The hip of the rose: leadership in Pagan communities after crisis

When Pagan communities have unfortunate uproars, or controversies, it often leads to fissures in the communal networks. In the settling dust of the aftermath is where the remains of once seemingly seamless connections burn slowly under their own power. The hurt and anger expressed by the parties involved spill out and touch all the events, celebrations, and organizations in some way when factions draw lines over who is right, who is wrong, and who is interested in healing through discussion vs. excommunication and banishment. It is at this time that the responsibility of leadership to not only bring peace, but also truthful constructive examination and amelioration.

In these times, we have access to the power to inform one another in the blink of a cursor. Information travels as quick as the thought can leave our brains and animate our fingers upon the electronic devices that serve as our virtual avatars. Words that we would not serve in person are dished out upon the byte filled landscapes of social media. When used for confronting the pains brought by crisis, they are the stallions of our causes. They deliver the emotions and thoughts that join the fray in order to bring about justice and fairness. When used carelessly, they become hellhounds that are unleashed to destroy our opponents without the nasty inconvenience of having to look them in the eye and share the same air in the same room.

It is the wounds that words and actions inflict that must be healed. To do this, those same words must be examined and digested. The community must eat from the plate that it serves. If our words are truthful, that means the meal will be pure. And if our words are cruel, that will season the meal. If we refuse the meal by avoidance or dissembling, then we starve our souls. And if we only eat from one side of the table, we are in a state of imbalance. All sides must be present at the table if the people involved are to heal and grow stronger.

Leadership is not pushing the truth under the tablecloth. Leadership is not forcing a narrative. Leadership is not playing holier than thou, or claiming the cloak of respectability by staying silent behind group statements. Leadership does not tip over the lid of the boiling pot of problems, and then walk away to pretend nothing has happened. Leadership does not call attention to a transgression and then refuse to take the next steps.

What are the next steps? What do those look like?

The next part to any situation where hurt and pain and anger have burned through the bonds that connect us as peoples in the Pagan circles is examination. After the flash of conflict has faded, it is the time to really look at what happened and weigh how it was handled. Was it done with determination and fairness? Was it righteous? Was the will of what is right served? Are there ways that could have led to the desired outcome that may have been more productive? Did the desired outcome happen? Why, or why not? How does we heal after this?

If the crisis is legal, have the authorities been contacted? Did we follow through with making sure the reports were filed and accurate?

If it was ethical, were all parties contacted? Was there a town hall meeting type of conversation? Was there an opportunity to make amends given? Was there a desire to do so?

Now comes the part where foot to ground comes into play. What actions are leaders taking in order to decompress the atmosphere? Did they set up a forum, or simply walk away back to their regularly scheduled programs? Are there educational events or rituals scheduled in order to make peace or bury animosity? Is there any effort to heal the fractures that this may have caused? Where do we begin?

Each body of people is its own. Each will find its own way of handling what may be a pivotal moment for them as individuals and part of a greater circle of connections. However, it is the responsibility of leaders to take part in finding what that looks like…with purpose and action.

 

 

Upcoming Events

Calendar of Events
Date Event City, State Website
10/14/2017 Midwest Witches Ball 2017 Warren, Michigan http://michiganwitchesball.com/tickets/
10/15/2017 Pagan Pride Day LA/OC Long Beach, California https://www.facebook.com/paganpridela/
10/20/2017 Little Witches Ball Warren, Michigan  http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball/
11/2/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/3/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/3/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
11/4/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/4/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
11/5/2017 Flames of the Ancestors Hudson, Florida http://tagmeet.org/reg.html
11/5/2017 Changing Times Changing Worlds Kerhonkson, New York http://ctcw.net/
6/8/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
6/9/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
6/10/2018 Three Gates Gathering West Plains, Missouri http://threegatesgathering.com/
7/20/2018 New England Metaphysical and Holistic Festival Augusta, Maine theenchantedbazaar.org
7/21/2018 New England Metaphysical and Holistic Festival Augusta, Maine theenchantedbazaar.org
9/22/2018 York Pagan Pride Wrightsville, PA http://yorkpaganpride.webs.com/

Laura Perry Announces 2nd Edition of Ancient SpellCraft

Ancient Spellcraft
Does 16 years of experience make you better at casting spells? Author Laura Perry thinks so!
She has just released a newly revised and updated second edition of her popular book Ancient Spellcraft: From the Hymns of the Hittites to the Carvings of the Celts. The first edition was the first book she ever published, way back in 2001. Perry says she has learned a few things in the intervening years, and those tidbits make the second edition of Ancient Spellcraft even better than the first.
Cover of the book, Ancient Spellcraft, which has the title and author's name in red, and an old looking image of a woman in green and yellow robes in the center of the cover.
According to Perry, since 2001 we’ve discovered a good deal more about the ancient cultures the book focuses on: the Babylonians, Canaanites, Celts, Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks, Hittites, Minoans, Phoenicians, and Sumerians. She has incorporated this new information into the book for your reading pleasure.
But more than that, Perry says she has learned a lot more about magic, from both successes and mistakes, in the years since the first edition of Ancient Spellcraft was released. So she has revised many of the spells and then tested them, or had trusted friends test them, to make sure they work well for you. The spells include the all-important subjects of protection, prosperity, romance, fertility, healing, and divination.

