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?

You have something there, just above your chin, did you know? A year without Michael Wiggins

It has almost been a year, close to a turn of the Wheel, since Michael Wiggins transitioned from this life and into the Lands of Summer. The loss of his smile, his snark, his joy of life, leaves a tangible absence in our psychic space here in Michigan’s Pagan world. The poignancy of that lack rung like a chime through our hearts as he was honored at the opening of ConVocation 2017 by his wife, family, and friends.
Last year, I wrote that
I did not know how true those words would play out in the future.
The Phoenix Cafe continues to  honor his legacy by hosting Toys for Yule, and being a welcome and safe space for all. The spirit of creativity and artistic freedom there is an ongoing testimony to his mark. With every event, concert, showing, or gathering, the legacy continues to enrich us.

I remember one of the first time I spoke with him outside of the busy madness of events. It was after a Great Lakes Witchs Council event (Yes, I know it is not spelled properly. That is on purpose. I will tell that story another time.). I had just scarfed down several confections and he pointed out the smudge of frosting and sugar on my mouth. It was a little thing, I know, but it opened up a conversation that gave me a whole new perspective on what it must have been like to grow up at his time of youth in Detroit.

It was candid and unexpected conversations that are missed the most, now. Although the showman that he was would fill up the space of any room, it was the quiet introspection – with wry commentary – that made him a figure in my personal landscape of ideas. And I miss that, deeply, as do others who held space in that ballroom this February.
So, it has been a year – almost, and I have to wonder. If he were here, what would he make of us, this Pagan Michigan system of families? Would he look at us and smile? Or would he do his classic Michael Wiggins Judgement Shade-Turn? I guess we’ll find out on the other side. He won’t be hard to find. Just look for the gentleman holding court, dressed in steampunk, accompanied by a suspicious squirrel, larger than death, and doing it all with style.
Still giving honor where it is due. Gentleman, husband, father, entertainer, and more. And most strikingly, the only man who was able to fill a room with Pagans and get them to sing “Hallelujah”.
We miss you, Michael Wiggins. Hail the Mighty and Beloved Dead.

Deals In The D!

 "We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes" - Detroit City Moto
“We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes” – Detroit City Motto

Against all odds, The Renaissance City is truly living up to it’s name(most parts, but that’s a different post)These days!

From the University District at McNichols and Livernois to Riverside Park, Old Redford District to  the edge of Grosse Pointe, there is renewal and the Breath Of   Life flowing across my great city. As more and more people turn from Suburbanites to City Slickers, a Witch has to wonder: Where can I find great deals and support my new neighbors and City, while still getting quality service?

Well my friends, just in time for the Holidays, I have complied a list of Detroit’s Premier places to shop for all your Holistic, Metaphysical,Unique and Witchy needs! 

Now, what makes this list any different from the same old recommendations floating around, internet retailers, or your usual tried and trues? Well, EVERYONE on this list is a Detroiter and their businesses are based in DETROIT.Detroit Proper.

Detroit Proper, The land within the Highlights!
Detroit Proper, The land within the Highlights!

 

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  1. The MotownWitch – “Creative Magic” 

Now, what would Detroit be without its resident Witch? Everything offered is hand-crafted by The Motown Witch (aka High Priestess Yvette-Louise) using the highest quality ingredients.The Motown Witch is dedicated to supplying customers with the finest quality spiritual products and services. She is excellent at and offers oils, herbs, hand-crafted soaps, body butters, incense, jewelry, spiritual baths, waters, ritual powders and salts, ritual and spell work.

If you’re looking for an Authentic ATR worker that has dedicated herself to serving her community, Contact The Motown Witch at:  www.motownwitch.com  / https://www.etsy.com/shop/MotownWitch  Phone: 313-757-0689

 

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2. Sacred Stone Collections“Where Wellness and Transformation Can Ascend “

We Magickal People tend to have a rock addiction, as in stones and Crystals! This wonderful Proprietress, Fullmoon Ptah(Alisha Fullmoon Brown) is an expert in several healing modalities, one of which is Crystal healing. Sacred Stone Collections is your one stop shop. they have a vast variety of crystals in different forms. Her store consists of products that assist spiritually, mentally, physically as well as various supplies.

