2016 Looking Back and Moving Forward

I have been trying to figure out just the right way to write this article without taking sides on any of the issues and just trying to help others and myself move foreword into 2017. 2016 has been jaded with mass shootings a total of 462 so far. During those 585 people were killed and 1,732 were wounded. ( https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data) It has been a time of unrest and uncertainty and certainly the year that everyone found something to find offensive. Legalized Gay marriage turned a year old in 2016, but, there are still many hurdles to climb. 29 states still do not have laws to prohibit housing discrimination, 30 states do not prohibit discrimination in public, 16 states still have no laws protecting  the hiring process. (https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/06/gay-marriage-scotus/488816/). Even though President Obama announced the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights (http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/24/travel/stonewall-inn-first-lgbt-national-monument/) there is still a long way to go.

By Rhododendrites (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
We have seen “bathroom bill laws”, (http://time.com/3974186/transgender-bathroom-debate/), debates over the “religious freedom laws” (which seem to end up being a debate of whose religion matters and whose doesn’t), (http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/27/the-true-facts-about-religious-freedom-laws/), and an even more wide spread feel of racism and tension since the 1964 debates between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-02/racial-tension-in-the-2016-presidential-election) It has become a time for not only the LGBT community to have fears, but also for any non-white Christian male.

As a Pagan and witch myself, and having been out of the broom closet for many years, I am not only in fear for my beliefs, but also the fact that I am a woman.


Woman holding a sign, listing black people killed by police, and after each name, "no conviction" for all but the two most recent.
Photo Credit: Kenya Coviak all rights reserved

We have had to deal with not trusting our own police officers the same ones who take an oath to honor and protect. As of this point in 2016 1,096 people have died at the hands of police. Many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, and people of color. The bothersome part of all of this is that even with that total amount of people killed, several officers have gone to trial but, none have received jail time.  (https://thinkprogress.org/this-is-how-many-people-police-have-killed-so-far-in-2016-7f1aec6b7098#.tw3kiuw7x) It is no wonder why most of us are looking foreword to 2017 in hopes for a better year.

We lost 111 famous people in 2016 as well, and quite a few were a shock. David Bowie, Prince, Arnold Palmer and Alan Thicke to name just a few. It feels like this year has taken up back in time to a place we long thought to have grown from. The attacks on humanity itself have seemed over whelming. Suicide rates in the US are at the highest they have been in almost 30 years. Rates for middle-aged women, aged 45 to 64 have jumped 63 percent, and 43 percent for men in that age group. The suicide rate has risen 24 percent since 1999.



The nation’s suicide rate is the highest it has been since 1986 with 13 per 100,000 people. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html?_r=0)

Image: Youth.gov


However, I do not want this to be all doom and gloom. There were several really good things that happened in 2016. Child mortality is down world wide and continuing to fall. New chemotherapy breakthroughs have increased the 5 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27%. Coffee consumption has ben proven to help curtail cancer and suicide rates. Massive strides have been made in Alzheimer prevention.

The Anglican church resolved to solemnize same-sex unions the same as opposite-sex unions which required a super majority of all three orders of the church (lay, clergy, bishop).

Photo: Oscar Guzman

Death by heart disease has decreased by 70% in the United States. Over 800 Boko Harem Hostages were rescued by Nigerian Army. Pokémon Go players went insane with placing lure modules near hospitals for sick kids. Not to mention birthdays, family, friends, Thanksgiving, rainbows and even puppies to name just a few.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/11/amazing-list-of-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-delights-the-i/)


Will 2017 be better that 2016? Who knows, but, if we all work together and build up trust, respect, and communication with each other, I believe this could be one of the best years yet.

Hopefully we can all take the negative things that have happened over the course of this year and turn them around into positive things. Remember to call family, tell people you love them, value friendship, be kind to each other and most of all be a role model for others to aspire to. Be the best possible you that you can be and be true to yourself. Hopefully we as the human race can fix what has been broken and start mending this planet before it is too late.





Herbal Lore

Written by: Rose Miller AKA Ravenwings


For thousands of years, herbs have been used for medicinal purposes as well as cosmetics, aromatics, cooking, and even embalming. The earliest known medicinal uses were documented it an Egyptian medical document called the Ebers Papyrus. This document contains over 800 medicinal drugs that were used from herbs and dates back to 1700 B.C. The Chinese claim that their use is even older than the Egyptians. Traditional Chinese medicine dates back to around 2500 B.C. Their form of using herbs also incorporates other treatments such as acupuncture and even massage. To treat an illness is to treat the whole person, to restore balance and harmony so that the body can then heal itself.

