Detroit Pagan Pride invites mystery and murder into Madison Heights

On March 18, the folks at Detroit Pagan Pride will team up with the Following Your Heart Players to provide a unique fundraising experience. The Pagan Pathways Temple will transform into the setting for an interactive murder mystery event. All ages are welcome to this night of fun, food, and enjoyment. The fun starts at 7pm, so be sure to get your seat early.

Detroit Pagan Pride Flyer

Tickets are $15 for a Single or $25 for a Couple.  An additional  charge of $5 will be added to tickets purchased at the door. Tickets are available for sale at Pagan Pathways Temple located at 28736 John R Rd, Madison Heights, Michigan. You can also find them through their website at http://paganpathwaystemple.org/.

The venue includes a spaghetti dinner, salad, and dessert. The main feature, of course, is the interactive experience brought you you courtesy of the Following Your Heart Players. A fundraiser, the proceeds are set to help support the Detroit Pagan Pride Day.

For updates information, follow their Facebook listing for the  Murder Mystery Dinner.

A Day of Comforting: A Humaning Event

This past Saturday I attended an event at Pagan Pathways Temple which is in the city of Madison Heights, MI. They called their event “A Day of Comforting“. This was an event open to anyone that needed to have a safe space to share about their fears and emotional turmoil and pain. It was open to all peoples and we all made sure to wear a safety pin, so that folks could see a physical sign that this was a safe space, to be heard and supported and to be there for others.

We were encouraged to not only talk about our fears and such, but to also write them down or draw them on pieces of paper that was later burned. We were encouraged also to let our inner child have fun with sidewalk chalk. Drawing and writing loving affirmations, giving support , comfort and encouragement to those that passed by and read them. And a bonus thing of giving others smiles as they saw this sidewalk art and writing.

We also had opportunities to write loving, supportive words of wisdom on posters that has a word or phrase to get us started. These posters are to be placed in the front windows, so that these will be a more permanent display of love and support.

Here are a few of them. A couple are my own personal contribution to the posters.

  • Your body loves you!
  • This planet loves you!
  • All creation loves you!
  • Though I may not know you, I love you!
  • Now look in a mirror and love yourself!
  • No one is perfect.
  • We are all beautifully flawed.
  • We are all worthy of love.
  • Love yourself!
  • Face and listen to your fears, anger, pain and challenges. Its how you learn to love yourself and then also others. It’s how you learn what compassion and understanding is all about.
  • Never be afraid to be yourself! You are beautiful just the way you are! Never change for anyone!

These affirmations, and more, were shared. They will act as guiding lights of comfort, support and understanding. These words will awaken in us to be alright with ourselves and our lives. And it is this person’s hope that this will spread as far as it can go. That this will be a thing that we can practice each day. Treating ourselves and one another with compassion and understanding. They also help us while we express our more challenging feelings, to also then release and welcome healing , loving thoughts and deeds toward ourselves and others. For while we were releasing our fear and such we were also embracing love, compassion and understanding, making sure that  we were not staying trapped in the things that were causing us fear or turmoil.

So today I share this story with you. Let this story and what has been shared be a guiding light for you also!

2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day Spiritual Transformations

The folks at Lansing Pagan Pride Day sent us a great press release about their event on August 27, 2016. We are going to present it here so we can spread the word. Thank you, Tanya the PR Queen, for getting it to our writers so quickly. This is their event as a local chapter of the Pagan Pride Project.

 

The Pagan Pride Project
The Pagan Pride Project

It is with great pleasure that the Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is announcing the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day Event.  The event will be filled with vendors, classes, rituals, music, kid’s activities, swag and a food tent.  The event will be held at the Valhalla Park in Holt, MI from 10am to 6pm. Free to attend which also includes classes and rituals!

Each year the Mid-Michigan Pagan Council adopts a theme that guides the climate of the event.  This year the theme is Spiritual Transformation. This theme was inspired by the Elder Futhark rune Eihwaz. Eihwaz, pounced “Yew-was”, dates back to proto Norse.  The meaning translates to “the axis or process of spiritual becoming.”   This rune indicates change, transformation, confrontation of fears and assertive powers.