  • They have rough and polished crystals/gemstones in various selections such as: Yoni eggs, pendulums, stones, geometry sets, wands, merkabahs and more.
  • Spiritual products such as: White California Sage, Satya, Hem and other incense, resins, rocks, Palo Santo Wood Sticks and Florida Water.
  • Rejuvenate your body with raw Shea butter and black soap, Nubian Heritage’s Organic Soaps, Body Washes and Lotions, then anoint yourself other fine oils.
  • We also carry cast iron cauldrons, abalone shells, soapstone and wooden boxes, various velvet and silk bag for wands, crystals, Sacred Crystal eggs and pouches.
  • Other services Fullmoon provides are:
    • Crystal grid and body layouts
    • Back herbal nerve application
    • Magnetic Hematite spine realignment
    • personal and group crystal workshops
    • personal and family holistic coaching
    • Sacred Crystal Eggs Consultant and Affiliate Program(Make Money while you shop!!!)
    • gemstone consultant
    • Loctician
  • Fullmoon Ptah is also a distributor for Young Living High Therapeutic Essential Oils and Pure Herbs Herbal Extracts!

You can contact Fullmoon Ptah directly at 313-303-7765 and  www.ssccrystals.rocks

 

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3Blooming Lotus Wellness – “Because YOU ARE worth it!”

Eventually we all get to a point where we realize a need to reunite with the Divine Feminine for our healing and restoration. Blooming Lotus Wellness is a place where Women and Men can find peace, tranquility, healing and Love. Love of self and a whole being; Mind, body, soul and womb. Danyelle Claxton is skilled and trained to assist both  men and women along their wellness journey using the holistic tools of food, herbs, prayer, meditation, and exercise, to bring your mind, body and spirit back into alignment and into a state of balance and dis-eased free. The Blooming Lotus Offers:

  • Womb and Health Consultations
  • Yoni Womb Steam Consultations
  • Yoga Sessions
  • Belly Dance Session
  • Pre Natal Doula and Birth Services
  • Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Food Prep Services
  • Weight Loss Services
  • Pure Herbs Liquid Tenturs
  • Queen Afua Wellness Products

You can TEXT “BLWELLNESS” TO 28228, Call (313) 516-1789 or go to http://www.mybloominglotuswellness.com/

 

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4. Porter Bottle Company

So after you’ve gotten your Herbs, oils and rocks, you will most likely need something to package them in! Something no herbalist, Cunning person or Witch ever has enough of is bottles and jars. While you could go to a big box store, why not stay local and unique and checkout this detroit gem! While the website might not be fancy, I promise the quality and service can’t be beat. You can check them out at:

1941 West Fort Street

Detroit, Michigan 48216

Hours:8:00 am – 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday – Friday.

Phone: (866) 341-5172

Email: porter@porterbottle.com

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5. Mecca Aroma“Radiate Beauty From the Inside Out” 

Mecca Aroma® is part of a family business that has existed for the past 30 years. Mecca Aroma is importer and distributor of the finest grade “A” top quality oils. They have a huge selection of over 1,000 fragrances in stock and continuously growing each and everyday. 100% free from alcohol, we also carry burning oils, essential oils, punk sticks and natural beauty products. If you’re looking for a bulk supplier of incense and perfume supplies, or looking to get into retail yourself, all vendors are welcome. No customer is too small. They ship nationally and worldwide. Orders are usually  processed within 24 hours.  You can check them out at:

15370 Grand River Ave
Detroit,MI  48227
Email: MeccaAroma@yahoo.com
Tel: (313) 835-2295

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6. Crown’s Royalties – “Authentic To The Bone”

If you are looking for handmade, African jewelry with authentic free-trade beads and stones, check out this woman’s Facebook page! She has irresistible African Trade Bead jewelry with timeless beauty with affordable prices.CROWN’S ROYALTIES is not just a jewelry company. They also have handmade and organic body and skin products as well! You can also contact her via: http://www.crownsroyalties.weebly.com/

Phone: (313) 451 0297
email: crown7176@gmail.com

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7. Twisted Willow Soap Company – “Get Twisted”

YES, they ARE made in DETROIT. trust me, I’ve seen where the Magick happens!

