The Alchemy of Shadow Work and What Spring and Autumn Can Teach Us About This Important Work

Bet that title has you scratching your head, wondering what can Spring and Autumn teach us about shadow work. Maybe you have scoffed at the regurgitated old analogies of what shadow work is about. Maybe you’re just beginning your learning. Whatever your thoughts, questions and such, I hope you have some curiosity as to what Nature through any of its seasons can teach us about the important work of Shadow Alchemy.

I’ve been a student of Nature, life, us humans since I was a child. I’ve been an initiated person of spiritual wisdom, healing and such also since I was a child. I watch, listen, ask questions, always curious and understanding that there is more and more to learn and understand.

I’ve also come to understand that we humans are not allowing ourselves to evolve, change, heal or grow. We are hindering ourselves by not allowing our stories, myths, analogies, metaphors and other things to change or grow. We’ve also turned important truths upside down and firmly believe our lies.

Which brings us to shadow work and the alchemical process that it is !

We’ve turned shadow into a scapegoat for all the messed up things we are capable of. We believe that shadow only contains the messed up things. We keep being fooled into believing that we don’t need a different approach to our relationship with shadow work.

Yet we can find that nature has a lesson about the truth of shadows and really it’s lessons!

I willingly admit that what I’m sharing isn’t the end all and be all of answers. For even I am a student and I understand I can only know but a portion of any given thing. I also know that each person has their own unique journey of learning to accomplish. Yet my life’s journey thus far because of how I’m always wanting to reach understanding of things, has taught me some things.

Nature, life, our world, each human, animal, element  and all the cycles, seasons, processes  and such are always patiently teaching us important truths. Really life, nature, our world is one big classroom! What I mean by that is, our world, ourselves and life are the micro versions of truths about the much larger or macro of The All That Is and it’s truths!

So what does Nature and it’s many cycles have to teach us    about shadows and our own shadow work?

We have to start with a couple basic things about shadow. Yes, I realize you may know these basic things about how shadow needs light and usually a solid object or person, such as you! But what do these basic things about shadow have to teach us about our shadow work.

Well with this first basic fact about formation of shadow needing light and then a solid something in order for shadow to be able to happen, we then see if this correlates to how our minds and our senses work.

We take a look at our minds and how the information of various things are all first processed in our minds. Then we speak, act and such from those thoughts and we formulate ideas, judgments and beliefs about the outer world we live in. Our minds are an interesting mixture of solid and yet subtle things and our senses we use to carry out different tasks can be seen as as the light and strangely as the shadow also.

So the true point of shadow for us happens between a thought or feeling moving towards an action and or reaction with the outside world!

Shadow lies between each thought, belief, self talk, action and reactions and so much more. Shadow lies in us making our minds conscious and aware of what it’s thinking and believing. Even when we aren’t actively being aware of how we are reacting and interacting with life,  shadow is still there between the mind and outside world.

Another intersting basic fact about shadows is that they change according to the direction of light upon a thing or person!

This basic fact about nature’s ways with shadows can be an amazing teacher in showing us that change is a very natural thing within life and ourselves. Which is a really big truth that we humans struggle to accept especially about our minds and lives.

Yet nature is showing us that change is a very real and natural thing that goes on from moment to moment, day by day, season to season, year by year and so on!

Which brings us to what Spring and Autumn can teach us about shadow work!

When we look at the placement of these two seasons within the seasonal cycles, we see Spring and Autumn at mid way points towards days getting longer or shorter, and same for the night time.

Spring time’s shadow play is one where the shadows look to be getting shorter. For the sunlight during the day is at a point more directly over our home, trees and such. So it’s almost as if shadow is receding.

Another thing about Spring is we start getting excited and making plans for outdoors type of things we want or need to do. So we are engaging the outside world more and more during Spring moving towards Summertime.

This time of year can encourage us to take a good look at how we are engaging and connecting with the outside world, including our interactions and beliefs and such with ourselves and one another.

Another lesson Spring has for our shadow work is all about planting and cultivating growth of things! Spring  can be a big help in guiding us towards the things we desire and long to heal and change. Because we have positive, negative and things in between those two points. Shadow and darkness are actually neutral ground so to speak.

So all facets of beliefs and such reside there! Shadow is very much capable of holding seemingly opposing things! So when we bring this understanding into our shadow work we then can have fuller and easier access to the whole of ourselves!

So during the Spring and going into Summer we can do the work of planting and cultivating the change and healing we long to have happen. And if we understand that shadow and darkness of our minds contain all that we need or can guide us to the things we still need for growth and healing, Spring will help us in big ways to heal and change our interactions with the outside world.