As part of this theme a public ritual will be performed by the Mystics of Rhea Lur coven.  Mystics of Rhea Lur is based in Corunna – Owosso area.  They are an eclectic based coven that has been practicing for approximately ten years. The coven is non-high priest/ priestess basis and is led by two elders – Helen Griffus and Cathy McQuillin. This will be their first public ritual. This is a participatory ritual and is open to anyone.

Education will be offered through several classes throughout the day.  These classes are open to anyone seeking information, change or out of sheer curiosity.  The classes will be taught by highly-regarded Michigan pagan community members such as: Helen Griffus from the Mystics of Rhea Lur coven, Stan Nunn and Geralyn Mystic from Pagan Pathway(s) Temple in Detroit, Melissa Hill from Cedarsong Grove and LeAnn Crouch a local solitary practitioner.  These experienced teachers will provide the skills, tools and advices to achieve higher spiritual functioning.

Offering many wonderfully hand-crafted products and other goods to help create the Spiritual Transformation in your life, is our local vendors. The Lansing Pagan Pride Day open-air market vendors will offer a variety of goods that range from baked goods, oils, jewelry, altar supplies, books, divination tools to natural health and beauty products, home décor and clothing. Just some of our vendors are:

  • GothicMoms DarkCharms
  •  Cedarsong Grove
  • Living Roots Creations
  • Moonlight Magic & More
  • Tarot by Roz
  • Archaic Circle
  • The Enchanted Oak
  • Body Hart and Soul
  • Momento Mori
  • Mother Moon
  • Brady Street Bakery and Confectionery
  • Copper Bear Creations
  • Alex and Jayde Kids
  • Children’s Activities Tent.

No event would be complete without food!  Spending the entire day at this fun-filled community event will surely work up an appetite. Stop by the food court for a bit to eat.  Reasonable prices with a wide range of foods to choose from that is friendly to most diets – including homemade five-star vegan veggie burgers!

While you’re there don’t forget to pick up some swag to let everyone know that you participated in the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day!  Show off your pagan pride by purchasing your very own official 2016 LPPD Spiritual Transformation tee-shirt! Shirts are available for pre-order – see the website listed for details.

And finally – stop by and say “hi” to the proud sponsors of the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day: Dark Candles •. Universal Society of Ancient Ministries • Pagans In Need-Lansing.  Their generous donations helped to make this event possible.

The Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is committed to the strength and growth of our Pagan community. We value all pagans, from the individual to the family, the solitaire to the coven, and the merchant to the store owner. The Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is without tradition, as we celebrate spiritual freedom, fellowship, and personal beliefs. We support an individual’s right to believe and practice what is true and right for them. We will strive to build a strong pagan community in the Mid-Michigan area that is supportive, and a topic of pride for all persons involved.

Having attended this event once, I can honestly say that I had a really good time and highly recommend it. They have been around for a few years now, and the staff are committed and have a lot of heart. The park is spacious and there if plenty of time for learning, contemplation, and family fun.

For more information about the Lansing Pagan Pride Day, you  can contact Carrie Zay or Nichole Ellwagner at 517.402.1026 or 517.331.0771 or email info@lansingppd.org.

 

Talking about Pagan ministry from the shores of the Fresh Water Seas

Serving as an ordained minister for a several years now, I have found it necessary to form my own moral matrix of beliefs and practices.   The one-size-fits-most rule does not work in life when dealing with the myriad paths and traditions here in the Pagan and alternative worlds of spirituality.

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Highpriestess Reverend Belladonna Laveau is the leader of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. – Lunireal

Two years ago, I committed to teaching an outer court grove.  During the Year and a Day studies, conversations arose about what the basics of being clergy are.  This cause me to challenge the commonly held standards, and question who and what cultures codified them?

Cherry Hill Seminary, and other groups strive to serve as the established model arbiters of this.  But they are not the only route to being living, practicing, clergy.   More importantly, they do not represent me.  Academic training is marvelous, but it does not invalidate the experiences and education of on the ground application of the skill sets needed in non-rarified spaces.

