interview

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2017

Bright Blessings.

 

Fall is here, and we are rapidly moving towards the final harvest, Samhain.

 

In years past, my Samhain articles gave information about historic observances in Pre-Xtian times, including historic sites. I always include a working, and some personal anecdotes as well.

 

This month, I had the opportunity to talk about ghoulies, ghosties, long leggety beasties, and things that go bump in the night with horror writer, and director Michael Williams.

 

 

 

He and his team just released a fun, and creative horror called The Atoning, which I reviewed, and highly recommend all of you watch. I would like to thank Michael, and his team mate David for arranging the very engaging discussion I will share with you below.

Being both a Pagan, and a witch, I covered topics of personal views on the Otherworld, spirits, and communication with them, psychics, and witches, and what terrifies human beings.

I hope you enjoy reading our conversation.

I will also share a working after the interview.

 

The Interview

Saoirse-Thank you for chatting with me today, and thank you for doing this via internet.

Michael Williams- No problem! Thanks for having me. I appreciate your interested in The Atoning.

S- Horror is my favorite genre, so when Jennifer asked who wanted to review and interview, I was excited! First, I would like to say I read your professional bio, and noted this is your crossing over into horror. This means you hope to do more horror?

M- I am definitely open to doing more horror as long as the script and concept is something that excites me. I’ve always done films with a genre twist, so for my 2nd feature, it made sense to explore horror. However, I had to make sure it was a story that fit into my own sensibilities as a filmmaker.

S- Absolutely. This was a very creative story. Even for horror, which I like to call perhaps the most creative genre. You started out showing a haunting, and it turned out the family being told about WERE the ghosts. That is not something you see often. What made you decide to tell the story from their viewpoint?

M- Well, that was the basic premise that lead to the whole story that followed. I wanted to make a film that felt like a genre-bending horror film that was grounded in a compelling story about these characters. The film literally, and metaphorically deals with Hell. The initial premise was how horrific, and hellish it would be to be stuck in purgatory with the man who killed you, and your son. The main exploration of Hell in the film is Vera’s personal Hell of being in this situation. To me, the real horror of the story is what is going on within the family. The other elements are added horrors to help facilitate the deeper story of our characters.

S- Yes. What is your personal religious or metaphysical background, and how does that shape your concepts of portraying in the film what hell is?

M- I’m a Christian, and I always tend to make films with a religious subtext. However, I don’t like overtly Christian films and don’t want to make those. I would rather make films that can be enjoyed by people of all types. My previous film, OzLand, is a about a lot of things. However, the heart of it is about coexisting, loving, and respecting people with different points of view than you. Because I don’t make overtly Christian films, and leave a lot of room for interpretation, and self-discovery. I often am surprised by what people take away from the films, or even the complaints I get about them not aligning with other people’s Christian beliefs. In a way, I like that. I think it proves that religion isn’t so clear cut. Some people can watch OzLand, or The Atoning, and get various religious interpretations, while other people can completely miss it. First and foremost, I want to make films that entertain people. However, I always want to make films that stick with people after the credits, and allow them to think deeper about its story, and how it can apply to their own lives. As for The Atoning, I never intended to make a film that explored any real doctrine, or idea of afterlife. Instead, I wanted to create a world with its own rules. I have received some flack for not exploring the afterlife in a Biblical way. However, that was the point. Vera is unsure of her faith and beliefs, because the afterlife wasn’t as she expected. Plus, she feels like she is being punished by something she doesn’t deserve. While this isn’t Biblical, it all stems from a lesson I learned years ago. I had a preacher who gave an amazing sermon about how you can’t put your faith in people, or things because those things will ultimately disappoint you. You have to put your faith in God. The next week, he was arrested during VBS. This was a great lesson, and he knew we needed to hear it. In our story, Vera and Sam are both held back from their destination, because of the ties, and unresolved issues they had in life. Vera holds on to the facade of a marriage, and loving a man who doesn’t deserve it. Sam see his dad as a heroic figure. They both have misplaced faith in something that has, and will disappoint them. It’s a metaphor for how some worldly things can hold us back from our potential, or from a Christian perspective, hold you back from salvation. I am not trying to say that our film’s exploration of this scenario is Biblical, scientific, or anything. I merely created a fable in which other themes, and ideas can be explored. The “neo-purgatory” that we explore in the film is something that I made up, and is presented through the writings of our fictional character Charon Lilith. It is a whole new set of rules of how the souls are trapped, and the process for which they can be released.

S- Well, I have no complaints. Let me talk about my publication I personally write for.

PaganPages.Org. Our eMag is an online Pagan publication, and you won’t be judged by any of us.

We come from many different traditions, and have varying beliefs. We do not believe any one person’s beliefs is right, or that anybody else’s are wrong.

M- Exactly! No one can really know. It’s all about faith in what you believe in.S- Yes! As for creating fables. In some ways, some feel that is what the religious myths are anyhow. Just some become dogma, and some become awesome films.

M- And fables always have a message worth exploring.

S- Exactly. Human beings explain things with fables. The sun is a god that gets eaten, and is given birth to, for example.

M- Our lives, and experiences are so complex. Sometimes, fables can help us simplify it, and make it easier to explore, and understand.

S- Yes, they do. This article is going to be about the Sabbat of Samhain. Have you heard of that?

M- I haven’t.

S- This is what inspired Halloween, and we believe the veil between the world of the living, and the Otherworld is thin, and communication with the dead is stronger. That is why you see séances a lot at that time. It is also a time to honor the ancestors. So, themes I am bringing in are about the Otherworld and spirit communication, which your film dealt with. Your psychic was a lot of fun.

M- Oh nice! Yeah, I really enjoyed exploring that character, and working with Dorothy Weems to realize it. That is another area of the film where we have seen some flack from reviewers. However, I think a lot of people are missing how she fits into the bigger story, and her actual intentions/actions. We developed a lot of backstory, and a whole world around her, and how it works within our story.

S- She works with what I call The Power of the Witch. On one hand, she was not completely realistic. On the other, hand, she is the one who makes the atonement start.

M- Well, she isn’t what I would consider a witch. At least, she isn’t just a witch. She is more than that. She is an agent of the devil. We liked to say she received “brownie points” from the devil for every soul she claimed for him. She is more demonic than I think people realize. On the surface, and to the family who hired her to cleanse the house, she is just a medium who came to cleanse the house. She puts on a big show, and gives the family what they think they need to see. However, she merely uses these opportunities to find lost souls she can reclaim for a darker purpose. She can’t touch the souls destined to heaven, but she can reclaim those destined for Hell. With the rules in which our film works, these souls are stuck because of “destination confliction”. These souls are stuck in purgatory with conflicting destinations. They’re held together because of unresolved issues in life that keep their souls connected. Charon Lilith performs a showy seance to appease the family, however, she comes back later to summon her demonic minions. Each of these demons have a specific personality and purpose for “partitioning the souls”, and allowing them to find their ultimate destination. She knew what the family’s issues were, and used her minions to play to those issues.

S- Yes, she was demonic, I agree!

M- We liked to think she receives extra-long life for each soul she claims. The film is all about facades. Perhaps, she is centuries old, and continues to keep up this facade of a medium to prevent herself from dying, and ultimately having to atone for her lifetimes of demonic deeds. It was a really fun character to explore. I wish we had more room in the film to explore it. However, all of that exploration helped dictate how we see her in the film.

S- She was the one who did bring in the demons yes, but had that not happened, mom and kid could not have moved on. I am, and know a lot of psychics who are hired to go into homes. We talk to dead people, and some have done exorcisms.

M- Exactly! For Sam, and Vera, she wasn’t a threat. Instead, she was the catalyst to finally freeing them. For Ray, well, she was not the person he wanted to see. The more he read into the book, he realized what was happening. He worked to get closer to Ray, and Vera to keep them from “partitioning”. Even in life, he manipulated them to keep them on their side. In death, he had more incentive to keep them on his side.

S- So she POSED as a psychic. That actually makes a lot of sense.

M- Yep. She was just putting on a show!

S- Which I could see, but the family being haunted could not.

M- Yep! Towards the end of the seance, the family starts realizing something isn’t right, and that this woman might be doing more than they hired her to do.

S- Have you, personally ever had exposure to actual psychics, or anybody else who could speak with the dead?

M- I haven’t had the opportunity.

S- Have you ever had experiences where you felt the presence of spirits?

M- I haven’t. I have always wanted to see a ghost, or have an encounter with something unexplainable, but never have.

S- Aaaah. Anybody you know who did?

M- Not that I’m aware of. I have had some friends who have had experiences, but they were more than likely night terrors.

S- I see. You have quite a good understanding of the reality of spirits despite having no experiences.

M – Really? Glad you think so! I just imagined “what if” in a lot of these scenarios. I also wanted it all to be based on reality. I had to think, what was the other family doing and why would these things be happening. The noises or ghostly encounters were just for the genre. They were pulled from everyday actions the family on the other side could’ve been doing.

S- Yes, they were. Now I always say, fictional writers are not responsible to be realistic,

and one thing I love about horror is they sky is the limit to what can be portrayed.

M- Exactly! That was one fun aspect of the genre. There are so many aspects of the genre we could explore.

S- Yes. For me, being metaphysical, seeing fiction is fun.

M- Most definitely!

S- But I get disappointed in the public sometimes, because people see on TV or a movie, and assume it is fact.

M- I understand that. I hope people see our film as fictional. That is why I am disappointed to see people missing the message, and thinking we are promoting a belief that is false. Moreover, we hope people don’t think we are portraying psychics, or mediums in a realistic manner. I hope they see that she is putting on a façade, and is a more sinister character. Our character isn’t intended to represent psychics, or mediums. Ours is evil with purposes beyond just conversing with spirits, or cleansing houses. I hope people realize that. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about that, and clear it up!

S- Honestly, some people don’t, and that is not writers or filmmakers fault. I realize that the horror is not meant to be realistic. It is meant to entertain! And it does!

M- And it can always do more than entertain! It can be a catalyst for messages, and themes that apply to our own lives.

S- True! I just like the scary! Which brings me to the topic of fears. As human beings, we are scared of so much. Things that could threaten us, our wellbeing, lives, and freedom, and horror takes those themes, and explores them.

M- Exactly! Monsters are scary, but they’re even scarier when they represent, or feed on our fear of more realistic things.

S- YES! And I think that is one thing film accomplishes. It helps us explore what terrifies us. Only we get to watch somebody else dealing with it! What terrifies you, personally?

M- Hmm, one of my biggest fears is losing my memories, or losing my sanity. Ever since I was little, I would collect, and hoard things so that I had a reminder of it. I’m terrified of losing things that mean something to me.

S- That is a pretty normal fear. Without your sanity, or memories, how could one function?

M- What about you?

S- I am agoraphobic. I am terrified it will take over. It has not, but the fact it COULD scares the hell out of me.

M- Most definitely!

 

 

For More information on The Atoning & Michael Williams, visit them at:

https://www.facebook.com/theatoning/

https://www.facebook.com/shendopenproductions/

 

 

***

I very much enjoyed this engaging interview. In it, we learn about his creative process with concepts such as spirit communication, and the Otherworld we observe for Samhain. Belief in ability for spirits to communicate with the living is so widespread, even people who have had no personal experiences create films about it!

 

One topic that is debated often in the Pagan community is how film and TV portrays humans who have spiritual gifts. I’ve heard a lot of people com plain shows don’t portray things realistically, and the public makes assumptions about us based on fiction. I don’t understand this viewpoint.

 

How somebody could believe one human being could raise denizens of hell, fly on brooms, do immortality spells, eat babies, etc. as some shows portray is beside me. People who would believe such things would likely believe it all even if shown only the facts.

 

But believe me, if I could fly a broom, I absolutely would!

I also wanted to touch on the part of our discussion dealing with concepts of the afterlife. I think the reason people are so defensive of their belief system’s dogma about what happens after death is people need to feel like they KNOW for certain what will happen to us once we die. Otherwise, the unknown is too overwhelming for people. Not knowing what is going to happen to you or where you go is too much for some to bear.

In regards to fear, I polled some friends to see what terrifies them.

 

The answers are not in order, but here they are:

Swarms of bugs

Large, dark, enclosed spaces

The Xtain Right

Trump and out government

Cults

Deep water

Failure

Worry about your kids

Being in line at the pharmacy

Forgetting your money

The Passing of time

Impermanence

Drunks with shotguns

Idiots

Spiders

Knives

Losing your vision

Leaving he house alone

Death

Losing Hope

Being single

Being alone

Financial woes

People who hurt others

Animal abusers

The IRS

Ignorance

These are all things that can threaten our safety, health, and wellbeing, our lives, or our freedom. These are things that make our survival mechanism kick in, and tell us to protect ourselves. The very thought of these awful, threatening things are enough to send us into panic mode sometimes!

Then there are the individuals, such as myself who love to watch all this in movies, and finds it highly entertaining!

Another thing on the topic of fears, realistically speaking, is that there are two kinds of fears. There are fears that are rational, and then fears that are not. If you don’t want to go out clubbing because there is a tornado spotted nearby, that is understandable. If you decide to never go clubbing again because one time there was a tornado warning right before you almost went, that isn’t helpful. There is a time to push past fears, and a time to listen to them, because they are warning us of danger.

The trick is, to know which kind of fear it is!

I am not one of the people who thinks everybody should be brave and go out and do EVERYTHING with no worries. I don’t think that is positive thinking. I think that’s downright stupid.

 

Some fears are learned slowly over time and are ingrained in us so deeply, they shut our minds, and bodies down completely. This is called conditioned fear. A lot of fears are based on bad past experiences, and those fears are ALWAYS going to be there lurking in some capacity.

The trick isn’t to just make them go away. The trick is to learn to function despite them.

When fear takes hold of the human body, certain biological things are triggered. Hormones including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisone are released. These cause your heartrate to raise, and your blood flow, and blood sugar levels to rise. These make you ready for ACTION! They give you an extra boost you need to defend yourself or run. Reaction to fear can also be freezing, or fainting.

So, what do you do when you are in a situation where you cannot avoid that frightening thing you deem a threat to your safety, survival, wellbeing, or freedom?

Long term, a solution that has been effective in treating 90% of people suffering from fears is something called cognitive behavior therapy. That is, gradually exposing people to their fears in non-threatening ways so they learn they will be okay.

I found a lovely quote. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” A Robin Sharma is credited with saying that. Another nice quote is “Feel the fear and do it anyways”, which a Susan Jeffers said.

I , personally deal with phobias, which are severe fears on a daily basis, and it was all triggered by an illness that started a few years ago. The result is a battle to even leave the house sometimes. NEVER leaving this house in just not an option. I hate that I have become this way, and I hate that I have limitations I never had before.

I have not defeated the fears, by any means, but every single day when I leave this house, I have to do certain things to function, and I’m pretty certain there are other people who could do the same thing to get through a frightening situation.