This wonderful company is guided by 3 Powerhouse Women and are a favorite across all demographics. Not necessarily a Magickal company per se, however the deeply moisturizing soaps, lotions and balms work wonders on My family’s dry skin.

My Izzy gives her approval! Pictured with with LeAnn, one of the lovely Proprietors.
My Izzy gives her approval! Pictured with with LeAnn, one of the lovely Proprietors.

They have an array of wonderful scents (or, none!) and products that are great for those with special needs (Eczema, cancer, arthritis, etc) . Twisted Willow is an organic bath and body company that believes in creating a quality, luxury product that is good for the body, mind, soul, and planet. ALL of their products are hand-made in small batches, and fair trade. With the exception of a few scent oils, our products are also 100% organic. They even take some special orders!

You can find this wonderful company at:

Gibraltar Trade Center

http://www.twistedwillowsoap.com/

or Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/Twistedwillowsoap/

 

Okay people, this list is by no means exhaustive, so if you know of another little known Detroit Proper Gem of a Detroiter’s , caring is sharing so drop it in the comments!

Go Forth, Share, and SHOP SMALL!

 

 

 

That pesky first amendment and why it matters right now

Source: unsplash

So many of the issues in this election year of 2016 CE are hot buttons of emotion that one of the major rights that we have as a people being ignored is a travesty. It seems that the requisite action of any organized corporate or governmental organization engaged in controversial situations is to gag, deter, and arrest (usually unlawfully) the press. The citizenry’s rights to freedom of the press are in the United States Constitution. This is the truth, despite the odious creep and overreach of the forces that are hellbent on destroying that right with spurious interpretations under the color of law that seek to suppress the reporting that gives us the truth, without bias, from the front lines.

The journalist, the reporter, the press in its many forms, not the entertainers, are the “fourth estate”. They are the watchmen at the gate, the ear in the chamber, the eye on the arena, and the flow of information to the people. The press keep us honest, they find truth, they give facts, and yes sometimes they give opinions. Some of those opinions challenge what many would wish to hear, especially those in power, those in scandal, and those engaged in illegal, unethical, or egregious behavior. Money talks, and it buys the strong arms and stoic silence of those in the places of power who bear the duty of protecting the reporters.

With  the major news organizations being owned by very few entities, the flow of information finds itself colored, curtailed, and forced to find independent media sources that offer multiple outlets. Alex Jones, a media personality with a provocative brand that endears him to some, and outrages others, coined the term “dinosaur media” when referring to the traditional large name print and network media. In some ways, the hierarchy of the pay-your-dues brand of journalism has become the very crushing walls that are destroying many of the generational divided future news writers. In others, it is that very system that produces quality journalism relied upon to serve.

Source: unsplash
Image: Hector Martinez

However, the medium and the messages have expanded, and those on the front lines are under fire at all levels. Unless they become the talking head of delivering prepackaged news copy for our digestion from channels branded now as entertainment, it is more difficult to find the courageous photojournalists and writers who embed themselves in the news sites that matter physically. The threat, and implementation, of coercive and legally questionable tactics create a climate of fear and apprehension that has direct influence on what stories and facts you, the public, get to see.

One example is the situation at the Standing Rock Sioux and the DAPL parties. Smoky rooms and smoke and mirrors are at full steam in this situation, intimidating, arresting, and barring the free press from doing their constitutionally protected coverage of this event. From the groundbreaking small media company Unicorn Riot, to the esteemed Democracy Now, reporters are under politically motivated attack. Readers, there is something very  wrong going on here, when our government is using these tactics to hide what they are doing, and we should watch them closely because  What we are seeing is the encroaching death of the right to a free press.

To give some history on the events referred to here, let us first look at what befell the reporters from Unicorn Riot while covering a news stories. So far, four journalists were arrested while providing coverage of stories related to this news event. Two were arrested on September 13th, and two on October 7th, all clearly displaying press badges and self identifying.

