Celebrating Beltane Dragon Hills Style

 

When you spend a long time among the various businesses within the Pagan community as I have, you tend to get asked quite often whether or not you know of any events at which the business owners could vend. I am often approached by various members within the Pagan community who are simply looking for events to attend where they can congregate with peoples of like-mind. Within the North Georgia community, we used to have quite a few of these events without having to travel very far; these days we’re far more hard-pressed to find any local Pagan or Pagan-friendly events that are less than an hour’s drive away from the Metro Atlanta area.

As much hassle as it can be to load and unload, transport and fuel up when carting around your wares, there are some things many brick-and-mortar and small business owners look for in an event to make sure it will be worth their while when they’re looking to travel the vendor circuit.

  • Is it local? — How far am I willing to travel?
  • Is the venue indoor or outdoor? — Some people can’t stand to be in direct sunlight or heat/cold too long! Health reasons.
  • Is there electricity? — Some vendors need light and WiFi to show their wares and take credit cards!
  • Will I need to book a hotel, can I do primitive camping, or does the venue have lodgings within my price range? — Everyone has their own comfort level needs.
  • Vendor fees! — Some events charge just a vending fee by booth space, some charge only admission, some only require a donation for raffles, some a mixture of all of the above. Each venue is different!
  • Is the venue staff friendly and responsive? — If you don’t click with the staff, chances are you won’t like the overall feel of the event. You need to know the staff running the joint is reliable and available when you need them.
  • Is it a single or multiple day event? — For some people, traveling more than an hour with a lot of precious cargo is not worth only vending for a few hours. They want to be able to set up for a full 2-4 days! Is it worth it?
  • Is it family-friendly? — Several people have a hard time finding events that welcome children within the Pagan community!

 

If you live within the North Georgia area, look no further than our very own Dragon Hills Retreat in Bowdon, Georgia. Two years ago I attended the three day retreat for Beltane in 2016. I had heard some not-so-good things about the venue when it was under different ownership in previous years, and as I did not know the new owners, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the staff was not only welcoming, but also very pragmatic. Suffice it to say that when I left, I knew most assuredly that I would be returning again.

 

Dragon Hills Retreat had everything from accessible WiFi, a large indoor, shaded barn for indoor vending, plenty of open space over a few acres of land for outdoor vending and recreation to camping, and if going primitive isn’t your cup of tea, they also have cozy 1-2 bed cabins with electricity and air conditioning!

Click for Event Facilities

 

Wide open spaces!

 

Flash forward two years later, as I had not been able to return for Beltane the year prior, I received the invitation as I do every year to celebrate Beltane at Dragon Hills Retreat for 2018. With a little spare time on my hands, I decided…why not? I enjoyed it thoroughly in 2016. I chipped in with one of my students to get a cabin and two booth spaces. After getting mixed reviews about the weather conditions, we were told it would be clear all weekend the day-of.

 

We showed up, registered, unpacked, and immediately jumped into the fray, excited to meet and greet old friends and eager to make new ones. The weekend promised multiple vendors, a few lovely workshops from making your own wands and staves to an open discussion lecture on empathy and the various types that are out there. Additionally I was stoked for the rituals and the late-night fireside drum circles!

 

Building up the fire for the drum circle!

 

Totally unexpectedly, I had a run-in with one of the vendors who just so happened to be an old friend and fellow member of the Pagan Business Network, Aislin Morrhiaghan of Transcendence Artes. She set up shop inside the barn where she had plenty of shade and was close to the other vendors and workshops. We got to talking and I asked her what she enjoyed most that weekend about Beltane at Dragon Hills…

Click for Transcendence Arts Facebook

“The thing I enjoy most about celebrating Beltane at Dragon Hills is meeting all of the new people! It’s really exciting, nice to get out, a beautiful scenery, but all of the different people and personalities I get to talk to have made this a most enjoyable weekend.” – Aislin Morrhiaghan

Indeed even though several faces were familiar to me from 2016, I did see several new (to me) faces and I was curious to get to know them. Another such new face was a traveling crystal and mineral vendor, Mary Scheidell of Eclectic Treasurez. Dragon Hills had seen crystal and gemstone vendors before but the collection that Mary provided from Eclectic Treasurez was only a fraction of her total inventory which was spread out across multiple events that weekend. I was even more pleasantly surprised to find that Mary had already heard of the Pagan Business Network and PBN News from a friend of hers who had a membership. She was already carrying our brochures and business cards!

Click for Eclectic Treasurez Facebook.