I will be doing a second Samhain article for the November article, and I’ll include a more magical working, and topics dealing with The Otherworld there. For this month’s working, I’ll share some steps I recommend to take when facing a fear that have worked for me, and if you think they might help you out, give them a try.

Saoirse’s Steps to Facing Fear

  1. I tell myself I am stronger than my fear– Most times I absolutely am. Sometimes, I’m not. As words have power, I have to talk to myself the times I feel weakest. I tell myself that I CAN do this even if I think I can’t. The more I say it to myself, the more I believe it.
  2. I tell myself it is not worth it to let my fear hold me back.
  3. I tell myself I am worrying about nothing.
  4. I tell myself it will be over soon– And that when it is finished I will see I was scared over nothing.
  5. I tell myself the good things about what I am doing– If it’s a car trip I am dreading, I remind myself of who I am going to visit. If it’s a gathering I am dreading, I remind myself the people who I look forward to seeing.
  6. I remind myself what I get by facing the fear is far greater than I have to give up.
  7. I accept that perhaps I will not be so graceful facing the fear, but I will be proud when I do it anyhow.
  8. I focus on the achievements, as opposed to the perceived failures– If you focus only on the times you reacted poorly, you will forget the times you did well. Try to remember you CAN do well, and strive for that.
  9. Try, try again– Say you fall on your face in the mud running away when you see a cat because cats scare the hell out of you. Walk past the cat again in the future just to prove to yourself that you can.
  10. Get the hell out when you need to– I’m sorry. It’s not a good idea to stick around sometimes. You don’t have to prove your bravery to people sometimes. If you CANNOT get out? Just do the best you can.

Other Things You Can Do!

  1. Wear a talisman– Talisman’s charged with energy to make you achieve, be brave, or accomplish what you thought was impossible are helpful things to keep on hand when you know you are about to walk into a scary situation. Good luck pieces, or things people you love have blessed are good for this as well.
  2. Bless Yourself Beforehand– A little good blessing juju can only help. Some cleanse and bless, and some just bless. Remember to banish, cleanse, and bless afterwards as well. Although the positive energy of achievement might be enough good energy, you don’t need a cleansing or blessing afterwards!
  3. Take a friend along– Sometimes, you have to face things alone, but you don’t ALWAYS have to! It’s okay to have the support of loved ones when you need it. You can always reciprocate another time!
  4. Research the Fear– The more you know about something, the more you understand it. The more you understand it, the less you have to be afraid of sometimes.
  5. Make a poppet of it– Bind it, destroy it, or “strip its powers over you away” symbolically through doing so to a poppet representing it. The more energy you put into destroying its power, the less power it will hold over you.

The most important thing to understand about fear is, it’s normal, natural, and everybody has some form of fear or another. It is no sign of weakness, or failure. There are going to be times when you are powerless, or out of commission temporarily due to a fear, and that is human. We have to forgive ourselves in those situations, and try again another time.

Now, I have a blessing for you that you can look in the mirror and say to yourself during times when you are gripped by fear.

 

I look into my eyes, and I see the divine. I see the strength of my ancestors, and the support of all my loved ones, and mentors. I am greater than my greatest of strengths, and no less powerful because of my weaknesses. I am the human embodiment of the creator, and the beloved child of the keeper of eternity. I am the culmination of millions of years of wisdom, light, strength, and love.

 

That which I fear threatens me only on the physical plane. I transcend that. I have limitations due to this physical body, but that is not who I am. Who I am is limitless, timeless, and ageless.

 

I have the strength to enjoy the best of things, and I have the power to sustain even the worst of things. I am divinely protected until I am fated to cross the veil, and join the blessed ancestors, where I will watch over my descendants, and loved ones until my return to another physical incarnation. So Mote it Be.”

Blessed Be.

 

***

About the Author:

 

 

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.  

The Making of the Video for ElectraChic’s Song Erde/Terre

September, 2017

 

ElectraChic is a German based band who released their debut album, ImPassionnément, in November of 2016. They find their influences & themes in Shamanism and through the Sacred Feminine.

 

 

When it was time for ElectraChic to set out to make a video for the first song, Erde/Terre, off their new album, ImPassionnément, they did not have very far to look. Singer Annick Moerman & ian Rike Casper turned to Annick’s son, 25 year old Thomas Govaerts, a recent graduate of the School of Media.

 

We asked Thomas to share his thoughts with us on the making of the video for Erde/Terre and here is what he had to share:

 

For a couple of years I’ve also been passionate about spirituality and esotericism. During my studies I had the chance to try a shamanic journey with drums. I looked for many other practices since then (paganism, mediation, or yoga for example).

About one year ago, my mother (Annick Moerman) made this album, ImPassionnément, with Rike Casper. She asked me if I could do a music video for her. I could choose any music off the album and I immediately chose Erde (“Earth” in German) because of its shamanic sounds.

In my job or during my studies I worked on great projects, but none of them had a spiritual meaning or aesthetic. I’ve always had a wish to insert spiritual contents in a pure visual form, almost abstract and without using words in videos.

So, for me shamanism is the perfect subject. During a shamanic experience (not necessarily using drugs, but only drum or dancing) someone can get information, not in a literal form but through images or sensations. Maybe that’s the reason why there are many symbols in old mythologies.

This is the kind of feeling I wanted to put in a video, I wanted to use visuals to deliver a spiritual feeling. 

For this reason I did a lot of research on pagan symbols: Icelandic magical staves, Viking runes, Aztec symbols, Rongorongo alphabet. The sami drums was also a major inspiration (more info:  http://old.no/samidrum/)

In this video there is a mix  of old and existing symbols and symbols of my creation.

Even if those symbols come from very different times and places, I find them very similar. They are very simple and naïve but they have the power to connect you to something very old and ancestral. They don’t interact with your intellect, but they go deeper. It’s as if they could activate an unconscious force.

I also wanted to represent the sacred feminine and its connection to nature and earth. I think that the dance is a visual form that can perfectly express this. The dance  allowed me to do a fluid and dynamic video, and not only to show static symbols. I tried to create a unity between the symbols, the music, the dancing and nature, to make a very alive and organic video. In the same way, during a shamanic experience, things are connected but always changing: what is usually hidden to the eyes becomes manifest. At the end of the music video the dancer completely merges into this unity. 

So I hope that the video works on the viewer’s unconscious and that, in some way, it connects him to the invisible aspect of nature.

I don’t know if I succeeded in this task, I’m still a young filmmaker and this is one my first works. I see that there are still a lot of mistakes in the video. However, I hope that in the future I’ll make other better videos. I would like to make videos that have a real impact on the viewer, as if they were spells. A little bit like Lynch’s or Jodorowsky’s movies.

The shooting of the video was made in the forest near Brussels. For the equipment we used a Canon 5D. The cinematography is made by Quentin Govaerts. The dancer is Charlotte Bossu. I did the directing, editing and the visuals effects.”

 

We’d like to thank Thomas for taking the time to let us in his head to experience what he did while making this video.

 

We now present the video for ElectraChic’s Erde/Terre, Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

You can find ElectraChic’s Album for purchase on their site:

https://electrachic.bandcamp.com/releases

 

They also have an ElectraChic Facebook Page at:

https://www.facebook.com/electraChic/

 

 

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Sacasa-Wright is an Eclectic Witch who runs PaganPagesOrg eMagazine. She has many opinions, thoughts, & suggestions, and, at times, has problems holding her tongue. She loves hearing your opinions and thoughts on the magazine and welcomes comments.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times Mabon 2017

Bright Blessings!

 

The harvest is in full force now. It is hard to believe it was just Lammas, and already, it is nearly Mabon!

 

Some of you are hard at work, gathering the fruits of your labor from your gardens, others, reflecting upon the fruits of your labors in your lives.

 

At my garden, we’ve had a very small harvest so far this year, but it’s not over yet.

 

We got six zucchinis, and three cucumbers. One cucumber is left on the vine, and then I think I will be pulling them out of the ground, as they have turned mostly to brown crispy dried up leaves, with a few scattered bright gold blossoms. The sunflowers, however, are the stars of the garden. We planted giant ones that are about eight feet tall now.

 

Our tomatoes are just now starting to produce. We shall see how well we fare!

 

Since the last Sabbat, however, I have harvested much more, personally than my garden has. I have somehow been lucky enough to grow closer to some loved ones, and to get back in touch with some I’ve not visited with in quite some time.

 

A visit with a friend I met 22 years ago reminded me of how we die back, and rejuvenate ourselves after rest.

 

This friend is in her mid 70’s, and died back for a bit when her husband passed. She’s back in full force, the spitfire matron of her family, and she’s out there running circles around many of us decades younger!

 

Not everybody has been as lucky as my friend. She was able to rebound from this horrible tragedy, and is still going strong. I know other people whose tragedies slowed them down much more, and they are still recovering, trying to get their lives back on track.

 

I told one such friend who is nearly recovered, that we need to strive to be like my matron friend! We have a lot of years ahead of us, hopefully, and we want them to be productive, happy, and blessed with the abundance of love, and prosperity.

 

It gave me a lot think about in regards to thankfulness, reaping what we sow, and good fortune. It also makes me think of how much we have to be thankful for from our elders.

 

All the things they did before us are the things we now build upon. Then, what we do adds to the foundations our children build their futures upon. Our elders shaped us so we could further shape others. Where would any of us be today without them?

 

Mabon is about the dying back of the god, who will be reborn, as does the earth. It is when day and night are equal, and afterwards, nights lengthen, creating shorter days. We move toward Samhain, the beginning of Winter.

 

The turning wheel of seasons and Sabbats reminds me of how, as human beings, we move through our own personal cycles. Time not being linear, we often come back around to what we began.

 

One way we do this is that, as we age and grow, we become wise, and share our wisdom with those we are mentoring. They in turn, mentor others. We become, for one another, the eternal and never-ending cycling life, and time, creating, and changing traditions, and sacred ways together.

 

This month…

I made the mistake of waiting until only a couple days of due date to start thinking of what I wanted to write about for this Sabbat! Likely, I will be a day or two late turning this article in! As usual, I pulled up the past couple years of articles to ensure I don’t write about the exact same thing again.

 

It dawned on me I’d only read of Mabon ap Modron. I knew we called the Sabbat Mabon, and yet I’ve never met a devotee of his, nor have I attended ritual that specifically venerated him. I was reminded that one of the early Wiccans, Aidan Kelly named the Sabbat Mabon…and lucky for me, he is on my friends list on Facebook. I say that he is one of my elders being what I consider a founder, and I consider him an elder of everybody who calls themselves Wiccan today. We are more than blessed for all he is done, and very lucky he is still there for us.

 

He was kind enough to agree to let me ask questions and include what he answered in this article.

 

First, a bit about him.

 

Aidan Kelly

 

 

A picture when Aidan Kelly was younger- even younger than I am!

 

 

A more recent photo of him!

 

Born in 1940, Kelly is known by many as one of the co-founders of Covenant of the Goddess, and the writer and researcher for the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn.

 

I, however, first heard about him from my Priest, Lord Shadow, who is a strong believer in dispelling all forms of bullshit. He spoke highly of Kelly’s publication Crafting the of Magic, which enjoyed a second edition in 2008 as Inventing Witchcraft.

 

This publication gave evidence that Wicca was created by Gardner, and showed where he got inspiration for certain things used in it. For example, there are some things that were garnered from sources like Crowley, which were in no way an unbroken set of practices from pre-Xtian British practice. Kelly listed plenty of reasons there is no evidence Gardner was actually initiated in 1939 by an established coven as he claimed.

 

Some people were highly pissed off by this.

 

Some said Kelly published secret information from Gardner’s Book of Shadows, supposed to be for Coven members only.

 

I always get a kick out of how somebody could be upset by the public having knowledge of Gardner’s work since he actively published so “secret” information, himself. There were actually early Wiccans who were quite upset Gardner spoke so publicly about Wicca, and they, personally were concerned about being outed from the broom closet. Much could be written on just this topic itself.

 

You can find Gardner’s Book of Shadows to read for free on Sacred-texts.com. Better yet, I will provide the link here. I am sure plenty of Gardnerians have personal of Shadows that are different from this one, however, as some create their own .

 

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/gbos/index.htm

 

Gardner also drew much inspiration from Margaret Alice Murray’s writings. She had been a prominent Egyptologist, and her claims the witch trials were persecuting actual practices were not well received by everybody. Gardner was, however, more than inspired by her claims.

 

While some hold fast the belief what we do in Wicca is what has always been done, others reject the idea that Wicca was the folk religion of ancient Britain that went underground during “burning times”. Many assert it is modern practice, created in modern times, and inspired by modern writings, interpretation of ancient lore, and the very creative minds of Gardner and others.

 

Just because it’s neo practice, and an attempt to revive veneration of these old gods does not make it any less valid to many of us. With the evidence out there that Gardner created Wicca, and others like Doreen Valiente helped polish it, I have never understood the need some have to believe Wicca is a carbon copy of pre-Xtian Pagan practice. Wicca today is changing, and means many different things to many different people. Fifty years from now, it will be even more different. Wicca is a living tradition, and that means it evolves, which suits the people who practice it. That’s a good thing.

 

Thankfully, Kelly, himself is still teaching and writing various topics, and he’s sharing the beautiful poetry he composes.

 

Here is the short interview I did with him about Mabon.

 

Mabon Interview of Aidan Kelly

 

Saoirse– “Why, specifically did you name the Sabbat Mabon is my big question?”

 

Kelly– “Archaeological and mythological evidence is that the fall equinox is an ancient ( at least 5k years) fest associated with death and rebirth of a young person (Kore, Issac) . Mabon is the only one I could find in the Northern myths.”

 

Saoirse– “ I was marveling that I have NEVER met a devotee to that god, however, I have attended plenty of Mabon rites. I am wondering if you think this is typical these days, and Neo-Pagans have broadened pantheons?”

 

Kelly– “Actually, he is a minor character in an obscure tale in the Mabinogin, so that’s not surprising. But lots of people want to argue that he should be honored on some other Sabbat, because they don’t get what question I was asking.”

Saoirse– “And what was the question you were asking?”

 

KellyWhat myth about a child rescued from death night have been associated with the equinox in Northern cultures?”

 

Saoirse– “And Mabon was, absolutely. That is interesting that although we don’t venerate Mabon specifically, we call it Mabon anyhow in the rites I have seen, the god who dies is not named- he is just called the god.”

Kelly– “We have the four Gaelic names for the Celtic Sabbats, but only three Saxon names for the other four, which are far older. I wanted a name poetically parallel to Yule, Eostre, and Litha. I would have preferred a Saxon name, but could not find one. And Mabon ap Modren means “son of the mother” just as Kore (girl) is “daughter of the mother.” 

 

Saoirse– “I am thinking Balder, except he was not resurrected- unfortunately

What initial reactions did people have to your naming it Mabon? Did those reactions change over time?”