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Ancient Oak Scouts Donate Crayons

Ancient Oaks

This year, our family joined Ancient Oak Scouts, a new-ish Pagan youth program that started here in the Detroit area.  We’re our own little group – doing any youth group or scouting program with two children with multiple special needs is a challenge, so we’re keeping it small and simple so we can work at our own pace.

One of our first projects was a community service project – we collected crayons at the end of the school year from the kids’ teachers to donate to an organization called The Crayon Initiative – they take broken or otherwise used crayons, re-melt them into new crayons, and donate the new crayons to children’s hospitals around the United States.

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Introduction to Dream Shielding

dream shielding
Dreaming is a healthy and wonderful outlet for our fantasies, fears, and emotional and physical stressors. It’s a healthy way for the body to sort out problems into a workable format, to analyze events going on in our lives, visit other verses, access the astral, feed, and even work magick. It is also a way for less ethical individuals to stalk and terrorize individuals who can’t or don’t know how to protect themselves. A basic knowledge of psychic self defense and shielding is important for everyone in the magickal community and especially so if one is being plagued by an overzealous and unscrupulous dreamwalker.
There are many different ways of handling someone like this but the primary thing to remember is that in every dream you are in control. This is your world, your thoughts, your mind, your time on the astral or aetheric. This is not someone else’s time unless you invite them in or allow them to control the sequences and events in your dreams.

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Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

At some point in our paths we have the opportunity to be a part of either public or privately held circles. Being a part of a circle is a powerful experience, builds community, cohesion, and helps to deepen our spiritual path. I have always held the best way to teach our path is to be an active part of the path, not only by books alone but by experience.

Most of us started our spiritual path in some form of Christianity with a regular church attendance. With this in mind, there were certain observations one had to make so the service was not disturbed and everyone could benefit from the experience. While Pagan circles are not usually as formal as Southern church services, there is still a certain amount of etiquette one should observe when attending either public and privately held circles. Generally, it’s just common sense and common courtesy.

13. With social media making it very easy to locate and attend circles knowing when to RSVP and when not to can be tricky. Generally if it is a public circle and it states specifically to RSVP, do. The coordinator will probably want to know how many to expect for refreshments or other post ritual arrangements, the amount of supplies necessary, space, and parking. If you are planning to bring a guest please have them RSVP also, or RSVP for them.

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Tools of the Craft : The Besom

Brooms are everywhere this time of the year. Black ones. Orange ones. Black and orange. Brooms with lightening bolts on the handle. You name it and you can likely find it on a besom. Other than the pointy hat, few other things identify witches as well, witches other than this universal accessory. Brooms have played an integral part in modern witchcraft and occult history. In fact, it would be hard to locate a circle anywhere this time of the year where a broom wasn’t somewhere to be found. It’s not just for sweeping the front porch anymore, at least not these.
As I said, brooms come in all sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns. Traditionally brooms were created from an ash or hazel (depending upon which was readily available in the area), sometimes willow, and birch branches or an herb called…you guessed it!….broom. Broom in it’s natural habitat of England, Scotland, parts of Asia, and warmer climates of Europe, has many uses, making brooms is just one. This bitter tasting herb grows as a shrub and can be used as both a toxin and a medicine. As an herbal treatment for bladder and kidney problems, and as a diuretic broom is used in conjunction with other herbs usually as an infusion over the course of a week or two until it is ready to be mixed into a potion. Unlike most herbs, this one is better taken with alcohol as it is very bitter and has an unpleasant scent after it dries and is boiled down.
The herb itself is very tall almost three feet high, woody with long tangling twig like stems, and grows in unlikely places. The rougher the terrain the happier this particular herb is. In fact, it will grow on rocky mountains in poor soil with little rainfall. This made it ideal for using as a tool or utensil for cleaning as well as magick.
Constructing brooms (besom) is pretty simple really. All that is needed is a long stave of either hazel, ash, or willow, willow twine, and long twiggy broom. The broom is connected to the stave with the willow twine and voila a besom is born! Of course the use of said besom isn’t always so simple.
Besoms were used, and still are, to clean the space for circle, to sweep away stagnant energy, as a protective barrier, to welcome guests, as a marital fertility aid (jumping the broom), and in some cases as a form of circle casting itself. Besoms placed near doorways welcome guests and ward away negative spirits. Sweeping the doorway, porch, and front of the home prevented energy from gathering and remaining there to cause problems later. In some cultures, sweeping of one’s feet meant the person in question would either get pregnant, go to jail, or get married. In other cultures it’s a way of removing the last bits of energy after shaking it loose with the besom.

