the cards.  It encourages you to push the barriers of the intuitive envelope and really be aware of how you feel about the cards you are seeing.

By Bigbear213 Cosplayers (left) receiving steampunk tarot readings from the steampunk tarot readers (right) at the 2015 Salt City Steamfest in Salt Lake City, Utah.
By Bigbear213 Cosplayers (left) receiving steampunk tarot readings from the steampunk tarot readers (right) at the 2015 Salt City Steamfest in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This method can be used for reading any number of cards.  If you are doing a card a day reading, you look at your image and say what it says to you then see how it pans out through your day.

The tarot is a magnificent tool for guidance.  It can be used for daily guidance or to help you sort out various situations in your life.  The beauty of it is to open your own intuition to the use of imagery and how it affects you and what you see in life.  So grab a deck and take a look and have some fun with it but don’t read the book!

Dru Ann Welch is an experienced Intuitive Counselor, Healer and Tarot Reader.  She is a Reiki Master/Teacher and a Certified H.E.A.L. Technique Practitioner and a Crystal Singing Bowl Practitioner. Additionally, she holds a degree in Education and teaches with passion.  Dru Ann is the author of 4 books , creator of 2 oracle decks and the performing artist on 3 cds.  Dru Ann’s musings in the form of quotes, blogs and articles have been featured on The Wellness Universe , Circle Magazine ( Imbolc Issue 119/pg 42) and The Spirit Ezine (May 2015).  Proudly, Dru Ann has been a featured speaker and presenter at the Community Unitarian Universalist Church, the UCSS Spiritual Centre, Autumn Meet, and the Florida Pagan Gathering.

Dru Ann was featured as one of 150+ thought leaders in Tedx Speaker Corey Poirier‘s recent book, Enlightened Becoming the Best Version of You in 5 Easy Steps (enter code bestyouever to get your free copy during the launch) at www.druannwelch.com.

PBN Blues Series: “Tell it like it is” – Aaron Neville

by Kenya Coviak

A spiritual worker for hire should never be so obsessed with money that they lie to their clients.  When deciding how to proceed in a job, it is of utmost importance to remain focused that it is exactly that, a job with a finite amount of involvement in this client’s life.  One should never make a career out of an client’s life path.

That being said, one of the ways that integrity shows is to be truthful with your client.  Be mindful that you are not overly offensive or blunt, but speak plainly and with compassion.  Seek not to inflame, nor to exert negative influence.  Be impartial, yet always on track for the best possible choices and paths for the client.

As we will often do in this series, let us entertain two examples of a situation.

A way that may not be the best for the client

Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You agree that she should do this.

 You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.  She eyes the calamus root, a skull candle, and some other wares.  You encourage her in the situation, add your own spin on the working, and sell the collection of tools.

By ManuelFD (Own work fuente propia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By ManuelFD

Two weeks later, the situation has become more volatile.  The roommate has blown up and they are almost at blows.   You decide to amp up the spell work and advise her how to do so.  It continues to escalate, and then you have an unhappy customer, one with a lump on her head and a restraining order.

A way that may be a bit more desirable

 

Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You ask more about the situation and state that it is important to hear the whole story, since she has decided to come to you for custom work.

You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.   You ask her if she has considered that the addition of a pet could be harmful to the roommate, and asks if she has gotten a divination on the situation in order to examine her choices moving forward.  You explain that divination could give her a clearer focus.  She does not agree.

A thoughtful moment - Richard Mauch

As a responsible worker, you know that the situation will escalate, as a normal person will not agree to allow something that will bring them harm.  In this case, the roommate would not sanely comply with the addition of a pet that would compromise their health.  Therefore, it would be better to do a work on how either the living condition can be changed, possibly a St. Expedite Spell.

It would also be important to work on the income and money management of the client so that she will have a choice in whether to stay or go.   You attempt to explain that magick cannot turn people into mindless zombies, and that she should consider what is doable in the current situation if she stays.  And lastly, you may also suggest a reconciliation working in order to normalize communication in the home to mend the rifts.  (This would be followed up by a clearing and blessing of the home).

Be prepared

Messilina T. may not want to hear this.  She is angry, hurt, and a little bit selfish right now.  There is a strong chance she may reject your counsel.  At this point, your can proceed to serve her or turn her down.  She is free to do her own work, of course.  Or she can find another worker.

She decides that she wants to banish her roommate.  She purchases a bottle of Four Thieves Vinegar and a multitude of bottles.  Her plan is to clear out the roommate and anyone else who is on the roommate’s side.  You complete the transaction and watch her leave.  Ultimately, it is her decision.

Dietmar Rabich, rabich.deThe important thing is that you have maintained your integrity, as well as ensured that the caliber of your work is not compromised.  Your wisdom in understanding that doing futile working will damage the client and your own reputation has saved you unneeded drama.  And this is all achieved by telling it like it is, being forthright, and being a better magickal business person. 

As a trade, we do not sell morality.  At our best moments we can attempt to educate the client so as to assure a desirable outcome.  But never forget that they have not come to the shop in search of morality lessons.  Just serve the truth and let it ride.

 

 

 

Michigan Pagan Scholarship accepting applications for 2016

Michigan Pagan Scholarship accepting applications for 2016

by Kenya Coviak

The Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund has opened its applications process for the 2016 year.  The opportunity is open to high schools seniors, undergraduates, or graduate students.  They are looking for students aged 17 years or older, with a GPA of 2.85 or higher, and be a Michigan resident.  They must also be accepted to an accredited four year college or university, and be a full time student and, of course, identify as Pagan.

Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund Logo
Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund Logo

This is an essay style competitive scholarship, meaning only one winner will be chosen from a pool of applicants.  An impartial panel of judges awaits a fresh crop of submissions, identities hidden for fairness.  A recent transcript must accompany the submission in order to verify GPA and residency.

The process is fairly straightforward.  Applicants are asked to “state the reason for applying for this scholarship in 250 words or less and submit a 500 word essay about what being a Pagan means to them.”  Anyone who meets the criteria may apply.  And what is really great is that it is open to those who have been homeschooled, have a GED, or are involved with Alternative education.

So far, two students have won the scholarship.  The first was Miranda Owens in 2014 from Bay City, her scholarship can be seen here.  The second winner was 2015’s Rebecca Phoenix from Ferndale.  Her essay can be read here.  2016’s winner may be YOU, if you apply.

The scholarship is entirely funded by the generosity of donors.  Without them, there could be no continuation of this dream.  Many will recognize the 2015 roster of contributors. They are the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry, Magical Educational Council, Witches Of Michigan, Pagan Pride Detroit, Back 9 GraFX, and the  Midwest Witches Ball.

Also, drawings at the Gatherings of Pagans by the Witches of Michigan, contributions by individuals, Paula & Gordon Ireland, and stores that have allowed drop boxes continually assists in this work.  This year, Coventry Creations ,Candle Wick Shoppe, and Ancient Faiths Alliance will join the proud company of sponsors for 2016.

Parents, for those who like to shop, you can also show your support by purchasing your heart’s desires through the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry’s online store.  A portion of the sales help to fund the scholarship.  You can also donate directly as well.

So fire up those pens and set your sites on applying.  Applications are being taken now.  There are no fees and the only thing keeping you waiting is you.  Follow this link to apply at  Michigan Pagan Scholarship Application.

If you would like some perspectives on being a Pagan college student, check out the Pagan at College YouTube series by paganperspective.

We must save the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple

We must save the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple

 by Kenya Coviak

 

The New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple burned, but the fire driving endures.  The Priestess of the temple, Priestess Miriam, shall rise and continue the work that has been her path since 1990.  That work continues onward to be the home for traditional Vodoun spiritual services in the heart of NOLA, right across the street from Congo Square.  It is a dream she continues since starting it with her late husband Oswan Chamani.

Priestess Miriam – Voodoo Spiritual Temple – New Orleans Travels in New Orleans, Louisiana in May 2012 (cc) David Berkowitz www.marketersstudio.com / www.about.me/dberkowitz

On February 1, 2016, the shop, its Cultural Center and Botanica suffered from the devastation of an electrical fire and the subsequent combination of flame and water damage.  Of course, there are no coincidences or strange happenings, so the Temple Room and most its contents,miraculously spared the full  brunt of the tragedy, are still here.  Volunteers continuously remove and repair them.

This photograph shows water and flame damage, courtesy of Louis Martine, of the inside of the Temple.  Holes mar the walls and ceiling.  Broken glass litters the floor.

The landmark organization offers Traditional Voodoo services and weddings.  Forging a presence for worship and study, the communities of Pagans must take swift action toward rescue.  Non-ATR Pagan leaders studying sociological/religious commonalities find value in its continued cultural anthropologic presence and training opportunities.  For a quick glimpse into the living history that she embodies, watch Priestess Miriam in “Sense of Place New Orleans – Voodoo Spiritual Temple”, a short clip available on Vimeo.

Of special interest to polytheists, it continues an unbroken line of decades of work.  Visitors learn by direct contact when they experience the rites and sacred spaces.  It serves as a testament to the enduring religious tradition of the people.  More than a building, Priestess Miriam commands an institution and Tradition that expands throughout the world to Believers.  

“It is one of the longest running spiritual temples in NOLA as well as one of the longest ones run and featuring a woman of colour in the city as well. Priestess Miriam herself is a NOLA icon, recognized as an inspirational leader in the community, with awards presented to her by various mayors over the decades.” – Witchdoctor Utu

This work requires money.  Those who see the potential loss here rally to the call.  Witch, Odinist, or Heathen, all see the critical work that repositories and living history are providing to the students and devotees across belief system boundaries.  All understand the effects that come with destruction of a holy place.  Every neo Pagan person of faith knows the importance of having a physical history intact, no matter the tribes  Every believer wants a place they call home.  We must be industrious and driven to restore that which has been injured, for in doing so we heal ourselves.

The living web of connection maintained by the temple reaches far.  Witchdoctor Utu, the founder the Niagara Voodoo Shrine and the Dragon Ritual Drummers, sustains and continues a membership of 14 years in the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.  The troupe tours a circuit of appearances that Pagans of all persuasions attend and join in celebration.  Big familiar names including NOLA locals such as Warlocks Christian Day and Brian Cain, Bloody Mary, Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and Priestess Claudia work the effort for rebuilding.

Rev. Lilith Dorsey, a temple member from NYC, Priest Louis Martine, Miriam’s husband Allen, and Gina, Mishlen, Maegdlyn and Pamela command efforts at the scene.  These are the ones grinding in the muck and damage.  These are the folks working on site, some after trekking from all over the continent.

I ask all who hear and read these words, to dig down and consider contributing something.  A dollar or a thousand dollars, all donations go to rebuilding. The remains in the photograph by Jeff Mohnkern bear grim witness.

WemustsavetheNewOrleansVoodooSpiritualTemple

Please watch this column for more updates as the rebuilding progresses.  You donate to the future by visiting this their fundraising page at the site gofundme page entitled Save the Voodoo Spiritual Temple!  You make an impact by donating and sharing this message.