 

Kelly– “I used the name in the “Pagan-Craft” calendar I was putting out in 1974 (first of its kind, AFAIK), sent a copy to Oberon. He liked it, started using it in Green Egg, and it went the 1970s equivalent of viral. I don’t remember when I started getting arguments, because they are not important enough to qualify for being remembered.”

 

Saoirse– “I agree! Did you specifically write Autumnal Equinox rites that included Mabon ap Modron? Or had you attended any? I have not, myself, and I am wondering what you feel would be appropriate in ritual?”

 

Kelly– “No, our Mabon Sabbat is a commemoration of the Eleusinian Mysteries and so is focused on Kore/Persphone, with Demeter, Hades, Hermes, and Hekate and a couple of other gpoddesses in supporting roles.”

 

Then, Kelly was good enough to scan, and send me a copy of the ritual, which I will share here. It is a full eighteen pages long!

 

So, before I share it, I will share my suggested working if you don’t want to use Kelly’s, that is!

Before you read the rituals, here is the link to last years article I did for Mabon, which has a little more historic information.
http://paganpages.org/content/2016/09/celebrating-the-old-ways-in-new-times-22/

******************

Saoirse’s 2017 Mabon Working

 

I suggest an honoring of an elder.

 

How you do this all depends on what your own particular elder appreciates.

 

For me, I’m baking my Priest a pie. He loves my pies.

 

Some like to be taken out for dinner. Some just like a visit.

 

If however, you prefer an actual ritual, I suggest a blessing of your elder.

 

Unless you have your own way of doing this, I suggest a simple way of doing so.

 

You may prefer to do this with just the two of you, or you may do so before a group.

 

I love to do blessing rites at night, and by candlelight, or around a fire outdoors, personally.

 

Use whatever oil you deem appropriate for anointing. Be aware some people have sensitive skin, and some essential oils will burn skin if applied full strength. You can use a drop or two of your chosen oil with light olive oil, or just use olive oil, itself, which you can easily say a prayer over to bless.

 

Select the incense you feel is appropriate. I prefer Nag Champa for everything, personally. It’s a sandalwood blend which I use to cleanse and bless.

 

Select the appropriate candle. I use plain old white tealights.

 

Then, you will need a small bowl of water. Some people buy filtered water for this. I just use tap water, myself.

 

For this working, I do not suggest blessing the materials used first, because YOU are the one doing the blessing, and the materials you use to represent the elements are just representations of your, personal blessing. I realize not everybody feels his way about magical materials. If you feel more comfortable blessing the items beforehand, I agree you should do so in your own way.

 

You will light the candle first, then light the incense from the candle. Place the candle, incense, oil, and water on your chosen table, or altar.

 

Standing or sitting by your elder, tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them how thankful you are to them. (You might want to have a box of kleenex handy!)

 

Pick up the incense. Smudge your elder with this, and say “You are a lifegiver, breathing your wisdom and words of truth into me. I will never be lost in ignorance or confusion thanks to your words. Because of all you have taught me, I will be as a voice of truth, and teach others. “ Put the incense back in its place on your altar.

Then hold the candle up before your elder, and say, “You are a beacon in the darkness, lighting the way for me. I will never be lost in the dark thanks to your love and guidance. Because of all you have done for me, and taught me, I will be as a bright light to guide others.” Replace the candle on the altar.

 

Pick up the water, and you don’t want to splash a lot on your elder. Just dab a few dots of it on them here and there, or sprinkle it around them. Say, “ You fill me with the waters of life. Because of you, I will never be empty. I will never thirst. Because of all the life you have filled me with, I will go forth, and fill others.” Replace the water in its place on the table.

 

Pick up the oil. Put a little drop of it on your thumb, and trace your sacred symbol on their forehead. Mine is of course, the pentagram, yours might be something else. As you trace your symbol, say, “My beloved elder, I bless you in the name of our faith and our gods. May you be blessed with good health, great wealth, long life, and great love. Blessed Be.”

 

And then feed them something yummy!

****************

Aiden’s Kelly’s Elusinian Ritual for Mabon Sabbat 

 

This is a total of 18 pages, and was kindly provided for education including footnotes! Kelly wrote this, including the poetry, and its first full scale performance was in 1973. Blessed Mabon, and Blessed Be!

H. The Eleusinian ritual for the Mabon Sabbat

Celebrants:

Singing parts:

White Priestess, or Priestess of Jana;

Green Priestess, or Priestess of Sophia;

Black Priestess, or Priestess of Persephone;

The Black Man;

Dancing parts:

Kore;

Demeter;

Persephone;

Hades.

After all have been gathered into a circle, the Black Man makes needed announcements, such as about “Rain/Grow” and what to do with candles. The normal NROOGD Opening is then done, down through the Calling of the Quarters. At that point, with the Black Man still holding the sword in the center of the circle, the special ritual begins.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

[First Speech of the Sacred Herald]

It happened one day that the Lord of All Unseen was driving his char­iot around the boundaries of Sicily, checking the firmness of its foundations, to be sure that the giant who is pinned beneath the island could not tear it up, and so expose those who dwell below to the frightening rays of the Sun. As he drove, he was seen by the Lady of Mount Eryx, whom some call Aphrodite, and some call Perse­phone, as she sat upon her airy throne.

 

WHITE PRIESTESS [ #1, Venus’s Song]1

Here I sit upon my hill,

Maiden of every young man’s dream,

But I am living proof, my love,

That women are rarely what they seem.

For here I am the Queen of Death

And yet the Queen of Love:

My right hand holds the pomegranate

And my left, the dove.

I dance in many masks for men,

Sing many songs, play many parts,

And by my hands tell who I am,

Just before I break your heart.

I am the White Lady of your dreams

Whom you both long and fear to seize.

I lead you on through silver lands

Of singing stones and melting trees.

Wherever you look, you see me there:

Aphrodite on her shell,

Luna sailing through the leaves,

Persephone in Hell.

And now, my love, a tale we’ll tell

Of lovely wars and witty strife:

As poets always have foretold,

Death will be overcome by life.

This mountain is an organ pipe:

Beneath it Typhon groans and shakes

Where Zeus has trapped him for his crimes,

Breathing fire and belching quakes.

 

Hades, Lord of All Unseen,

Rides around the island’s coasts,

Fearing the quakes will let in light

To terrify his subject ghosts.

So, love, go pierce his gloomy heart

And let him chase me by the shore

Until I turn and capture him

And win the last third of my war.2

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

And so, resolving to regain the rest of her former realm, she dis­patched her Eros to pierce his heart. Thus it happened that, heart­sore and lonely, Hades came to Zeus, to ask for the hand of Kore, the only daughter of Zeus and Demeter; and Zeus, for his own reasons, gave his permission.

Soon afterward Kore was out one day, gathering flowers beside the sea with her companions, the daughters of the ocean. Suddenly, wild a wild clamor, there appeared a great golden chariot. Its driver scooped Kore up in his arms, and disappeared with her into a chasm that opened in the earth.

Demeter, her mother, hearing Kore’s fading cry, ran to find her, but she was nowhere to be seen. Demeter searched over the entire world, until finally, weary and despairing, she came to Eleusis, in disguise, and accepted a position as nursemaid to the King’s infant son. In gratitude for the royal family’s hospitality, she began the make the child immortal, by laying him in the fire every night. But one night the Queen came upon them, and screamed in terror. In sud­den anger Demeter cast the child upon the ground, and told the Queen that her child would remain mortal. Then, revealing her true iden­tity, she ordered that a temple be built for her and that the myster­ies of Eleusis be founded.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES raises sword and sings the following as recitatif.

[ #2, Agyrmos]

Keep solemn silence! Keep solemn silence! We sing, to Demeter and Kore, to Her who bears fair offspring, to the nourisher of youth, to the wealthy one, and to the threefold Graces. If your tongue is comprehensible, and no blood is on your soul, attend! Attend! For here we begin the mysteries of the Twofold Goddess, and of Her gift to mankind, that death is no longer our evil. To all who do this with us, abundant good shall come. Io! Evohe!

 

The BLACK MAN/HERMES steps back to the altar, and the three priestesses step forward.

[ #3, Kore’s Song]

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

Cora, my child, so gentle and wild,

Dance, while flowers sing praises for you.

Kore dances into center of circle and continues dancing.

Soon you must pass into woman’s knowledge;

Dance in your innocence, soon to be lost.

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

The Gods have their plans, despite those of man,

For all of nature depends on changing.

You have been chosen to turn the seasons:

Soon will the Lord of the Night share his throne.

 

WHITE PRIESTESS

Behold, He comes, the Lord of the Drum,

Hades dances into circle; he and Kore dance a duet of seduction.

With his brilliant white hair and laughter.

He who rules Death is the perfect lover:

He brings you flowers though snow’s on the ground.

 

ALL THREE PRIESTESSES

Persephone, what do you see

From your throne in the land of secrets?

The flowers of summer have long since faded;

Yet even in winter there’s fire in the ground.

Hades and Kore conclude their duet by dancing out of the circle and down to the sea. The priestesses return to the altar.

[ #4, Demeter’s Dance of Grief]

 

DEMETER

dances into circle and mimes a search for her daughter, then lights her two torches at the cauldron. She gestures all to come forward to light their candles, then leads all down to the sea.

BLACK MAN/HERMES

To the sea! To the sea! Haladay mustai!

At the sea, BLACK MAN/HERMES halts the procession.

DEMETER

plants her torches in the sand, strips, and plunges into the sea. Rising from the sea, she stands briefly between the torches, then her attendants wrap her in towels, then replace her robe. Picking up her torches, she now leads the procession on a devious path to the underworld.

At the entrance to the underworld, all are instructed to put out their candles as soon as they have found a place to stand inside. The next speech is said in the dark, as bullroarers sound.

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Here, in the lands below the earth,

We come to seek a recompense.

A girl is dead. That’s clear,

And all too close to home, for every time

We ask “What does it mean?” and, being human,

Cannot rest until we have an answer.

For behold! Demeter, the mother of all life,

In rage at the loss of her daughter,

Has sealed herself up in her temple,

And all life has slowed and stopped.

Here time itself stands still.

But now Zeus nods, the knot unties,

The balance is transcended.

For it is not Kore who’s restored, but us:

It is Persephone who comes, and she is every girl

Who faces a door she must go through,

Through which she can never return.

Hear the mystery of Eleusis!

The Queen of the Dead is the source of our life!

sings, to tune of #1

Our Lady is the Queen of Death,

And yet the Queen of Love:

Her right hand holds the pomegranate,

And her left, the dove.

[ #5, Proclamation of the Mystery]

Holy Brimo, the raging slayer, has born the holy child, Brimos, in fire!

The mighty Goddess has given birth to the mighty God!

Io! Evohe!

All sing back “Io! Evohe!” and orchestra immediately breaks into Persephone’s Dance.

[ #6, Hymn to Victorious Persephone]

 

ALL

Khaire, Persephone Nike!

At the crash of the gong, the underworld is flooded with light; Persephone leaps into view and dances wildly to the music of the hymn.

Who is great in the sheaves of the last of the wheat

When the mowers cut it all down!

She is the one with the power!

She will dance on the skulls of the last of the great

As they turn to honey and wine.

She holds the branch of renewal!

For the sword cuts the branch to the ground in the fall

But the branch will blossom in spring.

Hail to the dance of the Black One!

She has trampled on death and has shown us the path

That will bring us each to rebirth!

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Make way for the Queen of Hell!

Persephone marches out, followed by the BLACK MAN/HERMES. She takes one torch and begins to lead the procession back to the circle.

BLACK MAN/HERMES uses other torch to relight everyone’s candles, then joins end of procession, followed by the musicians. Back at the circle site, Persephone continues dancing as the circle reforms. When it is complete, BLACK MAN/HERMES signals the musicians to silence.

Persephone draws an ear of wheat or corn from her bosom and holds it aloft for all to see. Demeter screams in anguish as Hades crawls forward from under her skirt, then leaps to his feet and dances over to join Persephone in their Wedding Dance.

[ #8, Marriage Song of Moon and Sun]

 

WHITE PRIESTESS

I am the white and somber wench,

Knife of the hunter,

New of the moon.

I climb the hill of the changing halves

And burn in leaves of the verging trees.

Leap of the shadow,

Flash of the arrow,

Crimson and silver I reap and weave.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the gold and amber man,

Sired by the sun,

Born of the moon.

I slay the Gorgon for my shield

And take the musing Moon to wife.

Sword of the father,

Wand of the mother,

Sunwise and whirling I ride the sea.

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

I am the green and secret wife,

Fire of the wedding,

Bells of the sea.

I wind the round of the breeding moon,

O furrow the earth beneath my knees!

Blue of the harpers,

Gold of the pipers,

Threefold and singing I plow the seed.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the iron and scarlet man,

Blow of the hammer,

Cry of the steel.

I riddle the secrets of the trees

and lead the dance of the harvest moon.

Forge of the mother,

Spark of the maker,

Fourfold and lightning in every nerve.

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

I am the black and comely bitch,

Pipes of the crescent,

Beats of the Earth.

I stir the fire of the howling night

and bless the cup of the fertile seas

Gongs of the dancers,

Flames of the banners,

Sunwise in silence I clear and sow.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the black and violet man,

Branch of renewal,

Words of the owl.

I guide the track of the spiral dance

Across the sky and under the waves.

Mask of the hero

Reversed in a mirror,

I am the reaper who stays to sow.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES AND GREEN PRIESTESS

now charge the “eggs and tea”: chopped hard-boiled eggs in a tambourine or other drum, and the “kykeon” (mixture) tea in a cymbal.

[ #9, Blessing of the Offerings]

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

When Her name is memory, Her voices are a choir.

They stir the cup of music, of poetry and fire.

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

And when Her name is Mystery, She brews the cup that sings,

“All who drink shall be reborn;

All shall have the gift of kings.”

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES AND GREEN PRIESTESS

She stands before, she stands beside:

The Maiden has become the Guide.

The spiral dance, the egg of life

Replace the apple and the knife.

The priestesses and any helpers now serve the eggs and tea around the circle.

Demeter brings a vessel of water to the center, and three times casts a handful of water into the air. Each time she does so, Black Man/Hermes cries out loudly

Rain!

 

ALL

Grow!3

[ #10, Blessing of the Initiates]

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

There is an immortality

Of the spirit and the body and the mind,

And all three immortalities

Are my gift to mankind.

There is always more; there is no end.

So rejoice! For death cannot win!

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Whenever the serpent begets the bull,

The bull will father the serpent.4

 

ALL

Blessed be they who have seen beneath the surface of the world.

They have seen the end of life, and its Goddess-sent beginning.

Thrice blessÇd5 are they who have seen these mysteries,

For when they go to the house of the Unseen Lord,

They alone shall live in happiness.