Authors such as Belladonna LaVeau broach the subject in published works.  Her “Awakening Spirit:  WISE Seminary, First Year Certification for Wiccan Clergy”  serves as one of the standards for the new generations.

But what of the non-affiliated among us?  What standards do we choose ?  How does one be a “clergy alone”?

My first attempt to name my standards resulted in this list.  In may of these, I highly recommend that those who have the feeling that they are not sufficiently prepped in certain areas to take additional classes and training.  Many are free or low cost.  Some are available through grants.  Continuing education is an integral part of life long development for ministry.

1. You should have at least attained the age of 21. Why? Because you sometimes need to be able to enter a bar and pick up your damn covener/parishioner from the damned floor and take them to the car.  You should also be able to have discernment and wisdom so that you can make the decision whether or not to take a person to the hospital or other care facility.

2. You should also be able to enter into contracts and be able to understand them.  You should also be able to compose correspondence, serve as a character reference for those in your care, and be able to testify if called on.

3. You should know the laws on Confession. And be able to use them to protect yourself and your client.  This is in reference to the protections afforded and the responsibilities.  This is the rite of the seal of the confession for a Pagan minister/priest.

4. You should know the laws on Mandatory Reporting of information to the civil authorities in your state.  In many states, by being an ordained minister, you are required by law to report harm, intent to harm, and abuse.   In different nations, so when traveling it is critical to know the laws of the land in which you practice.  Persons who fall under these laws are

  • Child care providers
  • Caregivers
  • Clergy, although Clergy-penitent privileged communication is exempt in some areas.
  • Counselors and other Mental health professionals
  • Medical examiners and coroners
  • Health care providers
  • Police and other law enforcement officers
  • School teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, principals and other school personnel
  • Social workers
  • Abortion clinic staff (in some states)
  • Family Life Educators

5. You should know the laws and requirements governing marriages and weddings in your state and for other countries. Also, you should know the requirements to officiate a marriage for someone who has divorced and what paperwork you need.

6. You should know the protocols, rules, and laws on Hospice, Medical Advocacy, Medical Directives, DNR orders, and rudimentary statutory will forms so that you may aid your client to get these resources.*

7. You should know the laws on Birth, Paternity, Foster Care, Kinship Programs, and Adoption so that you refer to sources of information and advocacy for your clients.*

8. You should know the laws on Prison Ministry, even if you do not do this service, and update your knowledge of Prison Chaplain requirements in your state.*

9. You should know the laws on Burial Rites, and have a resource guide for those making end of life decisions.*

10. You should have at least a rudimentary knowledge on Substance Abuse Education and Treatment Programs. Even better, at least some training in this area.*

11. You should have access to mental health service providers, and be experienced enough to know when SOMEONE’S PROBLEMS LIE OUTSIDE OF YOUR SCOPE OF LAY SPIRITUAL COUNSELING. You should know the laws on referring someone for treatment.

12. You have studied, or at least familiarized yourself with the basics of, military chaplaincy and the rights of the people of your faith group

13. You have earned the respect of you, yourself, and others in your peer group as someone who is of good character and consistency*

14. You have cultivated the qualities of leadership in yourself and can undertake hard decisions with fairness and firmness, yet be able to temper them with mercy and discernment

15. If you are of a martial bent, you have the mettle and the character befitting a spiritual leader, and a channel of inspiration and bravery in battle

16. You  act as a Judge in the community, impartial and fair, with Wisdom

17. You should have a set of basic rituals on hand.  This is to include ritual music, chants, and songs.

These include occasions, but not limited to, the following:

  • I. Wiccaning/Baptism/Initiation
  • II. Wedding/Handfasting/Commitment Ceremony
  • III. Divorce/HandParting Ceremony
  • IV. Memorial Services
  • V. Funeral Service/Rites
  • VI. House Blessings
  • VII. Blessing a Person
  • VIII. Rites of Passage Ceremonies
  • IX. Saging/Croning
  • X. Warrior Rites
  • XI. Queening/Fathering
  • XII. Surgical/Medical Pre Prayers
  • Others

Rev. Terrie Brookins pointed out to me something critical when she proofed this.  You should also be able to WRITE rituals as well.  If you don’t know how, try to learn.  If you just cannot, then find a great ritual writer. Why?

since not everything is readily available on Google and often times, clergy members are on the spot, in the woods, with no cell signal.