Another point I want to make about shadow is it can be a gentler and safer terrain to travel versus the darkness, because we do have light along the way to help guide us better, versus what can happen with darkness! 

Which brings us interestingly to what can Autumn teach us about shadow work! I’m bringing up Autumn along with Spring in this writing because while the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing life awakening, the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing life heading towards certain levels of restfulness, of becoming dormant for a time!

With Autumn the shadows lengthen because the sunlight is at more of an angle. So we have more to shadows during the Autumn. Also in Autumn we have the nights start to get longer and we ourselves with the cooling down of the temperatures, start to stay indoors more. Autumn is the season that gets us ready for the cold and freeze of Winter.

So as we are seeing with Autumn we have a season that we have of preparation for the freezing time of Winter. This means getting the harvesting done, getting seeds planted for early spring, making sure our windows and such don’t leak and getting our Winter clothing out and many other sorts of preparations are done during the Autumn in time for the Winter freeze. Autumn then is a time of pulling inward and making preparations for the dark time we call Winter.

So Autumn as a teacher and guide helps point towards us having opportunities to do the work of understanding the inner world of our minds! 

Shadow work during the Autumn is all about navigating the inner terrain of our minds and getting to the things that limit us, shackle us, or may be toxic and poisonous that need healing. It can also though help us train up the positive aspects so that we can accelerate our growth and healing.

Another reason I am writing about both Spring and Autumn is because shadow work needs to happen in both directions of outer and inner worlds. Especially if we are doing all we can to grow and heal. We need to pay attention to how we are reacting and interacting with the outside world. While also on a regular basis doing the work of checking into what’s going on within the innner world of our minds!

For us to truly become whole and healed we must do conscious working with both the inner world of mind and the outer world of living! Hence why both Spring and Autumn are much needed teachers and guides. Because together they help us have a more holistic approach to ourselves, minds and lives!

Blessings to you all this Spring! Let it be a time of growth and healing in your life that it can be! And let Autumn guide you as you work with your inner world of mind and gain fuller access to your power!

 

 

Smoke and sanity for cannabis in the public ritual community

Did you hear that? That was the sound of several folks coughing in the ritual rooms across the nation. That sound happens when cannabis is not listed as one of the smokes present in a rite, folks who may be allergic to it. That sound is also accompanied by the sound of retreating footsteps made by persons with jobs that drug test. Contrary to popular belief in some circles, many asthma sufferers do NOT use it to help their disease. In fact, reaching for an inhaler is a common response.

Cannabis is an herb that has many ritual and recreational benefits. It also has medical ones, as well. I am not debating this in any way.

What I am finding questionable is the fact that its usage in the community, like vaping, is obnoxious in  some cases. The habit of blowing smoke into someone’s face as a part of the conversation is just as rude when it is cannabis as when it is tobacco. Actually, it can be worse, because tobacco usually will not get a person fired when drug tested.

This goes back to common manners. If people are in ritual space with you in public, it is common courtesy to ask if there are those who are smoke sensitive, or are unable to be around certain scents. To include this and not let the persons in attendance know before the rite begins is a bit negligent.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8730

The spread of legalization of using this natural herb brought with it a giddiness of freedom. That freedom began a descent into boorishness in the last years. In enclosed areas, it can be overwhelming. Not everyone wants to go home smelling in a way that can lead to a potentially horrid traffic encounter with law enforcement officers.

So, just think about asking if folks are able to be fumed with the herb next time, please.

Just to show I have no bias against those who enjoy this green gift, here is a flashback song for toking.

Living ghosts, the unconscionable art of irresponsibility

You are having a great time at the festival and are catching a bite at a lovely restaurant that serves the best angel hair pasta with herbs in the city. You share the wine and weave flowers into each others hair. Energy passes between you, and the magic moves throughout the room. Your eyes reflect the wonder and spark that comes the beginning of a new relationship sparking up into those first wisps of foundation as you gaze at your partner. You go to the restroom and return to your table.

Photo credit: Pexels

But you have made a mistake, somehow. You have found your way to the wrong table. You know this, as your date is no longer there. Clearly, this is the wrong space.

Your plate and half consumed cider give a different testimony. Right there, to the left, you can still see your napkin as you left it. The semi circles you traced in the salt by your butter bear your marks plain as day. The feeling that is pouring over you feels like cold pearls of sand in your aura.

You have just experienced ghosting.

Your face feels hot, and you feel that shocky temperature shift that accompanies cognitive dissonance. Every eye seems to be on you right now, though you know that cannot be true. You return to your seat, and look around, hoping it is a mistake.