Indian Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes that good health is the responsibility of the person. Herbs and diets are used to help restore a balance to the body in order for it to heal itself. The Greeks also believed in maintaining a balance for good health and incorporated herbal knowledge from Egypt, India and China.

Hippocrates – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”


From Greece the medicinal practices reached Rome around 100 B.C. Medicine itself became a profitable business. Galen disagreed with Hippocrates idea of the body allowing to heal itself and reworked his ideas. Galen’s books became standard medical texts and his theories are still used in Unani medicine practiced by Muslims and even in India. Some of his theories are found throughout Shakespeare’s plays.

During the reign of Elizabeth I herbals were written by Gerard, Parkinson, and Culpepper. An herbal book that not only describes plants but, also shows how to use them. The herbal book was second only to the Bible at this time.

In an article in The Economist. 2002

“Chimpanzees suffering from intestinal worms in Tanzania dose themselves with the pith of a plant called Veronica. This plant produces poisonous chemicals called terpenes. The pith contains a strong enough concentration to kill the gut parasites, but not so strong as to kill the chimps (nor people, for that matter; locals use the pith for the same purpose).”

In the early days of medicine, drugs could only come from the plant. As society has changed and we have more scientific ways to find out what makes this herb do what it does. Then chemical structures can be identified and made synthetically. The active ingredient in Willow Bark is salicin, and was artificially made in 1852. In 1899 Bayer was the first company to introduce the aspirin using this synthetically made product. The problem with the synthetically made active ingredients found in these herbs have numerous side effects that using the actual herb does not have.

The use of herbs however over the thousands of years have been more than just for culinary and healing uses. In Rome the people actually paid their taxes with anise. Romans also used dill to make wreaths and garlands to keep away witches. In some places parsley was thought to repel head lice. There are some other great little tidbits about herbal folklore on http://www.almanac.com/content/herbal-folklore-and-old-fashioned-tips.

Whatever the reason we use herbs today it has all been tried and true over thousands of years by millions of people. So the next time you add oregano to a spaghetti sauce or take an aspirin, keep in mind that what you are doing is not new or unique, just a modern version of the days of old.

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




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.

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.

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.

UnWrapped VOL 1, Issue 1

Some Nights


Beads, Beads everywhere, and not one idea to string…”

Hanged Beads by 11×16 Design Studio

As I sit here with a hard cider and an amalgamation of beads, wire, and various other findings, I really wonder if customers appreciate the pieces of us that go into handmade jewelry.

I mean think about it: when you are wearing a handmade piece, you are literally wearing Ashe, or Divinely gifted personal creative energy.

More than that, there is literally someone’s blood (do you know the havoc wire working wrecks upon one’s hands?!?) , sweat, and yes, tears (especially if creativity does not come easy) in a nice shiny and one of a kind package.

And people have the gall to scoff at $25 for a price.

Custom piece
Custom piece

See, while you are looking at that ring that  has been meticulously forged from silver or steel and a dream, what you don’t see is the countless sketches that are trying to capture a beauty that was expressed in a dream. You don’t see the long nights spent trying to steal a quiet moment to create because the babies still need time and love, the dog still needs a bath and a walk, and the bill-paying job’s boss still needs that report and those 8 hours at a desk doing soulless tasks.

You don’t see the 5 or 6 other conflagrations of stone, bead , wire and whatever else that were failed attempts at manifesting this vision. You don’t see the cramped hands and cut fingertips from filing, and weaving and cutting; no what you get to see is this uniquely weaved dream that catches the light like you’ve never seen!

But, hey! Our personal issues aren’t your problem! Nay, why should you pay for the nuances of our personal lives?

Well, you , my dear potential customer, aren’t being asked to pay for these issues. That would be unfair.

However, what you must realize is time is a commodity you really can’t value, and yet can never really recoup. And since we’re Capitalists, the next highest commodity is money. So what you are paying for is the hours ( yes, hours) spent roaming our supply stores for inspiration or that unique cut of quartz you haven’t seen before.