 

Mary travels to various events across the country, selling and collecting crystals and minerals. Her selection was an absolute cornucopia of variety. When asked what she enjoys most about her job, she said,

Mary Scheidell

“…more than the traveling and buying and selling for business, it’s the fact that I help people. People come to me looking to buy something but they always end up needing something in their lives, if nothing other than an ear to listen. I’m happiest when I’ve been able to help someone.” – Mary Scheidell

With a whole weekend ahead of hiking, summer sun, workshops, vendors, rituals and nightly drum circles — and let’s not forget about the potluck dinner and raffle prizes! — it was an absolute blessing to find two particular vendors there who could help you unwind, relax, and destress from your earlier week to prepare you for a weekend of summer fun.

 

Licensed Massage Therapist

How could you go wrong with an affordable licensed massage therapist on-site providing anywhere from a half-hour to hour-and-a-half massages with hot packs and hot stones?! Nothing says de-stress like some relaxing massage available all weekend long.

 

Adding onto the spa-like treatment available that weekend was Usui Reiki Master/Teacher Mason Lightbourne of White Light Practices, a student of the Bellehaven Family Tradition of Witchcraft, and a Thumbtack Professional since 2016, with his own booth providing hour-long Usui Reiki healing sessions and intuitive tarot readings, all for love offerings. So you had the ability to get a relaxing massage and then drop by to have your chakras realigned and energy blocks removed all within the span of two hours!

 

Click for White Light Practices Facebook.

 

Reiki and Tarot

 

Rev. Bellehaven’s booth – PBN, PBN News

 

 

With all of the vendors, the opening ritual near the Faerie Garden, the beautiful scenery, nightly drum circles, and the crafting and Empathy workshops, how could this weekend get any better?! The stunning Ritual Hill awaited as all of the women participating in the main ritual tied ribbons onto the May Wreath which would eventually adorne the top of the Maypole –which the menfolk were out in the forest selecting at the same time.

 

Goddess Artemis – Gatekeeper of Ritual Hill

 

May Wreath
Maypole erected on Ritual Hill

 

After some trial and error regarding the length of the maypole, we finally got it erected and the ribbons secured to prevent tangling in the wind. We went downhill to partake in the Saturday evening potluck and announce the raffle prize winners. Once the sun finally began to fall and set the sky ablaze in hues of pinks and yellows, we began our ritual. The altar was beautifully adorned, and for cakes and ale we had homemade cheesecake with shredded coconut garnish, and wine (sparkling cider for those who could not consume alcohol as this was a family-friendly event.)

Beltane altar.

 

Once all was said and done, we finally began our dance around the maypole. I have to say, the view atop Ritual Hill was absolutely breathtaking and set the whole mood for the ritual. It was all coordinated by a Druidess, the Dragon Hills Ritual Coordinator in charge of a majority of their major rituals.

May fertility dance.

 

At the very end of the fertility dance they announced the May King and Queen! Two volunteer staff members who had shown up to several work weekends at Dragon Hills to help set up for Beltane as well as Hawkfest only a week or so earlier, working on the property, getting things in tip-top shape for attendees. They worked very hard and had no idea that a vote had been taken to name them the 2018 Beltane May King and May Queen. Together they offered their blessings as the embodiment of the God and Goddess, giving each ritual attendee vials of solar water charged with rose quartz just before leaping over the Baelfire.

May King and May Queen of 2018

 

That night we held a large and very lengthy celebration by the drum circle that involved much chanting and drumming, even some acoustic guitar. Spirits were high and the night concluded on a blissful note. The following morning a few of us awoke early to go to the opposite end of Ritual Hill for some early morning Tea and Meditation. In the picture below you’ll find Druidess Jamie (Dragon Hills ritual coordinator), Rev. Jonathon Bellehaven; M.Th. (PBN, PBN News, Bellehaven Family Tradition) and Mason Lightbourne (Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, White Light Practices, Bellehaven Family Tradition) atop ritual hill for tea and meditation.As the morning wore on, we decided to move the event back downhill for some Tea and Tarot before everyone began packing up.

 

Tea and meditation!

 

All in all the weekend was absolutely astounding. Even the little bit of rain we did end up receiving did absolutely nothing to dampen the spirits of every Beltane celebrant in attendance. Dragon Hills Retreat will be hosting Hawkfest in September, and a Samhain event in October, and I know I certainly intend to be present for both! Upcoming in October as well is a Women’s Retreat where the massage therapist Ryan and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher Mason Lightbourne will be present offering a spa treatment package for an all-ladie’s weekend themed to the movie of “Practical Magic.” Check out their official website and find them on Facebook for dates and further upcoming information!