The server comes over and has a sympathetic look on their face, yet tactfully does not address your situation. They leave to secure your bill for the evening. You search your wallet and hope you have enough left on you to cover the bill. Thankfully, you do. But it will hurt your budget.  What was supposed to be a split treat becomes a burden that spells ramen for lunch for the next week.

Awkwardness ensues. You feel uncomfortable in your skin, and all your motions to finish your meal and leave the tip feels forced and theatrical. Stiltedly, you walk out of the place with a plastic smile. The pantomime of normalcy completed, you return to your home and try to make sense of what makes no sense.

Feelings of self-doubt consume you for the next few days. You try to contact them via social media, only to find yourself blocked. The number rings thru to their phone, but no connection ever happens. Messages are unanswered, and at last you surrender. No longer entertaining the hope of some miraculous explanation that would make it all reasonable, you move on with your life….a little more wary, a little more jaded.

This is what ghosting does. This is how toying with someone’s emotions may play out in their lives. There are as many scenarios as there are people, of course. But the essence is the same. A person has refused their responsibility as a mature adult to end an association in a healthy and clear way.

Regardless of the ghoster’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars. –Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D.

This practice is not only childish, it denotes a lack of courage. It takes a measure of cowardly self centered world view to do this to another person. Unfortunately, it is on the rise and climbing to social acceptability … and it is ultimately an act of emotional violence.

This must stop. Unkindness is not what we need more of in our society. We must do better.

No one deserves to be treated this way. It is unhealthy and damaging. As thinking feeling emanations of spirit, we can do better.

Another tragedy, a new set of stripes

Again, the Neo Pagan American experience feels the shock of tragic revelations regarding sexual abuse and depravity. The suffering and victimization of Moira Greyland comes forward to the national conversations once more. Years ago, we read part of this horror show in an article in The Wild Hunt. The fact that it is a chilling look into the ways that entire empires of Personality Cults can protect perpetrators of heinous criminality never ceases to astonish this writer.

The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon by [Greyland, Moira]
The predatory nature of the narcissist, put into spiritual positions of authority, becomes writ large in our communities. The fact that our communities are fringe to the overculture only amplifies our inability and unwillingness to discuss the wolves in our midst as a body. In our race to escape the trappings of a society that seeks to oppress that which is different, we seem to lose our sense of accountability to our chosen “villages”. We throw the word leadership around ourselves like priestly mantles, yet often do none of the housekeeping inherent in the roles of stewardship.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

As Ms. Greyland bleeds out for us across the pages of “The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon”, those of us in leadership would do well to look down at the tips of our shoes. We may find the blood of our own peoples have soiled our soles, as we stepped through their silenced pains and anguish in our rush to the next festival, the next gathering, the next…whatever we find interesting and aggrandizing at the moment.

Years of abuse by one human child. Contemplate this. Years of emotional and physical destruction and violence on a person, yet not one person in our communities saw this and made a call? We keep hearing these stories, stories of familial and proximity based crimes. And yet, no universal codes or guidelines have come forth? Surely, it is time to come together and make this happen.

I will not speak to the publisher of her book’s problematic associations because that is two shades away from sideways victim slashing. A lot of that is happening right now in the high school hallway environment of social media. Talking heads, yes we have them even in the Pagan worlds, are already undermining the survivor by slamming her choice of publisher. Yet the question is, what Pagan publishing house would have printed it?

We must do better, family. We must do better, even my enemies. We must do better, those who I do not know. I claim no false kinship in this cause, but claim common humanity.

Listen, act, and redeem.

No place for stones – an editorial for the American Witch in 2017

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.

Credit: Josie Stephens |Pexels

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.

Just my two cents.

Othal is the New Black

Over the years I have had both the pleasure and amusement of watching symbols from many paths become mainstream, even fashion accessories and when followed with knowledge it’s a good thing. In a society filled with cultural appropriation this is nothing new for Pagans and Heathens. While it sometimes can prove to be just more of the same old, it’s a gradual sign of society becoming more tolerant despite outward appearances. I would love to see these trends come with information, but baby steps.

I have to constantly remind myself that our Nation is, comparatively speaking, very young. It still has some growing and maturing to do and that process is always accompanied by growing pains. Somewhere between the trendy New Age flavors in fashion today, someone got it very wrong. I, like millions of others in our country, was absolutely horrified to see symbols I hold very dear to my heart being waved as a symbol of hate and dissension. As Neo-Nazis and other like-minded groups marched through Charlottesville I couldn’t help but have a cold dread pour into my blood. A chill of foreboding perhaps, or just the utter horror of the situation on my screen and what this could mean for our family. Our baby steps sometimes cause us to stumble, fall, and get stuck in a bad, dirty place.