But those who have never shared in such holy rites

Will suffer every sorrow in that house,

Until they fade away into the darkness.6

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Sing each phrase back to me after I sing it to you.

[ #11, Marturo hos Pepoika]

I have fasted.

I have drunk the kykeon.

I have eaten from the drum.

I have drunk from the cymbal.

I have entered the wedding chamber.

A kid, I have fallen into milk.

I have seen beneath the surface of the world.

I have seen the end of life

And its Goddess-sent beginning

And they are the same.

I am an initiate of mysteries.

I shall not fade away.

Evohe!

 

ALL

Evohe!

The ritual now ends with the normal NROOGD “Grounding and Opening of the Circle.”

 

 

Important Links:

Aiden Kelly’s Facebook Page

Covenant of the Goddess’s Facebook Page

Covenant of the Goddess’s Web Page

 

 

 

Appendix to the Sabbats: Eleusinian Mysteries

 

The most important Athenian festival was that of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which have intrigued scholars for centuries: because the contents of the Mysteries were an Athenian state secret, we cannot be sure we have any clear idea of what happened during them. The Mysteries fell into two periods: the earlier, in Anthesterion, was called the Lesser Mysteries, and probably involved a ritual or drama about the life, death, and resurrection of Dionysos; the later, in Boedromion, was called the Greater Mysteries, and was definitely centered on the myth of the Rape of Persephone, as told in the Greek poem called the Homeric Hymn To Demeter. It has often been thought that initiation into the Lesser Mysteries was required before initiation into the Greater Mysteries, but this does not seem feasible, since in Roman times many people came from around the Empire in Boedromion to be initiated at the Greater Mysteries. (Of course, it could be that the earlier requirements were liberalized during the Imperial period.)

 

The Mysteries, according to both Greek legend and archaeological data, originated around 1500 B.C.E., give or take many decades, and were at least in part imported from Crete. Preserved by the local families, the Mysteries underwent a theological reform, as evidenced by the Homeric Hymn To Demeter, around 700 B.C.E., that is, at about the same time that the Athenians annexed Eleusis to their state and made the Mysteries the official religion of the Athenian empire. The Mysteries remained the central rite of Greco-Roman paganism — every civilized person tried to make the pilgrimage to Eleusis at least once in a lifetime, just as Muslims now make their Hajj to Mecca — until the fifth century C.E., when an army of Christian monks was sent in by the Byzantine emperor to tear the buildings at Eleusis down to the ground brick by brick, in order to prevent the people from going there, as they had continued to do.7

 

Despite the famous “secrecy” of the Mysteries, it was no more effective than the current “secrecy” of the Craft movement. We have more data about Eleusis than about any other pagan religion of antiq­uity, and we almost certainly do know what was done there. There is a famous story that Aeschylus, who was a native of Eleusis, as soon as his first tragedy had been produced, was called before a council of priests and accused of giving away the secret of the mysteries. Aes­chylus, however, responded, “I didn’t know it was a secret”8 — which became a catchphrase in the classical world — and proceeded to dem­onstrate that, since he had never been initiated, it was the council of priests who were giving him information they were oathbound not to reveal (a position I have found myself in relative to the more ortho­dox Gardnerians). He was acquited, of course, and the Eleusinian families then proceeded to adopt the new costumes that Aeschylus had designed for his actors as the official ceremonial robes for the Mys­teries9: even in the classical world, life imitated art. Since this very first tragedy would have enacted scenes perfectly familiar to us from the Greek myths, we do know what happened at Eleusis — but since we don’t know even the title of that first tragedy, we don’t know exactly which myth holds the secret. Still, it is possible to make some educated guesses, and I believe that Professor Walter Burkert of Zürich has broken the code.

 

Month 3. Boedromion, “month of helpers,” 30 days; began in August or September.

 

5 — Genesia = Nekusia = Nemesia, the clans’ feast of the dead.10 On the Proerosia see Clinton p. 22. In “the ritual of the sacred plowing observed at Eleusis, . . . members of the old priestly family known as the Bouzygai or Ox-yokers uttered many curses as they guided the plough down the furrows of the Rarian plain.”11 That “fair-tressed Demeter, yielding to her passion, lay in love with Iasion in the thrice-plowed field” (Odyssey 5.125-7) is the mythic analog to the folk ritual worked at this festival. As Plutarch (Moralia 144) comments about the three sacred plowings, “most sacred of all such sowings is the marital sowing and plowing for the procreation of children.” Obviously this Greek ritual, at the beginning of their growing season, is quite parallel to those in northern Europe associated with Beltane.

11 — The epheboi sacrifice a bull to Dionysos, under direction of the archon.12

13 — Preparations for the Eleusinian Mysteries begin: a troop of epheboi, perhaps having been purified at the Nekusia, in their “customary dress,” march from Athens to Eleusis.

14 — The epheboi escort the priestesses, and probably the other officials, from Eleusis to Athens. The priestesses carry the sacral items kept at Eleusis to the Eleusinion at the foot of the Acropolis.13 They halt for a rest at the “Sacred Figtree” in the suburbs of Athens.14

15 — This day was the Agyrmos, “assembly,” which was, according to Hesychius, the first day of the Mysteries. The Archon Basileus summoned the people to the Painted Porch to hear the Hierokeryx, the sacred herald of Eleusis, in the presence of the Hierophant and the Dadouches, call, “Keep solemn silence. Keep solemn silence. We pray to Demeter and Kore, and to Ploutos and to all the other gods, for here we begin the Mysteries of the Twofold Goddess . . . “15 The Hierophant then declared, “I speak to those who lawfully may hear: depart, all who are profane, and close the gates. . . . If your hands are impure or your tongue unintelligible, I charge you once, I charge you twice, I charge you thrice to stay away from the sacred dance of the chorus of initiates. Let all others who believe in the Two Goddesses perform the Mysteries, under the blessing of Heaven. Lady Demeter, nourisher of our souls, make us all worthy to celebrate your Mysteries.”16 He also apparently declared that initiates (at least for the duration of the festival) had to abstain from the flesh of barnyard fowl, eggs, fish, beans, pomegranates, and apples (these seem to be the rules of the nine-day “fast” that probably began on this day), and that touching these things made a person as taboo as touching a woman in childbirth or a corpse.17 He then probably announced, “At our sacred Mysteries, all Hellenes shall offer first fruits of their crops, according to ancestral usage. . . . To those who do these things shall come much good, both good and abundant crops, to whomever does not injure the Athenians, or the city of Athens, or the Two Goddesses,” that is, Demeter and Kore.18

16 — Synoekia: sacrifice of 2 oxen to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, “of the clans.”19 On this day the cry was Halade mustai20, “Initiates, to the sea!” All who were going to be initiated had to walk the six miles to Piraeus, driving a piglet before them, be purified in the sea with the pig21, then drive it back to Athens. We can be sure the day’s events were not overly dignified. It was to this day that Athenaeus (13, 590) referred when he wrote, “Phryne [a famous courtesan] was even more beautiful in her unseen parts. . . . At the great assmbly of the Eleusinia and at the festival of Poseidon, in full sight of the whole Greek world, she removed her cloak and let down her long hair before she stepped into the water. It was she whom Apelles took as the model for his `Aphrodite Rising from the Sea.'” (This passage is especially valuable in proving Aphrodite’s connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries.) Clement of Alexandria, in revealing what he says are the secrets of the Mysteries, begins with Aphrodite, saying, “a cake of salt and a phallus are given to the initiates, . . . who bring the tribute of a coin to the Goddess, as lovers do to a mistress.”22

17 — A sow is officially sacrificed to the Two Goddesses in their temple in Athens. Each initiate sacrifices a sheep, whose fleece is needed for the initiation, as well as the purified piglet.23

18 — The initiates remain indoors, preparing the Kykeon, “mixture,” a tea of barley and mint, and baking pastries, probably in the shapes associeted with fertility. Outdoors, the uninitiated engage in a procession honoring Asklepios, and pour libations to Dionysos.24

19 — Early in the day the initiates, the Eleusinian officials, and all others gather in the main square of Athens, all wearing myrtle wreaths and white robes or other special garb; the priests and priestesses wore red or purple cloaks, and the Hierophant and Dadouches wore a strophion (a twisted piece of cloth, worn like a sash) and had long hair.25 The statue of Iakkhos (in late class­ical times thought to be Dionysos as an infant) is brought from the Iakkhaion, to be carried on its annual visit to Eleusis. The same band of epheboi (obviously an “honor guard”) serve as an escort for the Eleusinian priestesses, carrying the sacra, in baskets on their heads, back to Eleusis to begin the celebration of the Mysteries. The procession is headed by the pais ap’ hestia, the “child initiated from the hearth,” whose initiation was paid for by the state26, and who represented the entire Athenian people; he or she wore a garment that left the right shoulder bare, and a short chiton (to just above the knee), carried a myrtle staff, and was followed by all the other such children from preceding years who had not yet reached adulthood.27 Everyone in the procession wore a myrtle wreath on his or her head. The 14-mile procession to Eleusis begins, passing out of Athens via the portico at the Keramicos. There are many stops for resting and performing rituals at places along the way thought to figure in Demeter’s search for the lost Kore. One is a sanctuary devoted to Zephyrus, Demeter, Kore, Athena, and Poseidon, at the place where Phytalus invited Demeter into his home to rest, in reward for which she give him the fig tree.28

At the Kephisos bridge, the crowd is entertained by a woman who plays the part of Baubo or Iambe, telling “obscene” jokes and performing “obscene” dances (which certainly included exposing her genitals to the crowd).29 There was apparently another purification in the salt lakes, the Rheitoi,30 and after crossing the narrow Rheitos bridge, the Initiates apparently were challenged by priests and had to give passwords, then had a thread tied between the right hand and left foot.31 We can also suppose that Aristophanes’ rather mild parody in The Frogs, lines 324-459, gives us a very good idea of what was actually sung during the procession to Eleusis.

20 — At sunset, when the next day began, torches were lit, and because the Greeks would have used a 7/8 rhythm (or something similar) for a procession, it turned into a torchlit dance. It may well be that they now went not directly into Eleusis, but instead down to the beach, where there may have been a ritual concerning Aphrodite, and where the initiates were probably sworn to secrecy by having the Hierophant’s key placed upon their lips.32 The torchlit procession then proceeded up from the beach and into Eleusis proper.33

The first event within the sacred grounds of Eleusis was probably a women’s dance around the Kallichoron, the “well of fair dances,” where Demeter was believed to have sat and mourned. The next would have been the Kernophoria, the offering of first fruits carried in the traditional kernos (a vase with multiple chambers), in the small temples of Demeter, Persephone, and Ploutos in the Eleusinian precinct — and offerings to chthonian deities were normally carried out at or after sunset.34

21 — On the day of the 20th and on through the 21st, the initiates were probably taken blindfolded through a series of purifications and consecrations one at a time. They probably each had a guide who had been initiated in a preceding year35, who could actually now see the procedures and so became known as an Epopt, “wit­ness.” We have descriptions and vase paintings of candidates seated on a low throne, with left foot on a fleece, veiled and holding a torch, with a priestess holding a winnowing basket overhead, then with priests and/or priestesses dancing in a circle and singing around them.36 Judging from the “password” quoted by Clement of Alexandria — “I have fasted; I have drunk the kykeon; having worked with what I took from the basket, I placed it in the chest, then back in the basket” — each initiate must have worked some ritual with some of the sacral objects in the baskets that the priestesses carried on their heads in the procession. Clement also lists what these objects were: sesame cakes, pyramidal and spherical cakes, cakes with many navels, balls of salt, a Dionysian snake (which is obviously a phallic symbol), pomegranates, fig branches, fennel stalks, ivy leaves, round cakes, poppies, marjoram, a lamp, a sword, and a “comb,” which Clement explains is a euphemism for something that represents the female genitals.37 Perhaps the ritual worked involved placing the phallic symbol in the vaginal symbol, as some scholars have guessed, but obviously innumerable different kinds of rituals were possible with such objects.

22 — The central event in the Mysteries was a night-long ritual in the Telesterion, the Hall of Initiation, and this was the logical night for it to have happened. The initiates stood on raised steps around the edges of the Telesterion, and saw and heard something like a ritual drama.38 As Plutarch describes, “Just as persons who are being initiated into the Mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting, and jostle against one another, but when the holy rites are being performed and disclosed, the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence . . . he who has succeeded in getting inside and has seen a great light, as though a shrine were opened, adopts another bearing, of silence and amazement, and, humble and orderly, attends upon” the gods.39 Similarly, Dio Chrysotom says, “This is like placing a man in a mystic shrine of extraordinary beauty and size to be initiated. There he would see many mystic sights and hear many mystic voices, light and darkness would appear to him alternately, and a thousand other things would occur.”40 Galen mentions that an initiate would have given himself up “wholly to the things done and said by the Hierophants.”41 Lucius of Apulia says of his own initiation, “I approached near to hell, even to the gates of Persephone, and after I was ravished throughout all the elements, I returned to my proper place. About midnight I saw the sun brightly shine. Likewise I saw the Gods celestial and infernal, before whom I presented myself and worshipped them.”42 Perhaps this is metaphor, but it could easily be a description of a Craft initiation.

Proklos relates that, “In the most holy Mysteries, the initiates at first meet many sorts of spirits . . ., but on entering the interior of the temple, . . . they genuinely receive divine illumination, and divested of their garments [my italics] they participate in the divine nature.”43 (Proklos, as a devout dualist, obviously disapproves, but I think it must look familiar to any modern Witch.)

It is very difficult to assign a sequence to the events that may have taken place in the Telesterion, but I think Harrison’s logic holds water: the Sacred Marriage would probably have been celebrated before the birth of the Sacred Child.

Asterius44 wrote, “Isn’t there the descent into darkness, the sacred intercourse of Hierophant with Priestess, he and her alone? Aren’t the torches extinguished? Doesn’t the vast assembly believe that what is done by the two in darkness is their salvation?” He was probably misinformed about Eleusis; yet his words describe precisely the attitude of Witches toward the Great Rite.