Other lore regarding the besom include never sweeping with a broom while a deceased family member is in the home. A broom that suddenly falls from a door way announces company on the way. Brooms placed over the door protects against fairies and imps. Never bring old brooms into a new home and never burn a broom. Both are very bad luck.

 

The Welsh gypsy practice of jumping the broom is said to bring the newly wedded couple good fortune and many children. In parts of Africa sweeping over a man’s feet is said to bring on impotence. Of course, one can’t mention brooms without the practice of riding one.

 

The Dark Ages brought mountains of superstition regarding witches and devils. One is said to be the consort of the other and riding a broom was a reward for carrying out the devil’s work on Earth. I strongly suspect that should a Witch be able to actually get a broom to sweep his or her floor on its own, much less fly, there would be mass conversions. Certainly modern television witches have no problem twinkling their noses to a spotless home. However, Dark Age witches probably used a salve called flying ointment which was used to dress the broom for ritual use. This ointment consisted of a fatty base in which essential oils and herbs were mixed and then used to dress the broom from tip of the stave to the joining of the herb. Herbs such as wolfsbane, hemlock, henbane, and Nightshade were used and still are as a basis for charging these brooms. Charging is the practice of imparting energy onto an object so it become personal and receptive to the individual’s will. The first mention of flying ointments in conjunction with brooms and their use could be as early as the mid 1400’s.
The besom itself is a work of symbolism. It represents the union of the God and Goddess, a holy marriage, that revitalizes the Earth. Brooms may be created on May Day (Beltane, Belteanne, Beltaine, Cetsamhain), but not purchased on this day. To do so is said to sweep away friends and family and prevent visitors from returning.
Today modern witches still use the besom as an altar adornment, to sweep away negative or stale energy, and to recharge the energy in a space. They are used to cast circle, to mark the barriers of a circle, cleanse and consecrate the circle, and to prepare for smudging. Non-witches also use the broom to scent their homes, adorn their doors, and decorate their homes. It’s unlikely any of us witchy folk will be saving gas and riding our brooms any time soon, but the tradition and lore still live on.

Crystal Grid Basics

Crystal grids are all the rage in the metaphysical and natural sciences world. Scientists are beginning to explore these simple crystal patterns as a means of healing and exploring the Earth’s natural energy grids. Crystal grids are part applied science and part intuition. They work with the Law of Attraction and the natural ley lines in the Earth.

Ley lines are bands of geomagnetic energy that stretch across the globe usually beginning and ending in a mountain or hill source. Where you find ley lines you will usually also find a location of water. The Earth is naturally embraced within a magnetic field. This magnetic field can be used as a guideline for planting strong crops, finding healthy water,

Archeoastronomy, and geosciences. The ancient civilizations of the Mayans, Incans, Aborigines, Celts, Sumerian, Babylonian, and Chinese, knew of these ancient lines of energy and used them to construct sacred spaces, to conduct rites of worship, for healing, and energy work.

The Law of Attraction states simply that your thoughts translate as energy. That energy is released through intentions. Speaking or sending positive thoughts yields positive results. Speaking or sending negative thoughts yields positive results. This is a mixture of perception and belief. If you believe your life is negative it is. By keeping your thoughts positive you emit positive energy, as your thoughts and perceptions are nothing more than energy. The energy is reflected in the vibration of the energy field around your body. In terms of science, the Laws of Thermodynamics may be applied, which states simply that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but it may change form and it may be transferred from one thing to another. In this respect the energy you create with the Law of Attraction (using thoughts and perception as forms of energy) may be transferred to the crystals using the First Law of Thermodynamics. When you charge your stones this is what you are using.

By using natural laws of energy and using sacred geometry, you can create a simple, beautiful, and powerful crystal grid to attract abundance, healing, love, and tranquility into your life.

Sacred geometry applies within the shapes used for constructing pieces of spiritual art, buildings, shrines, temples, churches, and so forth. This is a very ancient form of mystical science which gives the vibration of a form a number, the number of which is applied to a specific spiritual attribute. Ideally the form should connect and be made of equal parts of the same number. Using crystals with a specific vibration is also important as this determines the frequency that your grid will emit. With the aforementioned science in mind, use this as a determining factor for your crystals:

* All things are energy in one form or another. The crystal you are holding is created from the same exact energy that also created you. All energy is derived from a central source, however or whatever you determine that source to be. Therefore you and the crystal already have an energetic connection.