One of the more prominent symbols was the Elder Futhark Rune, Othal (Othala), a rune generally referring to lineage, ancestry, or something being inherited. The rune itself is a beautiful symbol of pride in one’s family, but it is also pride in the ties between our ancestors and the very land we walk on.

Othal (Othel, Othala) belong to the Aett of Tyr and is one of the runes found in the Elder Futhark, but not in the Younger Futhark. Its appearance also connects with another symbol used very often by another religious group, the Icthys. Both symbols resemble the fish and both reflect abundance but that is generally where the connections end.

Othal is derived from an Old Norse word odal connecting it to family and specifically genetic family with the natural connections between people of the same tribe. It may be first applied to ancestry or lineage and secondly to the land of the tribe. Germanic tribes and Anglo-Saxon tribes had two very different perspectives of tribal laws regarding land. In Celtic and similar tribe perspective tribes owned the land collectively and shared responsibility for the land. In Germanic perspective the individual owned the land and was singularly responsible for the upkeep and prosperity of the land. The Goths also adapted this symbol as a symbol of sovereignty connecting to divinity, specifically divine sovereignty.

Othal is a connection to each other, to the land, to our ancestry. It is the rune of abundance and of honoring our ancestors and lineage. It is not a rune of hatred and dissension. Even merkstave (if you choose to use reversals), the rune can be read as a lack of generosity, empathy, or appreciation for the land or family. It rather denotes a Scrooge character in which selfishness, greed, and lack of understanding eventually results in loneliness and loss of humanity.

In this perspective, Othal is exactly what needs to be invoked right now. Our society, our world, could use a little more nature, a little more kinship, and a lot connection to the land. Perhaps this was just the sneakiness of Loki tricking people into searching for exactly what they need hidden and disguised as chaos. Of all the symbols to become trendy, Othal is one of the best and brightest to use on the world’s runway.

It is time to Stand Against Hate!

Anyone that knows me will not expect many comments from me on political or social issues.  It isn’t that I do not care or that I do not keep up with what is going on.  I am just usually busy marketing community projects and my own business and keep my political views to myself.  This week I do not feel that I have the option to keep going with business as usual.  This week has shown us something more horrible than anything I could ever imagine happening in the United States.   This week something has happened that requires every American, every Human to stand up and say “NO!” to.

Last weekend, people calling themselves the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, Aryan Nation, etc. gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with their hate-filled chants, violence and horror.  One of those people decided to drive their car into a crowd of people with the intention of hurting as many as possible.  One young woman was killed and many more were injured.

You would think that would be the worst of it.  You would think that all our leaders would put aside  their differences and come together to assure the country that this is not acceptable.  Our leaders would stand together and assure us that the evil that showed up that day was not welcome here and all that is possible would be done to protect the country from this evil.  Assure the world that this is not representative of what is in America at its heart.   For the most part, that did happen.  Until we got to the President of the United States.

Our President, the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, stood in front of the cameras and told us that there was violence on both sides.  He told us that the counter-protesters brought clubs to the protest and implied that “they started it”.  He even went so far as to say that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.  ………..  Let that sink in for a moment.  Very fine people marching under swastikas and confederate flags.  Very fine people carrying torches and chanting hateful rhetoric.  Very fine?????!!

So here I am.  What can one person do? Many would say nothing.  I’ve been told by some that there isn’t anything you can do about it so just ignore it.  I just can’t.  Not this.

So here I am standing up and saying “NO!  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”

America was founded by immigrants.  America went through a long and bloody history to learn that equality has no color.

Perhaps the good people of America have become complacent.  Perhaps we have looked the other way too often when confronted with the ugliness of racism and hate.  We cannot do that anymore.

Stand Against Hate!  Do so in your own way but step outside the comfort zone and stand up.  I pledge to Stand Against Hate when I see it.  I pledge to show everyone that I will not participate or ignore hateful rhetoric.   Do not allow the hate to become comfortable.  Do not fight hate with hate.  But do not allow people to get away with posting or saying or doing hateful racist things.  Force them back into the shadows.

Click here to add Stand Against Hate to your profile picture on Twitter or Facebook.

There are many other ways to stand up against hate.  Consider donating to organizations that protect our liberties such as ACLU or organizations that work to identify hate groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center.  If you cannot afford to donate show your support on your social media.  Speak out when you see hate.  Contact your representatives in government and make it clear that you will only vote for people that stand firmly against hate.  Tell them you will not vote for people that do not call out those in power that support hate.