You are paying for the high quality steel, silver, gold, brass, copper, pewter, or silver that is American made.  It is verified not to turn that pretty finger of yours green and blistered. You are paying for that hour spent winding, grinding, and wrapping to make sure everything is the perfect size and shape for your needs and vanity. You are paying for that special box and bag, and you are helping to pay for the opportunity to walk by this table and be able to even see these works of magick up close and personal; because most shows don’t have free tables.

So, out of the maybe $150 dollars it took to deliver, you get to take a piece of me home for $25; simply because I refuse (read: don’t know how) to charge for love.

So yes, you could “have your friend make it cheaper” , but will it be this exact piece? Will it have the passion and energy? Will the care be taken in the selection of materials and methods?

Are you sure?

See, you could put a group of us jewelry makers in a room.Then give us all one project to duplicate with the same tools and supplies.  You will still end up with a different piece from each of us. No two artist are exactly the same.

And while one may be faster, a testament to experience,  that would only affect the labor cost associated. (We artists, as a community, NOTORIOUSLY undercharge for this.)  It still doesn’t take into account the cost of those skills.


Want something truly unique for less? Order the supplies (buyer beware on that outrageous deal on metals you say on Ebay) and queue up YouTube. Make sure you get some extras for inevitable trial and error. Then devote about an hour or two…Wait, you don’t have time to devote to all of that?!? Well, you have the same hours in a day as us!


However, you have other More Valuable things to do, I bet. That is plausible, for value is in the eye of the beholder. But just like you wouldn’t be able to recoup the time spent learning to make your own piece of jewelry, We’re not able to recoup the time we took to create either.

That $25 suddenly seems like a bargain, huh?

So, next time you run across a handmade item you love, appreciate what it took to create it and present it to you. Respect and appreciation is the one thing that makes nights like this worth it to us sometimes.


10365438_864739156921132_1818379449913310550_oOnyoja(Onya) a.k.a Phoenix Nightshade is a Mother, amateur blogger, Science enthusiast, and IT minion who turned a love for jewelry and accessories into an entrepreneurial journey. When she’s not sleeping, working or mothering, She enjoys West African and Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance,African Traditional Spirituality,  Water Aerobics, Personal assistant/Concierge work, Desktop Publishing, and creating and seeking out little pieces of magick for The Butterfly & The Phoenix and Aisiki Collective .

Blog: https://thebuildingofagoddess.wordpress.com/

Website: http://thebutterflyandthephoenix.com (She built it!)

Facebook: Onya Jennings

Learning to live the Tarot – Part 4

By Ascarani

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

Welcome back to Learning to Live the Tarot.  Today we will look at the final cards in the deck, the Major Arcana Cards.

I have actually seen card decks made up of only the Major Arcana Cards.  These 22 cards can absolutely be all you need to tell the story of light and find out the answers to your questions. Just like the suits and the Minor Arcana, the best way to get acquainted with the Major Arcana is to write their story. Take these cards from your deck and put them in order from 0/The Fool all the way up to ending with XXI (21) The World.


Ivor – Tarot Consultant. Closed, due to unforeseen circumstances.
I have read many stories that have been written to tell the story through the Major Arcana Cards.  This is the story I see as I look through them:

We start out in our youth alive and unaware of the problems and difficulties we may face in the world (Fool). We believe that anything can be accomplished just like a magician waving his wand in the air to create miracles (Magician). Sure, we look to others for advice (High Priestess). As we go along and grow, we learn more about the truths of life and we become wiser (Empress). Often those who influence us change and we look for other opportunities in life (Emperor). Sometimes we even change our philosophies as we grow (Hierophant).  We find love which changes our perspectives (Lovers).  We also start to understand that part of the beauty of life is the journey itself (Chariot). In times of strife we look inward for our strength (Strength).

Other times we find that it is better to be alone and take time out to ponder the meaning of situations (Hermit). We never lose hope though realizing that there are always a lot of other options for us if we are willing to take the risk (Wheel of Fortune). Life teaches us that there are rules and sometimes there is no winner (Justice). It is in these moments that we seek further answers, sometimes turning the problem upside down to find a solution (Hanged Man). It is then we figure out that we must rebirth everything we believed, in fact we must let the old die and wither away to be reborn anew (Death). These are the times we must find our place of balance (Temperance).  We also learn to watch out for those who pretend to have our best interest at heart but are only concerned with themselves (Devil).  This is a turning point, all things may seem to explode around us but it is life getting our attention (Tower).