During a September 13th direct action at a DAPL construction site, two Unicorn Riot journalists were targeted and arrested while reporting during a live broadcast. Our reporters were both wearing their press passes and stating “I’m press” at the time of their arrests…..

On October 7th, in Lee County, Iowa, after live streaming an action (from a tree perch outside DAPL property) during which two women locked themselves to a horizontal directional drill, another Unicorn Riot journalist was arrested and taken into custody. They have been charged with criminal trespass…  the same day as court was happening for one Unicorn Riot journalist, another was getting arrested by a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy for once again, allegedly trespassing while documenting a non-violent direct action that stopped pipeline construction. – “Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges for Covering #NoDAPL”, Unicorn Riot

Next, the story of Amy Goodman, world respected and known journalist. She, too, dared to commit the crime of press coverage at the site of the contested pipeline, and the actions of the authorities and gathered water protectors. She took photographs, and broadcast live on social media, the uncensored events that took place there with the mantle of the reporter on her shoulders. The now infamous footage of the dog attacks at the site did not sit well with the silent and tacit agreement to not cover this story by major media outlets.

This footage led to an arrest warrant being issued for criminal trespass, which has been changed to charges for participating in a riot. This fictive narrative by the powers that be seeks to now levy charges that could, if convicted, place this writer behind bars for up to 45 years. A transcript of her report can be found here at Democracy Now.

This morning, she broadcasted live regarding this case. Find the video at Democracy Now by following this link.

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/17/amy_goodman_broadcasts_from_north_dakota

Citizen journalists, investigative journalists,  and documentary filmmakers face difficult decisions and potential consequences for their work. They are on the front line. The protections afforded to big name media are not always recognized in their cases and anti SLAPP laws are not universal throughout the nation.  When the constitution was framed, it protected even the pamphlet maker. Now it would come into question whether live streams of content are equivalent in their protection.

Near v. Minnesota, ratified the Blackstonian proposition that a prior restraint — a legal prohibition on the press’s ability to publish information in its possession — will almost always violate the First Amendment. Near is a landmark, not just because it was the Court’s first decision to invoke the press clause, but because it established a fundamental precept of constitutional law — that once the press has gotten its hands on information that it deems to be newsworthy, the government can seldom, if ever, prevent that information from being published. –

On October 11, Deia Schlosberg, documentary filmmaker, arrested  in Walhalla, North Dakota, covered a story on a climate change protest which shut down four states where pipelines were carrying tar-sands oil from Alberta, Canada, into the United States. The film,How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change” was to include the direct actions of these activists. However the film footage was confiscated, she was held for two days without access to counsel, and she three felony counts of conspiracy have been charged against her for covering this story.

We need more investigative journalists, and we need to defend them. We need more news, not less. We need more stories and those to write them. Locally, here in Michigan, there is an opportunity to learn more about this on Sunday, October 30th at the “2016 Detroit Watchdog Workshop” by Investigative Reporters and Editors. Hosted by Wayne State’s Dept of Communication.  The irony of this is not lost on this writer, as this same institution has gone to certain lengths to silence award-winning columnist Steve Neavling’s Motor City Muckraker site’s ongoing reporting regarding the institution.

Suppression, intimidation, and the color of law are all being used to cut our press to minimalist writers fed their information after approved by the very persons that might stand the most to lose. This wave of censorship and stonewalling will only lead to the further erosion of our First Amendment right to have a free press. If you are not afraid of that this will mean yet, you haven’t been paying attention.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Church revival at Michigan Pagan Fest 2016

You read that title correctly,The Church Of a Poultrology had a full service and revival style workshop at Michigan Pagan Fest this year.  Affectionately known as the “Chicken Church” by local Michiganders, it  from the mind of Daemon Wilburn.

Daemon Wilburn

Daem, also known as “Mother Clucker”, is our local homegrown celebrity Pagan comedienne, teacher, storyteller, and aspiring writer.

Yes, Daem, I put you out there about your writing.

Dedicants came arrayed in varying degrees of yellow, feathers, and/or, jewelry befitting the faithful.  The altar was lovingly set with representative sacraments to the religion. All were welcome.