Also, be mindful of the health and safety of others during rituals and devotions.  Allergies, food intolerance, food allergy, sensitivities to smoke or anointing oil ingredients, aversion to ritual components, these are all factors to weigh.  Be ready to adapt, adjust, and advocate.

Ritual Oil and Matches - Photo: Kenya Coviak
Ritual Oil and Matches – Photo: Kenya Coviak

18. You explain what your beliefs are and some of their history.

19. You avoid shock and awe, but engage in quiet, polite, civil theological conversation in general with other ministers of their faiths about matters of spirituality and life

20. You should know the meanings behind every tool you use, every ritual, and every hand gesture you use in YOUR practices

21. You should have some sort of First Aid Training (this includes Mental First Aid)

22. You to walk into a room and hold your ground, soundly, in the face of those who would ridicule you

23. You should bring no disgrace to those who associate themselves with your ministry

24. You should bring honor to your faith, and associate nothing false

25. You advocate for the weak, no matter the faith

26. If you are of a martial bent, you stand at the forefront of social causes to the best of your ability if your conscience moves you so

27. You should have no fear, nor eat your heart, when you witness something evil or wrong and call it out

*Never hesitate to call in someone who is an expert in this area for help.  And always be aware of a pro bono lawyer or legal aid office that can help here.

In addition to these, there are some experiences that make really good clergy. Not all, but at least some of these are necessary for a balanced view of life.  Some experiences leave the etchings that complete our belief windows.

A_moment_of_red_between_night_and_day
This picture from Jim Corbett is not a mere picture but a system of light and darkness and how even though bent with weight of life, there is an urge to get up from the shadows of night to the sunlight of day – Nimar Dang

1. You have lost someone close to you to death
2. You have had a major medical procedure
3. You have had a brush with death
4. You have had a child
5. You have dealt with someone with a substance abuse issue OR had one yourself OR both
6. You have volunteered to help those less fortunate and/or were yourself at one point in a place to need help
7. You have attended the practices, ceremonies, and ritual services of other groups on your path and on other paths and examined them objectively
8. You have led at least one person through a personal crisis, a “dark night of the soul”, or other close emotional trauma
9. You have been in an accident
10. You experienced marriage, or a long-term relationship, where you lived with the other person
11. You completed a term of military service
12. You have someone in your circle who is in the military

When I first presented this at Michigan Pagan Fest in 2015, Figment (Michael Poe) gave the gift of his wisdom when he pointed out a critical missing quality.  You have to have a sense of humor.  Sacred Mirth is a part of my belief system, and it serves as a mystic’s balm to the soul.

In a look back at this, I find that it has a long way to go.  It did not encompass the factors of emotional intelligence, cultural fictive kin relationships, and more.  These are all things that were an integral part in my college courses in my degree pursuit for a BA in Family Life Education.

It denotes an incomplete inventory.  But the list is a good way to find out lay clergy roles, vs. professional. are actually a representative of your beliefs through that office. It is a self test, and a community test that may be used to check where you are in your practice.

The plan is for an upcoming series of workshops about this topic in the community during the later. The location is Metro Detroit, however, as that is my home base area.   There are brick and mortar, floating, and virtual circles, churches, and kindred here that are putting faith to work on a practical level.

For those seeking Pagan clergy here in Michigan, you are spoiled for choice. The Universal Society of Ancient Ministry offers material and food assistance through Pagans In Need, ministry services, educational scholarships, and a 13 step recovery program, as well as a resource guide.

Pagan Pathways Temple offers ministry, a gathering space, and classes.  They are also the organization that has taken up the mantle of hosting the annual Pagan Pride Day celebration in Detroit.   In addition to this, they are filming the series “Unveiled”.