From this point of madness, we are asked to believe and to hope to move forward (Star). We have made it through the valley and are now able to follow our own instincts and trust our intuition (Moon). When we trust ourselves, we are moving into a state of joy (Sun). Now we can stop passing judgement on ourselves and others (Judgement). In the end, we hold our world on a silver platter and we are complete (World).

By Ascarani
Leticia Díaz By Ascarani
What does your Major Arcana Story say?  Put the cards in front of you and write your story.

The following is my own quick keyword synopsis of these cards.

0 The Fool: Carelessly wandering through life, needing to focus more on what is in front of you.

1 The Magician: Has all the elements available to succeed, use them and the results is like a magic trick

2 The High Priestess: She holds the power and has the answers. All you seek is in front of you.

3 The Empress: Fertility and growth abound

4 The Emperor: Opportunities are knocking on the door.

5 The Hierophant: He sets the rules and enforces them.  Time to abide by the rules.

6 The Lovers: Beauty in a relationship.

7 The Chariot: Swift travel, change and movement.

8 Strength: Sometimes bold, sometimes quiet trust in your inner strength to get the job done.

9 The Hermit: Shining the light in the darkness, there is a beacon of hope.

10 Wheel of Fortune: Time to spin the wheel and make a deal, take a chance.

11 Justice: Balance in life.  Don’t tip the scales.

12 The Hanged Man: Asking the same question and not listening to the guidance given.

13 Death: Change is happening.  Not a physical death but a transformation is about to occur.

14 Temperance: You must balance your life.  Find that place of peace within.

15 The Devil: Someone around you is not whom they pretend they are, beware.

16 The Tower: Chaos and disorder abound, seek shelter and peace.

17 The Star: Hope, reach for the stars.

18 The Moon: time to trust your intuition and inner knowing. Get in tune with the cycles of the world.

19 The Sun: Joy and success.

20 Judgement: Feeling persecuted, being called back to your center and asked not to judge others.

21 The World: Everything is in the palm of your hand.  Success.

Divinazione con tarocchi: disposizione del tavolo di lavoro
Divinazione con tarocchi: disposizione del tavolo di lavoro


I hope you have enjoyed this series on the tarot and learned to interpret the cards intuitively.  Letting the images of the tarot guide you can open a new world for you.

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.

Learning to live the Tarot Series – Part 3

This is part 3 of a 4 part series on learning to read the tarot intuitively.

Welcome back to Learning to Live the Tarot!

Today we are looking at the general meanings for the Minor Arcana cards. To me, the Minor Arcana cards tell us of the daily struggles and joys we face as we travel through life.  Sometimes the information you glean from a Minor Arcana card may be all you need to help you solve your problem.

Public Domain
The Gypsy Woman reads a fortune in the tarot cards to mother and daughter Mary and Tara Verdugo Friday during the Marine Corps Community Services annual Mardi Gras party at the Sonoran Pueblo.

My best suggestion for interpreting the minor arcana is to put the cards in order by suit, in 4 stacks. Put the King on the top, then Queen, Knight, and Page.  Follow with the number cards from 10 down to the Ace. Go through each stack, one by one.  Look at your card and write down what you see in it and what kind of story each card is telling you.  This is using your intuitive skills so there is no wrong or right answer.

Here is a my simple guide:

King: Usually a man your age or older

Queen: Usually a woman your age or older

Knight: May be male or female usually late teens to twenties

Page: A male or female child up to teen years.

(Note: the characteristics of the Knight and Page may indicate an older person who acts immaturely in one way or another. Also, these 2 cards are not gender specific and may represent either a male or female in the given situation.)

Ten: Success

Nine: Overwhelming situations coming to an end

Eight: Hard work, difficulties, possibly time to make a change

Seven: Taking care of what you have, protecting the prize, choices

Six: Promises of what can be, success in your endeavors

Five: Usually show us a sorrow, loss or shortcoming

Four: Focusing on the goal

The Empress from the Pierpont-Morgan tarot collection
The Empress from the Pierpont-Morgan tarot collection

Three: Looking at how things are coming together

Two: Partnerships

Aces: new beginnings

To take it one step further, put the cards with the suits and see the kinds of meanings you can get from


Ace of Pentacles would be new material beginnings.

Ace of Cups would be new emotional beginnings, perhaps a new relationship or just things moving from a time of sadness to joy.

Ace of Swords would be a new beginning based on intellect or ideas.

Ace of Wands is being able to find your passion in life and start over again.