Apparently what happened next is that the doors of the central chamber, the Anaktoron, were thrown open in a flood of light from a great fire that could be seen for miles from the open roof of the Telesterion45, and the Hierophant appeared, displaying an ear of wheat to the silent crowd and shouting, “Holy Brimo has brought forth a mighty son, Brimos!”46 We know that the Hierophant displayed the “secret sacred objects” (and that is what his title means) kept in the Anaktoron, into which only he was allowed, as only the High Priest of Jerusalem was allowed into the innermost sanctuary in that temple; and that he had an extensive speaking or singing part in the proceedings, partly from within the Anaktoron.47 He may have carried the sacred objects around the Telesterion in a procession, followed by all the other priests and priestesses48; this would be parallel with the Torah procession in the synagogue. There was also much dancing; Lucian commented that there are no Mysteries without dancing, and that those who violate the secrecy of the Mysteries are said to “dance them out.”49 With a rolling beat upon a gong that produces a roar louder than a jet plane,50 Persephone herself appeared — or so her priestess would have appeared, to the eyes of faith.51 Apparently her wedding to Hades was celebrated, for Michael Psellos asserts that the words, “I have eaten from the drum, I have drunk from the cymbal, I have carried the kernos, I have entered the bridal chamber,” were sung as an accompaniment to the Anakalypteria of Kore; this term might mean only “unveiling” or “reappearance,” but it is the common Greek term for a wedding.52

Walter Burkert also argues that another key event would have focused on the pais ap’hestia, the “child initiated from the hearth,” who represented the Athenian people, and who was the ritual analog of the infant Demophon, “voice of the people,” in the Eleusinian myth. Burkert argues that the child, doped with opium from Demeter’s own poppies, was placed in a swing, and swung through the fire — but when the swing returned, in it was a ram, which was then sacrificed, and its fleece used for the next year’s initiates. Obviously this ritual is related to the story of Abraham and Isaac, and it seems fitting that the same story should turn out to underlie both Greek and Hebrew religion, whose roots all go back to the eastern Mediterranean culture of ca. 1500 B.C.E. Burkert also feels that the key to the Greeks’ strong feelings about the ritual at Eleusis is that during it they were formally adopted as children of Demeter — perhaps in a ritual that involved marching under her throne53 — so that when they went before Persephone’s throne to be judged, they would be judged according to the rules for kin, not those for strangers — and that made all the difference in the world for Greeks.

23 — The final events at Eleusis included the rite of the Plemochoai, top-shaped vases, which were tipped over, one toward the east, the other toward the west, just about at sunset, to pour a libation down into the earth, perhaps into a chasm.54 It was probably also on this last day, and perhaps as part of the same ritual, that “looking up to the sky they cried `Rain!’ and looking down at the earth they cried `Grow!'”55

 

 

1

2 I shouls asmit that this song was asses in the version that was part of my “doctoral dissertation in the form of a three-act myisical comedy” and was not in the original script.

3 We know from Hippolytus 5:2 (Ante-Nicene Fathers, V, 51) and from Pro­clus on Plato’s Timaeus 293 (cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 161) that this “Rain/grow” bit of fertility magic was among the closing ceremonies at Eleusis, perhaps out on the Rharian plain, where it could not have been kept secret.

4 This is obviously a fragment from some sort of ritual; it is given by Fir­micus Maternus 26; Arnobius 5:21; and Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation, 2:14.

5 This “thrice-blessed” term was standard in wedding songs; e.g., see Odysseus’s remarks to Nausicaa in the Odyssey.

6 This stanza is a rather free amalgam of the “beatitudes” in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 480-482; Sophocles fragment 753 Nauck (from Plutarch, Moralia, 21F); and the Pindar fragment (137 Sandys) from Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 3:3,17.

7 Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers, 475-6.

8 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 3.1.17, and Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 2.14 (p. 361, ANF).

9 Athenaeus 1.21d.

10 Farnell, III, 23.

11 Frazer’s ed. of Apollodorus, Library, p. 227.

12 Placement is best guess; Willetts, Cretan Cults, p. 49.

13 Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 151.

14 Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, 602;20.

15 See Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.4, 20.

16 Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, 3.13.118b; Tatian, In Graec. 8; Theon of Smyrna, On the Utility of Mathematics, p. 22; Aristophanes, Frogs, 369-70, 886-7; Lucian, Alexander the False Prophet, 38.

17 Porphyry, On Abstinence, IV.

18 Harrison, Prolegomena, pp. 150, 155.

19 Nilsson, 1951, p. 166.

20 According to Clinton, p. 13, the term muesis originally referred to the preliminary instruction, or catechesis, which could be given at any time during the year by any member of the Eumolpidai or Kerykes families; this was not an initiation, but quite parallel to the guidelines that any Witch would now give to a newcomer before bringing him or her to a circle. The final ritual of the Mysteries was the telete, which took place in the sanctuary of the Telesterion, per­formed by the Eleusinian priests and priestesses, only once a year. Thus mustes would be better translated as “catechist” than as “initiate,” and telete does have the sense of completion.

21 Plutarch, Phocion, 27,3.

22 On the events of this day, see Harrison, Prolegomena, pp. 152-4. Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos, 2.13.

23 On all this see Aelian, Animals, 10,16; and Aristophanes, Peace, 373-5.

24 Aristotle, Athenian Constitution, 56.4; Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, 4.18.

25 Clinton, p. 33.

26 Initiation was expensive; it added up to at least 12 obols, ac­cording to Clinton, p. 13, and that was about a month’s pay for the average Athenian. Hence paying for someone’s initiation was a fre­quent gift, especially for slaves and courtesans (as we know from Demosthenes’ Against Naeara, 21), since it could not be taken away from them.

27 Clinton, p. 108, 111.

28 Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 151.

29 See Hesychius and the Suda under Gephuris.

30 See Hesychius on Rheitoi and Pausanias, Attica, 38.1-3.

31 See Photius, Krokoun.

32 See Sophocles, OEdipus at Colonus, 1045-53; Pausanius, Elis, 1.20.3.

33 The use of torches for nocturnal processions was no secret; and I think the “torchlit search for Kore” (as in, e.g., Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 1.21) was merely an allegorical interpretation of this procession in light of the story of Demeter and Kore.

34 Here Psellos’s second icon fits: torches because it was night; drums and cymbals as both musical instruments for the procession and vessels to pour the offering, in the form of a pelanos.

35 Referred to by Plutarch, Moralia, 765A.

36 See Dio Chrysostom, Discourse 12, 33; Plato, Euthydemus 277d; Eph. Arch. 1885, p. 150. Gilbert Murray, Five Stages, p. 23, says the Dadouchos is the initiator during this stage. If Aristophanes, Clouds, 259ff, is not just foolery, the catechist was also sprinkled with flour or chalk at some point.

37 Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos, 2.18-9.

38 See, e.g., ibid., 2.12. That the rituals lasted all night is stated by Clinton, p. 38, citing I.G. II2, 3639; see also Greek Anthology, XI, Epigram 42.

39 Plutarch, Moralia, 81d-e.

40 Dio Chrysostom, Discourse 12, 33.

41 Galen, de Usu. Part., 7.14.469, cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 157.

42 Lucius of Apulia, The Golden Ass, 11.23. For a similar description, see Plutarch, Moralia, frag.178.

43 Proklos, Platonic Theology, p. 7.

44 As cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 563.

45 It is referred to by Plutarch, Themistocles, 15.1.

46 See Burkert, Homo Necans, for a convincing argument why this passage from Hippolytus, 5.4, is trustworthy. Brimo is a title of Hecate, who seems to complete a triad with Kore and Demeter; see Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautica, 861-2, 1211, and Lycophron, Alexandra, 1175ff; Propertius 2.2.11 presents this Hecate Brimo as a lover of the Hermes who is a major deity of the Samothracian Mysteries. This line also seems to be reflected in Euripides, Suppliants, 54, which takes place at Eleusis.

47 See Clinton, pp. 39 & 46, citing I.G. II2, 3411, and Aelian, Varia Historia, frag. 10.

48 Clinton, p. 47.

49 Lucian, The Dance, 15.

50 Ovid, of Love, 610; Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 140, citing Apollodorus of Athens as quoted by the scholiast on Theocritus, Idylls, 2.10. Olivier Messiaen, scholar and classicist that he is, uses this sound in his Et Expecto Resurrectionem Mortuis, “I Expect the Resurrection of the Dead.”

51 See Clinton, p. 47, and the sources he cites.

52 These words are cited by Clement, op. cit., 2.14, and discussed by Psellos in his comments on the third icon. See also the scholiast on Plato, Gorgias, 497C, cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 158.

53 E.g., see the ritual described at the end of the final myth in Plato’s Republic.

54 See Athenaios 11.496.

55 Given by Proklos on Plato’s Timaeus, p. 293; also mentioned by Hippolytus 5.2. Aeschylus, fragment 25, in which Aphrodite declares that she is the cause of the amorous rain that impregnates the earth to bring forth Demeter’s gifts, also shows that here again Aphrodite is tied to the Eleusinian rites. Hesychius gives “Konx hompax” as the final words of the initiation; despite much scholarly ingenuity at restoration, these appear to be indecipherable nonsense.

 

 

***

 

 

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.  

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

June, 2017

Attracting the Fae

 

 

Merry meet.

The summer solstice – along with Beltane and Samhain – are traditional times to honor the fae, fae folk, faeries, or simply, fey. They are magical creatures with powers given them by nature. They are guardians of botanicals, water sources and other natural elements. Others live in a magical underground kingdom.

Fey exist in all cultures, from the little people to elves, and from gnomes to leprechauns. They appear in art, music, folklore and movies. Fey have magic, and magic in and of itself is not good or bad, it’s all about how it’s used.

For some reason, many Americans think of faeries only as cute, tiny, harmless winged creatures. While there are some who look like that, there are many who are ugly and fierce. They can be playful and mischievous or annoying and frightening. If you’ve ever left a pair of earbuds out, the fae will be attracted to come and tangle them. Keys left out can also prompt fey pranks.

The fae like sugar, milk, honey, flowers and miniature people things like fairy houses.

 

 

 

 

Tess Ahlberg makes houses for them from bark, mushrooms and other gifts of nature.

From a young age, she said she was immersed in nature. She’d collect moss, pine cones, mushrooms, animal skins, shells, feathers and discarded insects during her travels in woods, meadows, marshes, swamps and on beaches. Listening to the messages whispered in the leaves, she was inspired to begin making faerie houses out of birch bark she found decomposing on the ground.

I ask permission from the forest, if I can harvest the bark, mushrooms, plants and moss. I also give the spirits a token offering,” she explained.

Milkweed pods and acorns, along with ferns, leaves and wild flowers that she’s pressed also found their way onto pieces of birch bark. She continued making houses, painting cured mushrooms for roofs and adding some details.

They add whimsy and magic when placed in a home; if left outside they will slowly decompose.

To encourage others to appreciate nature, provide homes for the fay, and an escape from the chaotic world, Ahlberg makes kits available. But you can gather all the materials yourself and make a home to invite the fae to visit.

 

 

 

 

In today’s society there is a disconnect with nature,” she said, hoping to help change that by reconnecting people with it.

Faeries are inter dimensional beings. If you go back to remembering your innocence of youth, a time when perhaps as a youth, some of us had glimpses into other enchanted worlds. We saw faeries and other enchanted beings in our peripheral vision,” she said.

You can connect to that magical world by being fae friendly. Houses and other inviting spots can be portals into enchanted worlds.

Try building a cave out of pebbles in a hidden spot in your yard, such as under bushes or in a flower garden. Set out a miniature wooden table and chairs, painted bright colors or wrapped in vines if you wish. Making a circle of stones, shells or pinecones can create a magical space. Hang tiny bells from branches.

 

 

 

 

Flowers such as daisies, cosmos, tulips, honeysuckle, lilac, sunflowers, lavender, snapdragons, pansies and heliotrope are all said to attract fey, as are herbs such as rosemary, mint and thyme.

Fey are also said to be partial to oak, ash, holly, willow and hawthorn trees

 

 

 

 

My three favorite spots in the yard where I was grew up were a stand of lilacs with a narrow space in the center, the small space between two large oak trees, and a willow tree I loved to climb.

To feel close to the fae now, I plant cosmos, sunflowers, rosemary and snapdragons in my community garden plot, leaving the center wild and untouched, seeded with wildflowers that attract hummingbirds, a mugwort plant and morning glories that reseed themselves. I leave offerings there from time to time, and know the fae are present because if I make the mistake of brining my cellphone, they download apps while I work in the garden.

 

 

 

 

They also bless me with joy. May they do the same for you.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

Check out Tessimals Celestial Faerie Houses and Faeries on Facebook or at https://www.etsy.com/shop/tessimal.

 

 

Interview with Author Leah Guy: The Modern Sage

May, 2017

Author Leah Guy: The Modern Sage

 

leah1

 

I was recently sent a copy of a book called The Fearless Path, and was immediately drawn to the ideas within the pages. The book addresses very real and modern concerns about healing in practical ways, but instead of telling us, as so many other sources do, to let go of our pain and past, it leads us down the more rewarding path of putting ourselves back together. Leah was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and herself for Pagan Pages.

Mabh Savage: Thanks for talking to us Leah. To start us off, can you describe yourself in three words?

Leah Guy: Sensitive. Determined. Sassy.

MS: Your book, The Fearless Path, is tagged as a ‘radical awakening to emotional healing and inner peace’. What prompted you to write this book at the time you did; what made you feel ‘now’ was the time to share your approach to healing?

LG: Honestly, there are two reasons. One is my personal timing. When I felt grounded enough, emotionally mature enough and ready to extend this part of my world with the masses. Secondly, and this sounds like cosmic fluff, but I was told to write the book, once by a voice in a dream that woke me and the other by a voice in a meditation. I don’t often hear voices, nor do I act on them, but this was something different. It was like a charge, a torch that was handed over to me to run with and I felt it was the right thing to do. It felt like the right time and my next step and almost a ‘duty’ or ‘calling’ if you will.

MS: Who would you say your book is primarily aimed towards?

LG: I used the dedication to reach out to all who suffer, yet have the courage to love. There is not one person that couldn’t benefit from the principles in the book because we all know pain, fear, heartache, guilt. We need to learn how to have a better relationship with suffering as it is a part of life. So I aimed the book at those, like me, who have had addictions, eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, low self-worth or other kinds of deep wounds.

MS: What was the biggest challenge in putting the book together?

LG: Starting! After I got started, the biggest challenge was allowing myself the freedom to speak openly about my experiences, many of which I’ve never spoken about publicly at all, and relating those in an honest way so that others can benefit.

MS: And what did you enjoy most about the writing process?

LG: Every step of the way I felt very supported. It felt as if I was supposed to be doing it and there was no time to wait. Although I practice what I write and teach, there’s a good deal of guidance in the book that was inspired and channeled, meaning that I had to get my own agenda out of the way and just listen. Before each writing session I gave myself 5 minutes to sit in meditation and listen, then trust that when I got to the computer I’d have something to say.

MS: How did you become introduced to the idea of chakras and energies within the body?

LG: When I was on my own healing journey, a couple of years after the sexual assault, I was encouraged to go to a metaphysical “school” in California. There is where I immersed myself in energy healing, meditation and learning about the chakras. Since then I’ve continued to work with energy and the chakras as a way to guide me to information within the body system, the emotional bodies and spiritual energies. I don’t base all of my work on the chakras, but they do offer information and guidance and I believe should be better understood in the scope of our overall wellness.

 

leah2

 

MS: During the introduction to the book, you tell us of your own traumatic experiences, and one of the questions you asked yourself at the time was ‘Is this my fault?’. Do you think this is common of many victims, to question their own culpability first and foremost?