The Michigan Council of Covens and Solitaires offers an Adopt A Family program, as well as having membership which includes clergy and educators.

And of course, there is also Crossroads Tabernacle Church, ATC.  This group is responsible for many innovations and advances in Pagan Ministry.  They also hold services that serve Washtenaw County, giving life to ritual solstice gatherings.

There are many more here.  There are probably many where you may live.  Take some time to see them.  Also, here is a great site to get you started for building a chant library.  Hedra’s Pagan Chant page is a valuable resource.  For one person’s perspective, please enjoy the video at the bottom of this article.

Come Delight in Sweet Treats and Coloring the Tarot

As you enter the sacred space, you are greeted with a warm and friendly welcome from the temple’s keeper. Soft music drifts through the air along with the delightful aroma of coffee and a sweet treat for the night. You approach the table with pages to choose from, you grab what calls to you and with colors by your side. You go on a colorful journey deep within the mind.

Pages upon pages to choose from
Pages upon pages to choose from Photo by Jackie Burkeen

Adult coloring books have been a new and unexpected rage within  the last few years. They offer a chance to anyone to have access to the inner child you crave to connect with all over again and can be used as another tool for shadow work.  Studies have shown therapeutic effects for anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and many other conditions that involve overuse of the mind.

Sweettarot2
Photo by Jackie Burkeen

This past Tuesday, Pagan Pathways Temple started their first day of a three Tuesday evening event. The coloring of the major and minor arcana while enjoying the delights of sweet treats and refreshing beverages. Upon entering the temple, we were greeted with a very friendly welcome and were quickly directed to the coloring sheets provided and asked to have a seat to enjoy our coloring endeavors. While the event was small since it was the first night it provided an intimate atmosphere which included wonderful conversations to the sound of calming yet enchanting music filling in the air. There was a lot of love, including the sharing of colored pencils.

Sweettarot3
Photo by Jackie Burkeen

The results of the coloring journey were wonderful, everyone’s efforts inspired a variety of colorful masterpieces, although the journey has only just begun for they currently have more than enough pages to go around. All waiting to take you on your own incredible journey through the tarot in the form of colorful imagination. The treat that was served for the night was homemade baklava which was to die for with its light and flaky texture with the sweet taste of honey. The treat the was said to be served next week was homemade fudge. The first night of the event has come and gone, but you can still have your chance to come out and play. The event is to also take place again on June 14th and June 21st so don’t miss your chance to come join in on the fun. All with just a simple ten dollar donation towards the temple, you too can come and have a good time with sweets and coloring.

Pagan Pathway Temple is located at 28736 John R Road, Madison Heights in Michigan.

The temple offers more than just coloring, they offer a variety of rituals, classes, get-togethers, or simply having their doors open to just to give a lost soul a safe haven and a place to explore the Pagan path. You can check out their website for their hours and their ever-expanding calendar of events they have to offer to the public. Don’t forget to check out volunteer opportunities to see how you can get involved with the temple.

 

Jackie Burkeen (aka Rosalina Nightshade) has been a practicing witch since 2008 where her journey began with being enchanted by nature’s beauty of Mackinaw Island. She follows her own path which incorporates an eclectic modern taste to traditional witchcraft. Mother of a strong-willed child, two cats and a Guinea pig, she resides in the Michigan downriver area where she lives her dream as a practicing Massage Therapist. You can follow her spiritual journey and other surprises on her blog “Tales of a Backwoods Witch; Adventures of Rosalina Nightshade” and Rosalina Nightshade on Facebook.

Crowley’s central rite finds a site in Madison Heights

The Ordo Templi Orientis might be one of the best-known occult societies in the world. Made famous by the notorious Aleister Crowley, it’s a group with a long pedigree and impressive degrees of secrecy. As I took in the stylish monogrammed sweatshirts the members of the Blue Equinox Oasis were wearing as they prepared for their presentation of the Gnostic Mass, I remarked that they didn’t seem to be keeping their organization much of a secret at all.