There was, of course, an order of service. Members arose to read the litany. As seen here.

Charge of the chicken goddess "Gather my brood, and heed the words of the great hen .....
Charge of the chicken goddess “Gather my brood, and heed the words of the great hen …..

 

And of course, in all things polarity, there was the second part to the Charge.

Reading from the charge of the chicken god: "I am the alarm clock of the universe..... .
Reading from the charge of the chicken god: “I am the alarm clock of the universe….. .

The church then began its true service. A message of unity and human connection with the Divine in all of us. That element being known as the “Yolk”.

There is one yolk, which is the one yolk, the yolk in you, the yolk in me .......
There is one yolk, which is the one yolk, the yolk in you, the yolk in me ……

An Eating of Sins occurred. All the sins of the world were absolved by this rite. The Great Hen would be proud.

Church of Poultrology eating of sins
Church of Poultrology eating of sins

A call to membership was also shared. Truth be told, everyone is already a member. This is just a formality, according to church doctrine.

 

Induction into church "I solemnly swear that I will always cook my poultry thoroughly, and with at least one of the holy sides
Induction into church
“I solemnly swear that I will always cook my poultry thoroughly, and with at least one of the holy sides

 

Blessings
Blessings

Because the church encompasses all times and all places, they accept nominations for sainthood. Members flocked to write the names of the sainted down for ceremonial recognition. Also, there was time for official ministry as part of the induction, and blessings.

The chicken is a noble bird. It is descends from the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is a symbolic embodiment of divinity and the will to survive, evolve, and thrive. If you can wrap your mind around this concept, you are already halfway there to recognizing the Yolk in all of us

I recognize the yolk in you. The Yolk, the truest self. That light. That spirit. We all have it. And now many more recognize it now. The truth was served up by the Mother Clucker, who revealed it all that afternoon at Michigan Pagan Fest 2016.

 

Poultrology is about laughter and silliness. Isn’t that enough? – Daemon Wilburn

And now, a message from Daemon Wilburn.

 

 

 

One person of faith’s perspective as spoken at Black Lives Matter in Detroit

Metro Detroit is one of the most dynamic places for all voices of all faiths and views to come together and express themselves with harmony and passion, as it did at the Black Lives Matter and Activist rally in Detroit on July 8th.  As part of a continuing exposition on this matter, we bring you another voice from that day.

A sign of the times. - Photo: Kenya Coviak
A sign of the times. – Photo: Kenya Coviak

Continuing meeting and rallies are filling the calendars of activists across the state of Michigan.  Saginaw’s own community recently had a rally for the sake of peace.  Law Enforcement and community leaders came together with the people to find hope and strategies.  It was an Uplifting Peace Rally held by the New Ezekiel Project.  These folks are  seeking

“to contribute to the positive revitalization of the are through outreach in the areas of transportation, educational projects, and police and community action”. – Detroit Paganism Today

 

 

 

BLM demonstration at Campus Martius through a Pagan minister’s eyes in Detroit

I had my sandals on the ground, and my clergy supplies on deck at the Black Lives Matter and Activism demonstration in Detroit on July 8th in Campus Martius park.  Young and old, all nationalities, colors, creeds, genders, and paths gathered together as a shining example of how a peaceful and effective event, held and maintained to spread and exalt the cry for justice, is powerful.  “No Justice, No Peace …. I’m Fired UP, I’m Fed Up”, and more sounded again and again creating an egregore of dynamic moral outrage and focus.

Prayers and speeches punctuated the event, along with spoken word pieces.  Teachers, activists, clergy, everyone near and far answered the call.  Members of several underground Kemetic organizations were in attendance and unified.

Emily, a teacher from Detroit Public Schools, came out to share how she sees what is going on today.  She lays plain the situational despair of teaching in substandard conditions.  She is “fired up” and granted this interview.

 

More stories will be coming from this amazing day.  Watch for them.  And be the change with them.

Dancing with Soul

Wednesdays are the most exciting, yet busy day for me. Not only is it the usual “hump day” drama, but I also have to go to Church.

Wait, a Witch that attends church?!?! Are you Christopagan?