LG: I believe one of the first thoughts that comes to a person who has been victimized is the self-inquiry ‘Is this my fault?’ Once the initial shock and fear of an incident has worn off, we immediately go to the programming and patterning that we know, which often results in kicking way back to the shame or guilt pattern of our youth. Because each of us has experienced shame to some degree, the ones of us that have had a moderate to severe imprint of shame will almost always consider how or what we did to cause any kind of suffering in our life. Even those with a mild shame imprint will have the fleeting thought of guilt because it is hard for our brains and emotional bodies to rationalize how something so painful could happen for no reason, or for a reason we can’t justify, therefore it must have something to do with my actions, looks, self-worth, or whatever the reason we conjure.

MS: Do the healing principals work for those who perhaps haven’t had an emotional trauma? For example, someone may suffer from chronic depression, caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, not a particular event in their past. Would they and others like them benefit from The Fearless Path?

LG: Yes, very much so. The Emotional Workouts, meditations and other exercises and philosophies are usable and impactful for any person who is experiencing imbalance, pain or trauma. Not to say that these concepts should be used exclusively, there is certainly room for medical care and other approaches to wellness. But the ideas are deep and profound in some instances, yet the very base root of their meaning is applicable and usable for all. Chemical imbalances can be helped by medicinal approaches for sure, but also, we know that diet, emotional stability and a connection to our true selves help to create balance as well. They should all be used together.

MS: Obviously, and as your books states, there are no quick fixes, but are there simple, everyday things that everyone can do to stay connected to their Self and Soul?

LG: I included the Emotional Workouts in the book for this very purpose; to give people ways to daily and simply stay connected to their Self and Soul. Gardening, journaling, meditation, helping a stranger, chanting or any of the others are wonderful examples of ways that we can get stronger and more connected day by day. We don’t turn fear or shame around with a simple decision. We have to solidify a stronger framework from which we operate and we do that by small acts of self-care and Emotional Workouts.

MS: Who is your biggest inspiration?

LG: I’ve never put any single person on a pedestal. There are so many people who inspire me for different reasons. The truth is I don’t know the names of most of the people who impact me the greatest. Yesterday I passed a man on the street who was struggling to walk. He had very worn and tattered clothes on and teeth that were never cared for. He was carrying two heavy grocery bags for what seemed like blocks and the look on his face stopped me in my tracks. His eyes and the lines on his face were saying that his experience alive had been hard but his determination, pride and his purpose was so very much worth living for. I walked by that man and was struck with humility and inspiration and the desire to have half of the strength that he showed.

MS: Do you have a favorite place to relax, or a place where you feel most connected to yourself?

LG: I love being in nature of any sorts. I love paths… walking paths, bike paths, beach paths. I’m a very purpose-oriented purpose, meaning I enjoy time and space when I’m creating ideas or art, gaining new perspectives, helping others or purposefully taking time to connect to nature or myself. A path is very symbolic to me. I feel inspired to keep going forward and seeing what new there is to discover.

MS: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

LG: I just recorded my first meditation CD, Guided Chakra Meditations for Emotional Healing. It’s inspired from the meditations in the book, but with music, visualizations and even a walking meditation practice. I’m in awe of this project as me and the musicians got together, without rehearsal, and flowed with the energy of the meditations without flaw. The CD is raw and uncut! I’m also planning some online webinars and private teachings, which I’m excited about also!

MS: Should we expect more books in the future?

LG: Yes! I’m already working to expound on a couple of topics from The Fearless Path. Some of the key ideas in that book are the PTED, or Post Traumatic Emotional Disorder, and Spiritual Mapping to name a couple.

MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2017?

LG: I’m looking forward to broadening my horizons. The past several years I have been hunkered down building a healing center and writing the book. I’m beginning to experience the many opportunities that are arising from those things and I’m eager to get back on the road, meet new people and hear their stories, as well create more stories in my own life.

Leah’s book The Fearless Path is out on 15th May 2017 and is available for pre-order now. You can follow Leah on Facebook, Twitter or her website.

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author and musician, as well as a freelance journalist. She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

Interview with Rachel Patterson: The Kitchen Witch

March, 2017

Rachel Patterson: The Kitchen Witch

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Patterson: The Kitchen Witch

Rachel Patterson, or Tansy Firedragon, is an accomplished witch with a passion for learning. She has written numerous books and is the High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven, and an Elder of their School of Natural Witchcraft. I caught up with Rachel to find out a bit more about her craft and her writing.

Mabh Savage: Can you summarise what it is to be a Kitchen Witch?

Rachel Patterson: It is a term that has been used in the past to describe someone that is a bit of a food expert and actually nothing to do with witchcraft at all. It is also a term used to describe a Scandinavian doll that is hung in the kitchen to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

Now whilst I do like to think I am a bit of a whizz in the kitchen I am also most definitely a Kitchen Witch. I follow the path of the old ways, I work with the Goddesses and the Gods and I work the Craft. So, what makes me specifically a kitchen witch? I like to use whatever is at hand, I don’t need fancy schmancy tools or expensive items and I work a lot of my magic when I am cooking food or working with herbs and plants.

I do have beautiful tools to work with but I find that most of the time I prefer to use whatever nature provides, for instance I have several beautiful hand crafted wands but what I tend to use is my finger. When I am working in a circle I cast it with herbs and I use natural items such as stones and feathers to represent the elements. I do have a cauldron but you could use an old casserole dish, I don’t use a chalice as such, I use a glass from the kitchen cupboard (although you can get some interesting and beautiful glasses from charity/thrift shops). If you want an athame then a vegetable knife or even a potato peeler work perfectly and if you want to use a wand how about a wooden spoon?

The kitchen is and always has been the centre of the home probably originally because the fire was kept going to cook the food and was therefore the warmest room in the house. It is a place where I feel comfortable and ‘at home’ and that is not just because I love food…It is in my kitchen that magic happens.

MS: You also go under the name Tansy Firedragon. Is this your magical moniker, and can you tell us how it came about, or is it a secret?

RP: Tansy Firedragon is indeed my Craft name and I have used it for many years. Tansy came from a visit to a local Roman palace where they were hosting a Celtic re-enactment day. There was a lady cooking ancient Celtic recipes and a lot of them used the herb Tansy, one in particular caught my attention and that was Tansy pudding. The name resonated with me and as I love working with herbs and cooking it seemed to fit me well. Fire is my favourite element to work with and I work with dragon magic a lot so that fell into place too.

MS: Can you tell us a bit about the talk you recently did at The Enchanted Market, in Bracknell?

RP: The Enchanted Market is now in its third year and is run by Max and Baz from the band Spriggan Mist and it is a wonderful event to be a small part of. My talk this year was about Animal Magic and working with spirit animals. I talked about where to start to find your spirit animal guide, how to connect, how to keep working with guides and we also did a meditation to meet an animal spirit guide. We had lots of different animals appear such as deer, frog, bat and even a dung beetle!

MS: How many students does the Kitchen Witch School have, and how do you manage your teaching alongside being an author and a busy witch?

RP: The numbers vary as we are online and therefore open to students from around the world but I co-run the school with my friend Tracey Roberts (Sunchylde Dryadmoon) and we split the students between us so that we can always provide one to one mentorship. It is very important to us to always be available to our students and never to take on too many so as to be overwhelmed. We also have a team of Hearth Guardians who are students that have worked through the three levels at the school and have either already earnt their High Priestess titles or are currently working on it. They provide another level of support to Tracey and myself but also to the students.

I am always busy! I also have a job out in the real world and two school age children so life is definitely all about finding the balance. Thankfully I work from home so it is easier to fit everything in, I don’t always achieve it but I try. The key for me is having a schedule, I use bullet points in my diary to plan out each week. And in recent years I have also learnt that it is OK to say no sometimes. I always felt that I had to do everything that everyone asked of me, which leads to being totally exhausted and overwhelmed. Now I weigh up each request and see how it fits into my diary and how it impacts other things. My family and own wellbeing has to come first.

 

animalmagic

 

MS: Your upcoming book is Pagan Portals: Animal Magic. How did this volume come about?

RP: Working with animal spirit guides is one of my favourite areas of the Craft to work with and we teach about it within the Kitchen Witch School and we have run workshops as well so it seemed the natural next step to put it all together in a book.

MS: Who will this volume appeal to? Does it matter what path the reader is on, or is it accessible to people of all spiritualties?

RP: Hopefully to everyone! Although I am a Witch I have also delved into all sorts of magical pathways including Shamanic practice so it has elements of all sorts within the pages. I hope it offers something for everyone no matter what journey you are on.

MS: Previously you have written about topics as diverse as Hoodoo and The Cailleach. Do you find that you can work across many magical paths, and do you have a favourite type of magic, one that calls to you more than others?

RP: My witchcraft journey started in Wicca but probably because at the time that was the only structure of learning available to me. I did complete all three of the Wiccan degrees but I also started to venture off in different directions. I love to learn and I love to study so I have ventured into Hoodoo which I found I was working with a lot of anyway as it has folk magic roots but I have also studied all sorts of different pathways taking bits from each one that resonated with me and added them to my own practice. I am a bit of a miscellaneous witch really. In fact, at a recent talk a lovely lady suggested that I was a cocktail witch; lots of different flavours blended together with a paper umbrella and a plastic monkey…I like that description.

If you had to pin me down I guess the path of a Kitchen/Hedge Witch is my real calling with a bit of goddess spirituality thrown in for good measure.

MS: You write a great deal about magical food and plants. How did you first discover the intertwining nature of food and magic?

RP: Working with herbs was one of the first areas of the Craft that I really connected with. I love gardening, cooking and eating so it all felt very natural to me. Once I had worked with herbs for magic it seemed only logical that food ingredients would have magical properties too.

As a busy working mother and wife, I have to work a lot of my magical practice into everyday chores and cooking is one of my passions and also a daily necessity so it just fell into place that I add magic into creating food.

We also started baking cakes for our open rituals and workshops…we have ended up with a bit of a reputation as cake witches…

MS: Is there a special or sacred place where you can relax and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle?

RP: My garden is my sanctuary. It is not large (we live in a terraced house on the edge of a city) but it is the place that I love to escape to. There is something magical about sitting in the peace and quiet of the garden surrounded by plants that I have grown and tended.

MS: What’s your favourite festival throughout the year, and how do you mark or celebrate this?

RP: This is a tricky one because although I originally learnt and followed the dates of all the sabbats, a few years ago, I realised that I was not connecting very well with most of them mainly due to the mad weather we have. I suspect Mother Nature is menopausal. When it was too warm to wear a coat on the winter solstice and geraniums were still flowering in January it all seemed a bit upside down. So, I started to work more with the energy of each month rather than dates of festivals on a calendar and then it progressed and now I actually work with the energy of each day. One of our lovely Hearth Guardians calls it ‘falling off the Wheel’.

My birthday is 31st October (yes really) so I should like Samhain best but I prefer the energy of December and the build up to the festive season, so Yule is probably the festival I feel most connected to.

MS: What books can we expect from you next, after Animal Magic?

RP: I have three more signed contracts:

Witchcraft…into the wilds – the manuscript for that is nearly finished.

“A book that leads us through the wilds of nature and back to the roots and bones of witchcraft, a natural witchcraft that works with the seasons and all the natural items that Mother Nature provides drawing on magical folk lore and a little bit of gypsy magic too. No fancy schmany tools or ceremonial rituals, this is about working with the source. Mother Earth provides us with the changing of the seasons and within that turning of the year she gives us everything we need to work magic with from natural energy in the form of storms, rain and sunshine to tangible items packed full of magical energy such as seeds, leaves and stones.”

And then probably for 2018:

Pagan Portals: The Triple Goddess

“An introduction to the mystery and magic of the Triple Goddess exploring her history, meaning and individual faces.”

And:

Beneath the moon: Witchcraft and moon magic for a deeper practice

“A full and in depth book about working with the moon and the magic that she offers.”

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have music that you enjoy, or a favourite book to lose yourself in?

I love to cook, specifically baking whether it is bread or cakes.

I love to read and my favourite author by far is Terry Pratchett.

My husband is in a rock band so music is always a big part of our life and my favourite band is Fleetwood Mac.

I make sure I have spare time and that is spent with my husband and children.

Who has been your biggest inspiration along your magical journey?

I have had some very good teachers during my years but I think the honest answer to this question is ‘my students’. The people that I have walked beside during their journeys have taught me so much.

And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2017?

I am very blessed to be able to do what I do so continuing to write and share with others that which I have learnt and to spend more time with my lovely family. I do count my blessings, perhaps not as much as I should but I am thankful for the life that I lead…so more of the same for 2017 would be great!

Find out more about Kitchen Witchery at http://www.kitchenwitchhearth.net/ and http://www.rachelpatterson.co.uk/, and you can follow Rachel on her own blog, at Witches and Pagans and via Patheos.

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author and musician, as well as a freelance journalist. See is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Follow Mabh on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

Merry Meet

December, 2016

marciayuleornies

 

                       Welcome

 

Our beautiful Front Page Image is the artwork of Marcia Stewart (RocknGoddess)interviewed in this issue of PaganPages.  

 

 

We have a Fantastic & Packed Yule Issue for you this month with some great features, such as…

 

mandalastones1

 

A Book Review on the book Meditative Mandala Stones By Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango.  

 

 

starcat

 

An Interview with author  Nikki Starcat Shields.

 

paganway

The Final Episode of Patrick Kavanagh’s short story series Kiara!

 

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It’s that time of the year again, when everyone is running themselves ragged trying to find the “perfect” gift for each person on their list. Well Susan Morgaine decided to help us out this year with her article “Crafty” Gifts for Witches & Pagans: A Guide to Yule & Holiday Gifts

 

and much much more!!!

 

Join us on Facebook  & Twitter!!

 

 

 

Interview with Author Raven Grimassi

June, 2016

Raven Grimassi: Communing with the Ancestors

Raven

I was sent a copy of Raven Grimassi’s latest book, Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies and the Cycle of Reincarnation, and was immediately intrigued by the beautiful style of writing and the inclusive nature that encompasses people of all paths. A full review of the book will be available on Pagan Pages next month, but in the meantime, I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Raven some questions about this fascinating volume.

Mabh Savage: Tell us about Communing with the Ancestors. What was your main aim with the book, and what type of reader will get the most out of it?

Raven Grimassi: The primary purpose was in deepening the work of connecting with the Ancestors.    It’s important that we enlist the aid of the Ancestors.  I feel that the readership for this book is anyone who wonders about the purpose of Life and about the role of reincarnation.

MS: You say that in your book you avoided focusing on any one particular cultural view or practice, which makes this book very accessible. What culture so you most identify with though, when communing with your own ancestors?

RG: If I had to focus on just one, then I relate most to my Italian heritage.  However, I am also German and Scot and I do not ignore this lineage.