“That’s because it’s not a secret,” explained Frater Taurus, the body master of the organization. He went on to explain that the true aim of the OTO was to help its members accomplish their true will with integrity.

 

Crowley said that every man and every woman is a star. And a star is a star, no matter who you are.”  

There were twenty of us gathered in the cozy foyer of the Pagan Pathways Temple just south of Twelve Mile on John R Road that night. We’d arrived in twos and threes shortly before 6 PM on February 7, 2016 at which time the purple veil, that hid the largest room in the Temple, had been drawn. Sounds of light construction emanated from behind the curtain as our anticipation grew. Some of the folks waiting there were regulars of Pagan Pathways Temple, eager to attend any interesting new spiritual event. Others were first-timers at the Temple, but fervent followers of the OTO. Donations were split between the OTO and the Temple and were not required, but many of us happily dug into our pockets to support these fine people.

A few minutes after 7 pm, Frater Lynx, the deacon for the evening, stepped out in a white robe and yellow silk scarf to explain the Mass to us. He demonstrated a few of the gestures and stances we’d be using during the ritual, and then led us into the room where the ritual would take place. The space had been transformed under black light into a sanctuary with two mysteriously veiled booths, one black and one white, at each end. Mystical music and the smell of incense filled the air as the ceremony began.

y Metagignosko(Metagignosko In the Los Angeles chapel of the Ecclesia Gnostica. The altar set up is for a Vespers service.It is rare these days to see a ritual done with such atmosphere and mystery. I wasn’t very familiar with the symbolism and progression of the Mass, but the pageantry and poetry swept me along and made me feel as though I was witnessing something truly ancient. The ritual reached its height as each participant partook of the bread and wine offered as a sacrament, and then turned to the assembly and proclaimed, “There is no part of me that is not of the gods!”

I learned afterwards from Frater Lynx and Soror Shivani, former body master of the group, that each aspect of the set-up had a deep meaning. The black  Tomb at one end, from whence the High Priest emerged to be dressed in velvet robes by the High Priestess, was a symbol for one part of the Tree of Life.

The white altar at the other end of the room, where the High Priestess sat bedecked in a strategically placed scarf, held an elaborate candelabra that symbolized the Circle of Stars.   The black and white pillars on either side of it represented Mercy and Severity. Frater Lynx explained that the set-up symbolized the Tree of Life and the duality of the universe, along with many other symbol sets, and that the room was setup to allow the spiritual light of gnosis to reflect onto all of the participants.

“You see,” he said, “it’s all about the light.”

The role of the High Priest was ably performed by Frater Odysseus, a man whose expertise in Kabbalah and all things occult was as impressive as his beard. The role of the High Priestess was performed by Soror Freyja, who explained that these roles rotated among members who were qualified to perform them. Soror Freyja told me that the role of the High Priestess was to carry love to the participants as the embodiment of Nuit, one of three deities honored in the ritual. “Love…and gnosis,” she added.

By Alombrados Gnostic Mass Temple located in the Bywater of New Orleans
By Alombrados Gnostic Mass Temple located in the Bywater of New Orleans

Reactions to the Gnostic Mass were largely positive as we gathered afterwards to discuss our experiences (and even later at Green Lantern, where we went to partake of further discussion and delicious cheese bread). Devon, a regular at the Temple, said that he saw many similarities to both Wiccan rituals and Catholic Mass and could see himself working some aspects of the Gnostic Mass’s strong and moving images into his own practice. S.L.S., another regular at the Temple, was intrigued by the obeisance implied by the act of kneeling, as well as the intimate interaction between the priest and priestess.

While this was the first Gnostic Mass to be held at Pagan Pathways Temple, it certainly won’t be the last. The Blue Equinox Oasis plans to hold regular Gnostic masses at the Temple, as well as an assortment of lectures and classes. Interested parties should watch the calendar at http://www.paganpathwaystemple.org.

Rachel Weisserman graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in English, and is the head writer for “Unveiled,” an upcoming TV show from Pagan Pathways Temple.