Now take your cards and start looking at each suit and each minor arcana card.  What story does the card tell you?  Next, place each of the 4 piles in front of you and compare the meanings you see from suit to suit.  Is there a story that you see forming?  This is intuitively getting to know your deck.  From this intuitive standpoint the cards are of more value as a divination tool because you have made their meanings personal.

If I were to draw a card and read that one card using this method, I would get a reading like this:

4 of Wands: In this card we see people celebrating, as though they are getting married or purchasing a new home.  It is a card that represents achieving the goal that has been set.  I would say that the situation will have a very positive resolution.

Next Time: The Major Arcana


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.

Michael Wiggins memorial May 21, 2016

 micTaken too soon from us, much respected and beloved Michael Wiggins will be honored with a memorial on May 21, 2016.  One of the strongest pillars of the Michigan Pagan communities and societies, his transition is an enormous blow to many who knew him.  Known to many through ConVocation and the Magical Education Council, the Ren Faire community, the dance circles, Up in the Aether, The Phoenix Cafe, and more, he touched thousands of lives.
The memorial will be held at DoubleTree by Hilton (5801 Southfield Expressway, Detroit) located at 5801 Southfield Expressway, in Detroit.  This hotel will be familiar to any who attended his events.  Hosted by the Magical Education Council, it promises to be a service befitting of his standing.

The GoFundMe account created by Claudine Durham has seen over $7,000 pour in to help with the financial matters related to the memorial and the family.   This public service is the opportunity to celebrate the memory of this man as he lives on in our hearts.  For the sharing of stories is how a life lives on in this world – and Michael’s story was a masterful one, indeed.

Arrival and gathering begins at 4:00 pm.  This will be followed by a short service at 5:00 pm.  This shall lead up to the wake which is the joyful celebration of his memory.

Come and share a story, raise a glass and honor the man who thought that nothing was better than a good party. – ConVocation/MEC

PBN Blues Series: “Tell it like it is” – Aaron Neville

by Kenya Coviak

A spiritual worker for hire should never be so obsessed with money that they lie to their clients.  When deciding how to proceed in a job, it is of utmost importance to remain focused that it is exactly that, a job with a finite amount of involvement in this client’s life.  One should never make a career out of an client’s life path.

That being said, one of the ways that integrity shows is to be truthful with your client.  Be mindful that you are not overly offensive or blunt, but speak plainly and with compassion.  Seek not to inflame, nor to exert negative influence.  Be impartial, yet always on track for the best possible choices and paths for the client.

As we will often do in this series, let us entertain two examples of a situation.

A way that may not be the best for the client

Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You agree that she should do this.

 You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.  She eyes the calamus root, a skull candle, and some other wares.  You encourage her in the situation, add your own spin on the working, and sell the collection of tools.

By ManuelFD (Own work fuente propia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By ManuelFD

Two weeks later, the situation has become more volatile.  The roommate has blown up and they are almost at blows.   You decide to amp up the spell work and advise her how to do so.  It continues to escalate, and then you have an unhappy customer, one with a lump on her head and a restraining order.

A way that may be a bit more desirable


Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You ask more about the situation and state that it is important to hear the whole story, since she has decided to come to you for custom work.

You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.   You ask her if she has considered that the addition of a pet could be harmful to the roommate, and asks if she has gotten a divination on the situation in order to examine her choices moving forward.  You explain that divination could give her a clearer focus.  She does not agree.

A thoughtful moment - Richard Mauch

As a responsible worker, you know that the situation will escalate, as a normal person will not agree to allow something that will bring them harm.  In this case, the roommate would not sanely comply with the addition of a pet that would compromise their health.  Therefore, it would be better to do a work on how either the living condition can be changed, possibly a St. Expedite Spell.

It would also be important to work on the income and money management of the client so that she will have a choice in whether to stay or go.   You attempt to explain that magick cannot turn people into mindless zombies, and that she should consider what is doable in the current situation if she stays.  And lastly, you may also suggest a reconciliation working in order to normalize communication in the home to mend the rifts.  (This would be followed up by a clearing and blessing of the home).

Be prepared

Messilina T. may not want to hear this.  She is angry, hurt, and a little bit selfish right now.  There is a strong chance she may reject your counsel.  At this point, your can proceed to serve her or turn her down.  She is free to do her own work, of course.  Or she can find another worker.