No, Far from it.

So….. What Gives?

It’s not “Church” or Bible Study in the traditional sense. It is a midweek break that I give to myself to reconnect with My Soul via dance; Afro-Cuban folkloric Dance to be exact.

I attend, Dance Church, presented by the Community Drum & Dance Society!

Photo Credit: M. Graves
Photo Credit: M. Graves

Imagine if you will, running around and stressing all day, coming home, showering, putting on a tank top, some wicking shorts or capris, and 12-25 yards of skirt, jumping in your car to drive to a lively, nondescript building in Corktown, Detroit, getting to the door and suddenly being surrounded in… PEACE!

Me in a 25yd skirt . I'm 5'4. It's a lot of skirt.
Me in a 25yd skirt . I’m 5’4. It’s a lot of skirt.

Sandalwood incense greets you as you enter and all of the stress that was just on you just drops. Your kindly greeted as you sign in with a warm smile and inquiries about your past week.

You’re among your own, no men are here except the Drummers who you hear warming up and getting in their places.

A group of sisters are in the corner sending up prayers and petitions for one another; some are paying their respects to one of any of the altars that are around.Some are stretching on the dance floor. The initiated Greet the Iyalorisha, or Priestess in the Santeria/Lucumi tradition, in the prescribed way; other just give her a warm hug. As you scurry to the dressing room to place your shoes and other gear, you’re greeting again by those dressing for the session. Waist Beads, headwraps and voluminous skirts abound.

Afro-Cuban Master Class with Danys "La Mora" Perez @ Ordway June 2011
Afro-Cuban Master Class

As you re-enter, you find a space and prepare for The Talk. See, the first 15 or so minutes of class is filled with centering , meditation, and then Iya, the instructor, gives us a message of encouragement. Backing her are rhythms of many drums, and yet they are quiet enough where everyone can hear.

She may talk about us walking in greatness, fulling our destinies, stomping out fear, or just remind us that this isn’t a technique class, but a soul class. It isn’t about getting all the steps perfectly, but, lining your soul up with the steps (It’s a difficult concept to grasp at first.).

Not all who are here are part of an African or Diasporic path. In this room are Sisters of many Shapes, Sizes, faiths and backgrounds. Some are married, some single. Some are Straight and Some are Lesbian or Bisexual. Most are of an African Ancestry, however there is Latino, White and other Sisters there too.
We move as one. Some on different skill levels but we all move as

One. One beat, one Purpose. 30-60 women in a small studio with 8-10  Male drummers. We mimic the movements Iya shows us, all doing the same movements, and yet each personality shines through.

There is none of the typical cattiness that comes when women dance in front of men; They are like so professional and trained that they fade into the background, unfazed by the various level of dress or undress between us. Even with skirts flying up and around, none gawk, leer or prey. They are highly attractive, but we dance for the Spirit, not them. We are safe to be us.

ALAFIA at Cuban Music Festival (CREDIT: Jennifer Gonzalez)
ALAFIA at Cuban Music Festival (CREDIT: Jennifer Gonzalez)

We end in a Circle with the drummers making up one site. Here’s where the real magic comes, for anyone who is moved to is given the floor to Dance to the rhythm. As the spirit moves the sisters they take their turns Dancing and gyrating  to the beat, feeling different levels of Spiritual ecstasy. Some dance in pairs, some even throw other West African movements in. When all is past, we gather in front of the drums and bow, then we salute them for the messages they have brought. A collection is taken to show our appreciation, and to make sure we have drummers next time.

Batá drums. From left: okónkolo, iyá, itótele. Photo: Harold Muñiz
Batá drums. From left: okónkolo, iyá, itótele. Photo: Harold Muñiz

drenched in sweat, in different levels of disarray, we redress, or naw, and bid each other farewell with hugs , kisses and bows. You can tell that we linger because we wish it to never end, but as with all good things it must. You re-enter the world and the breeze off of the water cools your heated skin and awakens you from you Euphoria. Well, I  have just enough time to wipe off and head to my overnight shift. I’m tired, sore, and my ankle kinda pops.

 

I can’t wait to do it all again!