For quick reference here is a link to the directory of the House of Representatives with their phone numbers.   https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is a link to the directory of the Senate with phone numbers.  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Burgers and bigotry

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.

 

Image: Kevin-Finneran public domain

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.

Strange times and the riots’ new legacy of musical magic in Detroit

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.

Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved

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.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Paganism: Part 1 Loona’s Story

There seems to be a theme of people who have issues with the idea and the concepts of Pop Culture Paganism.  Many of these people have issues claiming that it makes pagans look bad, is full of fakes, and playgans.  Often those who cry out against pop culture paganism claim that those who would use Pop culture symbols in their worship and practice are lazy, have a lack of knowledge of the ancient traditions, and they often claim that there is an inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

For people like me this is often highly insulting.  Many of us are educated in our paths and practices.  We simply like to use the modern images from pop culture to connect to the Gods and spirits of our path.  These modern images are powerful tools for reaching the various spiritual forces out there.  These modern images can be useful in relating to beings that many people may never have heard of without the use of pop culture.

I do not identify as a Pop culture pagan.  However I have used popular culture in my path and my practice.  I see the dangers and I see the benefits of working with Pop Culture images.  This is the first in a series of posts talking about the subject.  I figured before I got into the meat of the issues around pop culture paganism it would be a good idea to start with my own experience with the use of Pop culture symbolism.

I started my path with Pop culture Paganism. It was a combination of the Disney Hercules series and Sailor Moon combined with reading the Greek and Roman Myths and books on Wicca. Now keep in mind that I was about 9-10 when this started but I still feel that this is an important thing to share.

As a child and teen these images resonated with me and helped me relate to an connect to the various Gods and spirits in the world. These images to me were gateways to the power within the Gods. Before starting what i thought was Wicca I often spoke to the Muses of Greek Myth. Originally I thought of them as angels to God, but that changed when I read the myths and realized that people believed them to be Gods originally. (I saw the movie Hercules first, then I saw the cartoon Hercules series and then the live action Xena and Hercules series). Still those images provided me a tool to connect to the power of the Gods.

I didn;’t quite understand Polytheism at the time. So for me they were “Gods” but under the main God who was the father of Jesus. You could say I was exploring my understandings within the religious framework I had been exposed to. Still to talk to an communicate with those Gods I was drawing on the image found within the Disney Movie Hercules and the Hercules Cartoon series I watched every Saturday Morning. When I spoke to Zeus or Hera or even Hades I used the images of those Gods from the source I most recognized.

When I started to explore Wicca and Paganism I understood they were not servants of one Larger God but were Gods in their own right. So I dropped the frame of Christianity and continued to speak to those Gods and work with them. I still used the images from Disney. I was now 14 and questioning religion and spirituality.

At the same time I was starting to watch the anime Sailor Moon. As the story progressed and I looked at the Sailor Senshi I saw the properties of the Roman Gods within the Senshi and I was able to find a way to focus and connect with a Moon Goddess. I knew that the image wasn’t the Goddess but it was a tool to help me focus and connect.

I used the images of Queen Serenity from Sailor Moon to connect to the moon Goddess Selene. I knew that the image I was using to connect to Selene wasn’t actually Selene, but it helped me connect to and focus on that divine presence. I had no other image or idea to connect with, so the image of Queen Serenity helped me relate to her.

17 years later and I still can find images in pop culture useful in connecting to Gods and spirits.Today when I call on Thor I occasionally use the image from the Marvel movies to connect to that energy. Again I know it is not Thor but it helps me focus and reach the actual Thor. The same goes for Loki and Odin. I use my knowledge of the lore to connect to the Gods I am trying to connect to. The image I use just happens to come from Modern Popular culture. I still use Norse Rituals to honor those Gods. I simply have a modern image of the Gods I use to connect with.

Today when working with the Moon Goddess Diana I still occasionally use the image of Queen Serenity. Most often I use that as the gateway to get to the other images I have of a Moon Goddess. These images are tools to help connect to the divine forces and nothing more or less.  They are just like the tools used in various spells or rituals.  They are props to help get into the right mind frame and connect with the energy you are working with.

In essence there is nothing wrong with using the images from popular culture in your work. If they help you connect with spirit and the universe than they are a tool for you. The danger comes when you start to claim that these pop culture figures and images are the same as the ancient Gods. Anyone who truly respects Gods as individuals would never say that. They would however more than likely admit that the images can be powerful tool to connect to the Gods they represent.