She decides that she wants to banish her roommate.  She purchases a bottle of Four Thieves Vinegar and a multitude of bottles.  Her plan is to clear out the roommate and anyone else who is on the roommate’s side.  You complete the transaction and watch her leave.  Ultimately, it is her decision.

Dietmar Rabich, rabich.deThe important thing is that you have maintained your integrity, as well as ensured that the caliber of your work is not compromised.  Your wisdom in understanding that doing futile working will damage the client and your own reputation has saved you unneeded drama.  And this is all achieved by telling it like it is, being forthright, and being a better magickal business person. 

As a trade, we do not sell morality.  At our best moments we can attempt to educate the client so as to assure a desirable outcome.  But never forget that they have not come to the shop in search of morality lessons.  Just serve the truth and let it ride.




We must save the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple

We must save the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple

 by Kenya Coviak


The New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple burned, but the fire driving endures.  The Priestess of the temple, Priestess Miriam, shall rise and continue the work that has been her path since 1990.  That work continues onward to be the home for traditional Vodoun spiritual services in the heart of NOLA, right across the street from Congo Square.  It is a dream she continues since starting it with her late husband Oswan Chamani.

Priestess Miriam – Voodoo Spiritual Temple – New Orleans Travels in New Orleans, Louisiana in May 2012 (cc) David Berkowitz www.marketersstudio.com / www.about.me/dberkowitz

On February 1, 2016, the shop, its Cultural Center and Botanica suffered from the devastation of an electrical fire and the subsequent combination of flame and water damage.  Of course, there are no coincidences or strange happenings, so the Temple Room and most its contents,miraculously spared the full  brunt of the tragedy, are still here.  Volunteers continuously remove and repair them.

This photograph shows water and flame damage, courtesy of Louis Martine, of the inside of the Temple.  Holes mar the walls and ceiling.  Broken glass litters the floor.

The landmark organization offers Traditional Voodoo services and weddings.  Forging a presence for worship and study, the communities of Pagans must take swift action toward rescue.  Non-ATR Pagan leaders studying sociological/religious commonalities find value in its continued cultural anthropologic presence and training opportunities.  For a quick glimpse into the living history that she embodies, watch Priestess Miriam in “Sense of Place New Orleans – Voodoo Spiritual Temple”, a short clip available on Vimeo.

Of special interest to polytheists, it continues an unbroken line of decades of work.  Visitors learn by direct contact when they experience the rites and sacred spaces.  It serves as a testament to the enduring religious tradition of the people.  More than a building, Priestess Miriam commands an institution and Tradition that expands throughout the world to Believers.  

“It is one of the longest running spiritual temples in NOLA as well as one of the longest ones run and featuring a woman of colour in the city as well. Priestess Miriam herself is a NOLA icon, recognized as an inspirational leader in the community, with awards presented to her by various mayors over the decades.” – Witchdoctor Utu

This work requires money.  Those who see the potential loss here rally to the call.  Witch, Odinist, or Heathen, all see the critical work that repositories and living history are providing to the students and devotees across belief system boundaries.  All understand the effects that come with destruction of a holy place.  Every neo Pagan person of faith knows the importance of having a physical history intact, no matter the tribes  Every believer wants a place they call home.  We must be industrious and driven to restore that which has been injured, for in doing so we heal ourselves.

The living web of connection maintained by the temple reaches far.  Witchdoctor Utu, the founder the Niagara Voodoo Shrine and the Dragon Ritual Drummers, sustains and continues a membership of 14 years in the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.  The troupe tours a circuit of appearances that Pagans of all persuasions attend and join in celebration.  Big familiar names including NOLA locals such as Warlocks Christian Day and Brian Cain, Bloody Mary, Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and Priestess Claudia work the effort for rebuilding.

Rev. Lilith Dorsey, a temple member from NYC, Priest Louis Martine, Miriam’s husband Allen, and Gina, Mishlen, Maegdlyn and Pamela command efforts at the scene.  These are the ones grinding in the muck and damage.  These are the folks working on site, some after trekking from all over the continent.

I ask all who hear and read these words, to dig down and consider contributing something.  A dollar or a thousand dollars, all donations go to rebuilding. The remains in the photograph by Jeff Mohnkern bear grim witness.


Please watch this column for more updates as the rebuilding progresses.  You donate to the future by visiting this their fundraising page at the site gofundme page entitled Save the Voodoo Spiritual Temple!  You make an impact by donating and sharing this message.