PBN Blues Series: Willie Dixon – If The Sea Was Whiskey

Today we are going to talk about the addiction of loved ones. As practitioners, we will often be approached in our business life with the requests of a person who has friend, or family member who has a substance abuse problem. The most common situation is alcoholism in this region because of the legality and ease of purchase of liquor and beer.

Because this is a life issue, it is a matter of a controlling magick. For some this might be outside of their regular scope of practical wares. But in this case we are going to be in a setting where controlling work is allowable to the worker’s moral matrix.

The ability to discern the correct products and methodologies regarding each client’s situation is important. It is equally important to address the fact that the issue may be a symptom of something greater going on, or may not be. That is where consultation and divination comes into play.

Yourmanstan
Yourmanstan

A little too quick to call it

Johnny W. has come to you regarding his wife Edith W., the love of his life. They have been married over 20 years. Recently they traveled to Georgia, and once they returned Edith W. began to drink. Not really alarmed at first, Johnny W. began to notice that instead of going out occasionally to drink with friends, she started purchasing liquor.

Johnny W. explains that in the last month Edith W. has purchased liquor by the gallon twice. She drinks on a daily basis, where before now she only would imbibe once every few months. Their relationship is now strained. She is belligerent and hateful in her intoxicated state and seeks out reasons to argue. He is at a loss of what to do.

You decide that what he needs is to sweeten her up with a honey jar to make her listen to him. You have always wanted to try this kind of thing, so you want to experiment.  You add to this a bit of domination oil, and a bit of poppy seeds. You do not pursue the cause of the issue, only focus on his immediate goal of trying to stop the fighting. He purchases your creation and leaves.

A couple of weeks later Johnny W. returns to you. He is heartbroken and angry. His wife’s behavior has gotten worse, and often she is confused about simple things. Though they do not fight as much, the drinking is getting worse. You stand now wondering what to do.

A little closer look

Johnny W. has come to you regarding his wife Edith W., the love of his life. They have been married over 20 years. Recently they traveled to Georgia, and once they returned Edith W. began to drink. Not really alarmed at first, Johnny W. began to notice that instead of going out occasionally to drink with friends, she started purchasing liquor.

Johnny W. explains that in the last month Edith W. has purchased liquor by the gallon twice. She drinks on a daily basis, where before now she only would imbibe once every few months. Their relationship is now strained. She is belligerent and hateful in her intoxicated state and seeks out reasons to argue. He is at a loss of what to do.

You are an experienced worker, so immediately something in this story struck you as significant. This behavior change began after the trip to Georgia. You know that there had to be a catalyst.

Voodoo_doll_Louvre_E27145b
Nude female voodoo doll in kneeling position, bound and pierced with thirteen pins. Found in a terracotta vase with a lead tablet bearing a binding spell (katadesmos). – Marie-Lan Nguyen

You ask Johnny W. why they were in Georgia. He tells you it was a high school reunion. You ask him if he met anyone there that did anything he would find unusual. He tells you that his old sweetheart was there and that she took he and his wife home for a nightcap that evening to catch up on old times. They were offered the hospitality to spend the evening before driving back to their hotel.

You ask if Edith W. is missing any items. He finds this strange, but as a matter of fact she was missing her makeup bag and hairbrush. His old sweetheart had even called him recently to reassure him that it was not at her home. She calls a lot lately. It was at this moment the realization comes across Johnny W. that this is more than carelessness.

You recommend a divination. This allows you and Johnny W. to confirm the suspicion of enemy work. The fact that Edith W.‘s personal concerns are missing is a red flag.

Your reader is able to determine the working and the solutions needed. You assemble the necessary components and consult with Johnny W. about what can realistically happen at this point to reverse the condition.

Because this is a serious situation, you give him a multilevel approach. First cut the work. Then bind the worker next. Simultaneously, he will work to heal his wife and their relationship. Because you feel it is necessary, you give Johnny W. some acacia oil and recommend the “To Quit Drinking” ancestor working found here at mojomoon.net.

Magick without works is hamstrung. You advise him to seek counseling for his wife and himself in order to repair some of the damage.

 

Resources:

Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention: 800-234-0246

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline and Treatment: 800-234-0420

Alcohol Hotline Support & Information: 800-331-2900

Learning to live the Tarot Series- Part 1

Dru Ann Welch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slovenščina: Smrekarjev tarok.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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