MS: Is everybody capable of making a connection with their ancestors, or the ancestors?

RG: Yes, definitely.  The Ancestors are part of our DNA, they reside within us to the cellular level.  Even adopted people who don’t know their lineage can connect deeply with their bloodline heritage.  The Ancestors have never lost track of them for they reside within them.

MS: You speak of ‘getting out of the way’ during the writing process. Can you tell me more about that?

RG: When I struggled with writing this book, I head the inner Ancestral voices say “Stop trying to write this book and let this book be written.  I had to stop forging and directing the work, which meant I had to let things come through me as opposed to from me.   The hands on the keyboard were mine, but the material was coming from some other source.

MS: How did you first come across the concept of the Spirit Rider?

RG: Like so much else in the book, it was passed to me from the Ancestral voices. At the core was a concept I found in studying the Mayan Vision Serpent, an entity intimately connected with the Ancestors. I had also run across some material on the Hawaiian Huna concept of connecting with the Ancestors through a Shamanic technique that requires projecting consciousness outward from the tailbone of the spine. The purpose was to meet the Ancestors. From this two concepts, something formed and was passed to me. I was given the imagery of the Spirit Rider as a serpent form in which the Ancestors can connect with us through our spines.

MS: You write in a beautiful, metaphorical style. Do you think there is magic in poetry?

RG: I think that the essence of magic can be conveyed through poetry. 

    • Poetry

  • can also initiate a magical consciousness that can open inner portals that lead to visions and enlightenment.

    MS: You mention that in writing the book you became a student to it. What further lessons have been imparted since the completion of this volume?

    RG: It’s been an ongoing process.  The most activity has been around trying to firmly grasp where the persona worn by the soul comes from, and what exactly is the “pool of consciousness” that legends suggest was the original of the human consciousness.

    MS: The ancestral realm you speak of; is this what lies beyond what many Pagans refer to as ‘the veil’?

    RG: I’ve come to see the Ancestral Realm as the residing place of those who came before us.  It is connected to the Earth Plane and the Elemental Plane, even though technically it is in the Otherworld or Inner Dimensions.  That being said, I think that what is found on the other side of the veil is the Afterlife Realm, a temporary realm in which the Dead dwell for a time.  This is different from the Ancestral Realm.

    MS: What part of the landscape gives you the closest connection to the ancestors?

    RG: In general, areas with distinct rock formations seem to hold memory best.  This includes manmade formations such as Stonehenge.  Caves are excellent gateways to the Ancestors, and lakes and wells are also good points of access. 

    MS: Are you working on any more books at the moment?

    RG: I always have at least two books going at one time.  My primary focus at present is to complete a book I started over 30 years ago.  It is an examination of the Witch Lore contained in the writings of folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland.  In the book I will also present new findings about his “Witch informant” and the authentic tradition that she revealed to Leland.

    MS: The writings in Communing with the Ancestors sound like quite an intense process. How did you relax or take time away from it?

    RG: I actually don’t take time away from a manuscript that I am submitting to a Publisher. I work every day on it, and the process takes months to finish (anywhere from 3 to 6). I often take my meals while writing, and there are no days off.

    MS: And finally, what are you most looking forward to over the next few seasons?

    RG: Reconnecting with family and with old friends. Too much time has passed while pursuing my work.

    Raven’s latest volume can be purchased here and more information about his previous words can be found at his website http://www.ravengrimassi.net/.

    Interview Author Kenn Day: Body and Soul

    October, 2015

    Kenn Day: Body and Soul

    Kenn-Day-Show

    Author of Post Tribal Shamanism and Dance of Stones, Kenn has been a working Shaman and healer for many years, with his own practice since 1989. He now also offers workshops for those wanting to understand and experience his practice. Kenn was kind enough to chat to me about his work.

     

    Mabh Savage: What does the term Post-Tribal Shaman mean?

     

    Kenn Day: I coined the therm “post-tribal shamanism” many years ago, specifically to differentiate from the many rich and varied tribal traditions. I did this because, on the one hand, I knew that the modern, Western, post-industrial and post-TRIBAL world that I live in, still requires the presence, gifts and skills of shamans, offered in service to a rather different client base than that of a traditional tribal shaman. It was clear to me that there are important differences in how we can work, effectively and appropriately, with folks in this culture as compared to those raised in a tribal setting. In some cases, techniques which are completely appropriate and effective for the tribal shaman, working the tribal culture, would be not as effective, and even potentially damaging when applied to people living in our modern setting.

    Further, and equally important, I wished to be absolutely sure that I was not committing cultural appropriation. Respecting those cultures which still have active and thriving shamanic traditions is essential to the post-tribal path.

     

    MS: You’ve been ‘delving into the mysteries of the human spirit’ for over 30 years; what prompted you to write this book, Post-Tribal Shamanism, when you did?

     

    KD: I actually avoided writing this book for many years, before finally realizing that it would be a valuable resource — both for my own students, as well as others with an interest in exploring how shamanism emerges into our lives as modern humans.

     

    MS: What was your biggest challenge during the production of the book?

     

    KD: The biggest challenge was clearly the movement from the spontaneous, conversational way of speaking that I use when teaching, into the necessary rigidity of the written word.

     

    MS: Who do you think this book will appeal to the most? What kind of person will get the most out of it?

     

    KD: First and foremost, it was written for my students; for all of those who attend my workshops and work with me, either in person or at a distance. But secondly, I wrote it to respond to those who have a soul-level hunger to connect with their ancestors, the Earth, Spirit and all the other aspects of the world that we have become so disconnected from.

     

    MS: Would you say this is a follow up to your previous book, Dance of Stones, or is it an entirely separate volume?

     

    KD: Well, Dance of Stones was my most effective tool of procrastination. I literally wrote that book in order to avoid writing this one. At the time, back in the late 90’s, I was concerned that I would come out with “just another book on shamanism,” which would quickly fade into the background of all the other books on shamanism that had been popping out like mushrooms after a rain. Dance of Stones was (I believed it would be) more interesting, in that it is a narrative rather than a textbook.

    It helps that Dance of Stones is also based on my own experience. I was trying to decide what I could do about writing a book, when a new friend invited me for a road trip in Europe. Soon after starting off on that trip, it became clear to me that it would form a good basis for a book on shamanism — and it has!

     

    MS: Shamanism is very ‘in’ at the moment. Why do you think this is?

     

    KD: My spirit ally and mentor, Grandfather likes to say, “The nature of the soul is to awaken. The nature of the ego is to avoid that!” At every moment in history, there has been a tension between those parts of us that want to awaken to see everything as it is, and the parts of us that want to remain in the trance of ego — pretending that the world is exactly as it appears to be. Sometimes the soul nudges us toward wakefulness and we find ourselves looking for something beyond the superficial answers of ordinary “reality”. This search for deeper reality eventually transforms the ego into more of a reflection of the soul, rather than its adversary.

    Another answer for that question is simply that, the world has always needed shamans, and it needs them now more than ever. We have become very disconnected from some of the most important elements of what it means to be fully human. The response of our collective soul is to put out a call to those who might be able to help us move back into relationship with our humanity. This means connecting to our ancestors, to the Earth, to Spirit and so much more!

     

    MS: Do you consider yourself a Shaman, or do you avoid labels and simply see Shamanism as one aspect of your identity?

     

    KD: I do call myself a shaman, and have done so ever since Grandfather got it through my head that it was more ego-driven to refuse to call myself a shaman, when I was clearly filling that role, than it was to just let it be. After all, shaman is just a word. We use it because it conveys a certain Mystery more effectually than any other word. It connects us with the ancestors and the traditions that come before us and it allows us to work deeply, at a soul level, with those who we are in service to.

     

    MS: Tell us a bit about the training courses that you do.

     

    KD: The training course has always been an expression of my need to share these teachings with others, who might also put them to use in the world.

    I began with just a couple of workshops, which have gradually evolved into a foundation series covering 8 weekends, with a variety of advanced coursework for those who are still interested after completing the initial series.

    One thing that became clear early on is that I am incapable of teaching the same workshop twice. I can cover the same material, but somehow it comes out very differently with each new class, and of course it evolves over time as well. My intention with the workshops is to provide opportunities for the students to directly encounter the teachings and the Mysteries, in a way that gives them some practical skills to take home with them. Very little of that can be communicated by me talking, or by the handouts I pass around at the beginning of the class. Rather it is done by gradually introducing, one layer at a time, a complex pattern of practical exercises, discussion, trance and direct experience of those elements of the human experience that lay outside of what most of us have learned to think of as “reality”. In other words, the workshops are designed to gently and gradually blow your mind, making room for expanded awareness and deepening connection.

     

    MS: As well as Shamanism, you are versed in shiatsu and qi gong. Do you find that generally a healthy body leads to a healthy spirit? Do you look at fully holistic healing- mind, body and spirit?

     

    KD: Focusing on just one part of the pattern — Body, mind, soul or anything — is counter to the shamanic perspective. In shamanism — at least in post-tribal shamanism — attention is always being directed toward deepening integration, awareness and transformation. Getting too caught up just in the health of the physical can be a very effective way to avoid looking at the whole. That said, if one part of the whole is unhealthy, it generally indicates that all the parts are unhealthy. The challenge is often in determining how that shows up in each part, and what can be done about it.

    Going back to your mention of Qi Gong though, the Chinese have been practicing shamanism continuously for thousands of years, and have a well-developed language to describe the various processes we encounter. Since I am versed in Chinese medicine, which in turn is based on those earlier shamanic practices, I often use terms derived from the Chinese traditions. I also regularly teach my clients and students Qi Gong exercises or Tai Chi forms, in order to help them embody principals of shamanic practice.

     

    MS: Have you ever had any clients that were not open to the healing process? How do you deal with this?

     

    KD: This all depends on the individual. What works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone. I try to be open to allowing the client to drive the process as much as possible. If they need to leave and work with someone else in order to move forward, I need to support that. If they need to be challenged to do work that is uncomfortable for them, I will do that. If they need to have appropriate boundaries clarified so that the work is safe for them (and me) I do that as well.

    Going back to the idea that the soul and the ego are often at odds over which direction we are taking in our lives, I try to acknowledge and respect the ego, while continuing in service to the soul.

     

    MS: What’s the most common ailment, malady or condition you are asked to help with?

     

    KD: I would describe it as the “invisible wound” of disconnection; the deep trauma that arises from feeling a lack of belonging. I go into this in great depth elsewhere. I even have an entire weekend workshop and a chapter in my book about it. It can show up as anything from addiction and depression to chronic pain and fatigue.

     

    MS: What are the challenges with remote healing?

     

    KD: The biggest challenge for me is pretty easy to overcome, rather surprisingly. That is the simple shift of two people in very different places into a space where we can work together. I do this by extending Medicine Body around both of us and rooting into the land spirit in both locations.

     

    MS: Tell me about your role as a Spiritual Technologist.

     

    KD: I borrow the term from my mentor and dear friend, Elisheva Nesher. Essentially, I use it to refer to ritual, ceremony, rites of passage and related practices. I have served as ritual director for pagan gatherings, officiated weddings and funerals, as well as many rites of passage in between those two. These are powerful tools that allow us to recognize the important shifts. For instance, a lot of people go through their adult lives feeling like they are still teenagers or children. Having some effective rites of passage into adulthood can make a big difference with this.

     

    MS: And also a bit about Soul Solutions?

     

    KD: Soul Solutions is the name of the Systemic Constellation Work practice that I have with my wife Patricia Sheerin. We both went through a two year training with Heinz Stark (http://starkinstitute.org/) in what is essentially a form of group shamanism. It is powerful work, and can often cause healing movement in areas where nothing else seems to work. www.soulsolutionshome.com

     

    MS: Are you currently working on any other books?

     

    KD: I am working on two different books, on and off these days. One is on a set of teachings I received through terma transmission back in the early 80’s. I still have very mixed feelings about publishing anything on those, but I’m closer to it now than I have been in the past. The other book I’m working on is called Grandfather Tales and is simply a series of stories about and from my spirit ally, who I address as Grandfather. And to answer your question, no, he is not my biological ancestor.

     

    MS: What do you hope the coming year holds for you?

     

    KD: More opportunity to teach — to pass these teachings on to receptive students, and to continue to learn more myself through at process. That has always been what draws me forward.

    However, more and more, my attention is focused on being the best husband and papa I can be. With a wonderful wife and six year old daughter, that is the most important part of my life right now. I am enjoying life and all the blessings of my ancestors more now than ever before. I would like to continue that for many years to come.

    Before I forget though, we are taking another group over to Ireland next year, which is always a lot of fun! We still have a few places open, if you know anyone who might be interested. They can find out more on the event page at https://www.facebook.com/ events/1468464340140809/1488264091494167/

     

    Kenn’s books are available through Amazon and all good retailers. Keep up to date with him at www.shamanstouch.com.

    Interview With Z Budapest

    October, 2015

    FOR HER DIAMOND BIRTHDAY, Z BUDAPEST IS A REAL JEWEL!!

    INTERVIEW WITH Z BUDAPEST – APRIL 23, 2015

    Recently, I had the privilege and honor to interview Z Budapest. For me, like so many of us, Z Budapest was my first introduction to a women-based spirituality that so filled a need, a hunger for a deity that belonged to me, to us , after lifetimes of being told we were worthless in the patriarchal religions of our birth. For those of us who were/are also feminists, Dianic Witchcraft brought our spirituality and our feminism together in a way that had been lacking. To most of us, the fight for women’s rights and equality and our fight for a women-based religion, seemed a perfect fit. Personally, I will always be grateful to Z for showing me the way to the Goddess, because, truly, it changed my life.

    z

    Zsuzanna Emese Budapest was born in Budapest, Hungary on January 30, 1940. She is a natural and hereditary witch. She came to the US in 1959, where she married and had two sons. She was a member of Chicago’s famed Second City troupe. Growing up with an understanding of Mother Nature as spiritual, she began to practice Goddess Spirituality on her own. Identifying as a feminist, she became involved with the women’s lib movement and was a co-founder of the LA anti-rape squad, after a woman was raped on Sunset Boulevard. This squad has gone through changes but is still in existence, now known as Peace Over Violence.

    In the early 1970’s, she founded the Susan B Anthony Coven Number 1, the first Dianic coven in the country, the one to which we all aspire to. In the mid-1970’s, The Feminist Book of Light and Shadows as published, was re-published as The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries in the mid-1980’s.

    She was arrested for tarot reading in 1975, and even though it took 9 long years, the law against psychics was removed and her conviction was overturned as unconstitutional under the Freedom of Religion Act.

    Z is the author of many books, including the aforementioned Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries. She has led numerous rituals, workshops, and retreats in her lifetime. Her various websites offer women information on the Goddess, Dianic Witchcraft, online classes, online tarot readings, and other offerings.

    While I asked a few questions of Z, I mostly let her talk, as she has lived a most interesting and varied life.