* The same energy that connected you and the rock is also the same energy that connected other people, things, and creatures in the world. You are already a part of their lives by collective consciousness, and also a part of the stone. Creating and sending energy through an extensive length is space is positive through this collective connection.

* Crystals have their own energy. The numerical values of their name is not their frequency. Their vibrational frequency (harmonics) is measured by the density of the crystal which is reflected within the color, structure, and weight of the stone. Note the weight difference and intensity of color in a piece of tumbled clear quartz, rose quartz, fancy jasper, and hematite. Structural differences may add to the energetic qualities of the crystal and function, but doesn’t really affect the actual harmonics of the crystal that much.

You can use pre-set crystal grid kits or you can create them yourself. You may also use as a center stone a crystal generator, points, balls, pyramids, or merkaba. These are all used to collect, cleanse, and magnify the energy used with the grid. Use what you are drawn to, what you like, and what connects with your purpose. Excellent general use stones include clear quartz, selenite, jaspers, amethyst, aegerine, agates, moonstone, and river stone.

The Magickal Child, Creating Effective Thoughtforms

I suppose by now it would be fair to assume Mama Gaia is mightily unhappy. The Northwest is burning, Texas, parts of Tennessee, and Louisiana are having flooding issues, monsoons are hitting parts of Asia hard, earthquakes are hitting the Southwest, and Florida, the Leelands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and accompanying islands are getting slammed by Irma with Jose following up a bit too closely. This is accompanied by prayers, positive vibes and more than a little fear. But it’s also accompanied by weather magick and a big aspect of that is creating and sustaining effective thoughtforms.

A thoughtform is a carefully crafted package of energy that is triggered by a specific switch (timing, contact, or energy level) and may be an integral aspect of shielding as well. If you are not familiar with effective grounding, centering, shielding, and visualization skills this is not something you may want to attempt, nor should you.

Thoughtforms may be created during intense rites, sex magick, ecstatic worship, or deep meditation in which the energy package is given a specific purpose and also a trigger that will cause it to activate and de-activate and dissipate. This package may take on any form that is easy for you to work with. If you are comfortable working with dragon or unicorn energy, go for it! These magickal children are not limited by either physical plane nor the laws of physics any more than any other form of energy. Physical laws do not apply to them.

Begin your rite as you would any other rite. Be in a state of mind that allows you to separate from limiting scenarios and physical law. Before your rite you should gather items together that represent what you wish to achieve, what form you wish your thoughtform to take, exact details of your creation, and then set your triggers and exact details of your goals. It should have a trigger that releases it back to the Aether as well.

The latter is very important because without it it will keep going and without a goal once the one it was created for is completed, it could cause a bit of mischief. Because these packets of energy have no particular morality or charge, merely a purpose, they will grow unattended and unreleased according to whatever charge feeds it. This is why it is very important to both give it a specific purpose and a trigger that dissipates it.

You will want to raise a great deal of energy and if you are working solo there’s a lot of ways to achieve this. You may work with others through your online groups (only those you trust!), dance, drum, sing, trance, or through masturbation. All of these are perfectly reasonable and effective ways of raising a great deal of energy alone. If you are working with a group you may opt to leave out the latter option, but be sure everyone is on the same page and working as one unit. For that reason alone, this type of magick is well suited for solitary practitioners.

Now that you have safely set up your ritual you need to create details. These details allow you to easily visualize your creation. If you wish to create a sigil that embodies this working, do it.  Visualize the color of the energy you are working with. If I wanted to create a dragon, imbued with ice for instance, I would use the rune Isa, which literally means “ice”. This rune slows things down. I would resource my vast love of dragons and pull something white, silver, and gray. I would imbue it with freezing breath and chilling scales tipped with ice and I give it the elements of Sky and Sea (Air and Water). It would have a very fluid body type, very lithe, and be suitably airborne when necessary. Its purpose would be to deflect and hopefully diffuse and when the energy level of its target drops below a 3 it would be triggered to diffuse and return to the Aether. I would then give an offering, blessings, and close my space.

Other sources of inspiration could be forms of High Magick, Low Magick, sigils, cultural and ancestral lore.

Keep in mind you may set a specific time on these but the most effective magick takes time to craft and may take some time to fully manifest. These specific forms of magickal children can be very draining so you either want to keep the goal to the point or you want to give it less energy intensive tasks and a quick dissolution timeframe.

Self-care is also important as you are essentially attached to your creation while it is active. You will need to imbibe on living prana through raw fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs, walks outside, and clean beverages without the additives. When your thoughtform has dispersed you should feel less tired and more balanced.

As I’m loving the energy and coolness of the beautiful Harvest Moon, I hope whatever you choose to manifest this evening works in your highest good.