    SM – I am honored to be able to speak with you like this.

    Z – Well, bless you for that.

    SM – I have most of your books in a book-case right next me . I started studying in my teens and was more traditional but when I became more involved with feminist movement, it made more sense to me to just practice Goddess Spirituality. I found you, and a whole new world opened up for me. Your books were like coming home to me.

    Z – I had a small book and candle shop in Venice called Feminist Wicca and I painted the Goddess names all over the space – Isis, Astarte, Demeter, Hecate. When people who come into my space, they would look up and say, oh, I’m home. That was the general feeling of women who came in that we do share a collective soul. It was appreciated than and people have written about it. No matter where you are, once you put the names on it, it becomes a temple. This was a temple.

    SM – I have a few specific questions that I would like to ask, but if there is anything you would prefer not to answer, just let me know.

    Z – No, no, go ahead. I am writing 2nd part of my autobiography, called “Second Destiny” and all these things and questions stir it up.

    SM – I Understand you left Hungary in 1956 and came to America in 1959. That must have been quite the experience for a young woman.

    Z – I finished high school in Innsbruck, a bilingual school I got a scholarship in Vienna to be a linguist and I liked that. I planned to learn English after German. I was studying English already when I got my visa to come to the United States. I came on an old army plane that they put the refugees on, a bare bones airplane. It was the first airplane I had ever been on. and it was a long ride.

    SM- it must have been so scary

    Z – it was and it was not. Because when you are young, and I was raised on books and I was looking forward to it. I lived with books, and I was not so scared. I was so tired though and I fell asleep and my head fell on the fellow next to me who was a Hasidic Jew. I fell asleep on him and slept a good long time on his shoulder but he did not wake me up, he did not mind and he did not make me move. When I woke up and realized what had happened, I apologized deeply and profusely, but he said not to worry.

    SM – So, you spoke Hungarian, then you spoke German and you now speak English Are there any other languages that you speak or would like to speak.

    Z – I have my eyes on Spanish. and have always been to attracted French, but Spanish is spoken many more places now. i thought I would go with Spanish as I live in an area with Spanish-speaking people. But, I didn’t get to that settled down space in my head to really learn. But It will happen. My father learned Russian when he was 60 years old. He hated the Soviets but he loved the language. The Soviets had the old classics. He could read Tolstoy in the original and he said it was a totally different feeling, a totally different experience.

    SM – So I read in your biography that you were in the Second City Improv Comedy troupe in Chicago —

    Z – Yes, that was my only education that I consider important in this country . I did not learn anything useful at the University of Chicago it was supposed to be the best university and when I got there I thought to myself, where can I tie into. I tied into the German department so that I could continue with my German so I would not lose it. We had to write our homework and I would do my homework in German, and after the third time, they called me in and told me they wanted me to do my homework in English which really pulled my grade down. My scholarship was B+ or better, I got free education. if I got less, then I had to pay. I asked them, this education you are offering me, what will it be good for when I am done. They said I could teach German literature in a high school and I thought about it. and thought no one would want that, and so, I had to look for something else.

    When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote all the time, all the time. I created imaginary stories for myself. There were very few children’s books. I just grew up entertaining myself and made up my own stories until I got hold of books again in my early teens, and I just never stopped reading them. I consider myself raised by books; my parents worked, nobody was home; I was alone. It was a way to have an inner life and not be disturbed. I was sick a lot, which was more reason to read. Essentially, I was very well read by the time I was a teenager and that influenced my writing style and I had a very mature style.

    I won a big award. I got the 2nd tier and the first one, the top one was to a 21-year-old. My 2nd prize was for a short story and they called me in, and this was through the radio in Budapest, to make sure I was not cheating. They said that when they read my story that they thought it was a history teacher who wrote it. I said no, no.

    My mom was an artist, a sculptor. very well-known. My biological father was only married to her for a few years, the first few years of my life. They got divorced after the war. I was living with my father for a while. But then, my mother put me in a nunnery because there was no food in the city and they figured only the christians had food and I just could not believe my luck. There were other children, other kids, to share my stories, my fantasies with. The nuns loved me . it was great time, but I also learned that the nuns were hypocrites and they were lesbians. The way they behaved. They didn’t have a word for it but we knew that Sisters Josephine and Gabrielle were a couple. They were definitely connected emotionally. If any of us that did anything that Gabrielle did not like, oh, my god, Josephine went ballistic and she got the rug beater.

    SM – How old were you when you were there?

    Z – From 6 to 8, very formative years. We learned there was no use for male priests. The one we had, he was old and always drunk. When he had to work, the nuns would fix him up, dress him up and lead him to the altar. He was not doing his job. Catholics have this thing back and forth – the priest would say something in Latin and they answer him. I was in the choir and I didn’t repeat anything he said, so I didn’t do my part. The nun passed out the communion and it was totally clear to me the male priest did nothing and the women covered for him and we had to pretend that he was truly doing his job and was not at all drunk. it became great fun when we went to confession because we used to confess things that we read in the bible. We were 7, me and my best friend and the priest would be asleep and he would never wake up and he would sleep through our confession every day. if he did wake up, he would say do your 5 Hail Marys and the other one. then he would sleep again. Then we got really bored and started to make up stories like we did murder…..nothing woke him up. <laughing>

    I liked the spiritual lifestyle though. I like there were times for sleep time and for building an altar. They taught me altar building, which turned out to be very useful.

    I liked the peace you get from meditation. it didn’t matter to whom you talked to or prayed; it was an exercise of the mind turning inward. I enjoyed that.

    They did show me quite a few tricks that I could use later. My total belief in the Christian ways of doing things was never there; my mother just said well, don’t listen to what they say, just eat their food.

    She was worried that if I didn’t get enough food in my formative years, I would have brain trouble, that my brain would not develop. I know now that lentil has everything you need; all the minerals and vitamins that you need. Meat is really not that important. Meat came about once a month as this was post-war Europe and nobody had much to eat. The nuns were very creative They fed about 400 women a day. They would batter elderberry flowers and fry them up; fried up in batter, it looked like pieces of meat. Very creative.

    Ultimately all my schools that I went to ended and I had to move to another place, a new school. I never had a graduation with the same people who had been together. I never went to a prom. I had nobody from that time in my life except one woman, that was one relationship that I had – not as lovers, but as best friends when I was 9 until 16. It was so full of deep emotions, such emotion both ways. She was always encouraging me to write and I would help her with writing assignments that she was having trouble with. I could write in different styles and they did not notice it was not her. we had all kinds of scams that they did not know about.

    SM – When the time came when you were in LA and you first came up with Susan B. Anthony Coven, how did that come about and how did The Feminist Book of Light and Shadows come to be The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, which so many of us thing of as our Bible. At least, that is how I have always thought of it.

    Z – Yes, yes, I do too. I felt we needed our own scripture, real scripture for us. Some I wrote, some I edited, some I corrected and some was written by early members of the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1. The way I was pushed, each time we gave speeches in colleges and sometimes high schools, there would be some guy waving a bible and saying things like we were satan’s daughters. I thought, gee, we have to have something to wave back at them. it’s a shame that we do not have a holy book. So, I thought I shall write one. All of my writing has come for to this – a holy book for us; who else would write a holy book? My friends said you have waited all your life and all your lifelong devotions to writing comes to you to write our holy book. I have all of our holidays, the Dianic holidays which we still do not celebrate enough; and some were women only and some were both sexes. it took a while to write properly – I don’t type well. Sue Dixon typed up the Holy Book and bless Sue wherever she is.

    In the 1970s, we were still forming. The goddess movement was happening. I was proselytizing tirelessly. i thought if you don’t have spirituality with a movement then you have nothing. You have to have a moral high ground to stand on. The Holy Book gave us that; it gave that to the practitioners. I kept saying do not follow this verbatim. if you have a better idea, use that. You have to have your own ideas. So lots of people started writing books about this angle and that angle of the their rituals, but still the accusations came of being satan’s daughters.

    The fight for abortion was really, truly important to me anyway and to millions of other women. This was all about men making laws and taking control of our lady parts. We have vaginas. They do not have vaginas and they should not make laws about our lady parts. This was the impetus. I went to every march. I have never had an abortion or been raped, but I could not imagine being stuck with a baby and see the rapist in that child every day, horrendous.

    SM – All of this was going on at the same time of the feminist movement, the coven started, lThe Feminist Book of Light and Shadows turning eventually into the Holy Book.

    Z – The Holy Book was always there, but no one would publish it; it was too long, too subversive. I was turned down by many publishers. We carried it in a big luggage to the 3rd Goddess Conference in Boston – 2,000+ women were there, 2,000 already in the Goddess movement. 2,000 women to come, to take on the travel and deal with the inconvenience, but most of us were young, so it was bearable and then all kinds of miracles happened.

    The 1970’s had the seeds for everything for the future. We could not get loans, write checks. We could only use money orders. The women couldn’t buy a house. You needed a husband’s signature. So, we said let’s forget about it and make our own bank. We opened the first women’s bank in West Hollywood and women got houses and loans, and they paid it back. It was going well until big business noticed that the market was changing and started giving loans and money to women. Credit cards came a long time after that. That’s how we cracked the financial ceiling.

    The feeling was there and we were very hopeful. My friend opened a Dianic garage to teach women how to do fix look the small things on their cars. We had a Women’s center, we had karate, we had so many things.

    SM – These are wonderful stories that are not in your formal biographies. You were at the beginning of everything for women, not just spiritually but politically

    Z – Yes, and we knew each other. We knew where to go to meet people . any time we needed each other, we were there, any time a need came up, one of us would do it. We would line up in we would support a sister. We would teach woman how to drive because that was another problem. They would be intimated at the test. They would flunk because they were women, there was prejudice against women drivers.

    The best one was for the rape victims. When nothing would happen at the police station, we would start showing up with the rape victim and fill up the place to support our sister. She would tell her story and then the next police would come in and want to hear the story and we would say, you missed it and we are not going to allow our sister to go through it the horribleness of it again.

    SM – Is that how the anti-rape squad got started? I know you were one of the co-founders of that. I wanted to make sure we talked about this since April is Sexual Abuse Awareness month.

    Z – in Hollywood, the media was on every other corner, the Hollywood media, and when there was an event, we made sure they knew about it and when we started this anti-rape squad, they wanted to hear about it. We gave interviews about how 1 out of 4 women were raped and every minute a woman was attacked, and things like that. We had our facts down because the media never bothered to find out facts. Then I put the cherry on top by saying rapists should be hexed because they have too good of luck and get away so I started thinking about hexing rapists and other assault guys. Criminals need luck, they often get away. One of us gave daily reports on one guy. She saw that her rapist drove a big truck and she saw that his place was put up for sale, he was driven out of town. We leafletted the neighborhood and where he worked with his picture to show the world what he has done, that this man was a rapist. He was driven out-of-town. It was a pushback. The women were prey but they did not want to learn self-defense and said that men were good; until we started the hexing and the wool fell off their eyes.

    There was one who killed 13 women, who were prostitutes. He just tossed their bodies onto the freeway, so they called him the freeway killer. I thought if I don’t go after this guy, I would never find out if I can, and no one else would do it, so I would. So I

    improv-d a ritual and got candles and set them up on the seashore, and got all of the first names of the victims. i thought, I will call them, they probably have not gone too far away yet. So, I spoke to them, I called on them by name. Let’s get him, let the earth give him up, let the weak one give him up, let his family give him up. This man had a cousin who was his ally in this. The cousin got picked up for shoplifting and said his cousin would be angry when he heard this and started bragging about his cousin the murderer. They took him home after he was done with the police, and they found the torture instruments and when the guy came home, they got him – this was 3 days after the hex was done they were brought down, so I thought this was the formula Call the victims by name and ask them for help.

    SM – I remember when you spoke about hexing that there were some that said we, as witches, are not supposed to do that, that we are not to harm anybody.

    Z – <laughing> – Oh, bullocks, bullocks bullocks – That is so against the Goddess’ justice. The Goddess’s justice says that even if you have not been harmed, if you were not killed, if you are a female, and a sister was harmed, you identify with that woman.

    SM – You said, “if you cannot hex, you cannot heal”

    Z – Yes, you cannot heal and sometimes the hexing is the healing. Women find out they have powers and with the spirituality of the goddess, it is the power of the divine. You have allies on the other side but you must be doing it, not justing talking about it, but actually doing something. In this case I was outraged. Once I was no longer male-identified, which I was for a long time, I found myself. Women who are male identified never find themselves. You have to start with identity. Women internalize the fear of fighting back. They believe you will get it back ten fold. No. No. If you attack the innocent, it will return to you; 3 fold, 10 fold, it does not matter, it will return to you. if you do not attack the innocent, then it is justice, evening out the scales. The Furies tend to come down on these big crimes. Make them go to jail, that was always the best way – criminals attack each other, and rape each other and get diseases and then they die.

    Yes, one of our friends, a member of the rape squad was brought down by 5 young men, they all raped her and beat her and took her bike, left her for dead in the street. Made me very angry. She did not want to go to the police because they were black, and she was a communist and she did not want to propagate that black man stereotype . I could not talk her out of that so these guys were fair game. Don’t take too long but you have to prep the women so they are not afraid. Don’t do any hexes with people who have scary feelings. If they are women, it doesn’t matter if they are Phd’s or whatever, they go after them; they see a female, they are not really interested, they just want to exert power over you. They do it in groups, and I have a whole theory about that. The group rapes are homosexual acts that are acted out on women and they are usually men who are afraid of their own sexuality but want to see other men’s penises in action. A woman gives them an out; they are not out, they are not homosexual. It is very dangerous when gay guys don’t come out. it’s not always expressing itself in violence but the uneducated yahoos, when they kill someone it is very intimate.

    I love gay guys otherwise. I did have some friends when I lived in Oakland. They were called the Order of Perpetual Indulgence and they dressed as nuns on roller skates. They were incredible sluts lying down on their roller skates on the streets of San Francisco fighting against intolerance. A very good friend of mine died of AIDS. He was running for mayor in San Francisco against Diane Feinstein. Diana had such good humor, he pinned a button on her lapel that said get happy for mayor. Everybody was so young.

    But, age is a social concept. However, I inherited from my family, bad hips and bad joint. I was already aching by the time of my 50’s and I spent my 60’s putting my body back together again. I had actually three operations because the second hip replacement didn’t work.

    SM – I understand that. I’m trying to also put my body back together again. I find that the spiritual aspect of my life helps me with the physical aspect of my life, if that makes sense.

    Z – Yes, it does. You know what, our bodies are incredibly smart and everything inside our bodies has a job and they do their job. But, when they go up against inherited things, there is not much they can do. My operations were done in Hungary, they did a good job. I could not afford it here as I was too young for Medicare. It gave me a way to go and meet folk. the peasants from the countryside. It is more territory now, and so colorful. So many people, so many different foods. Women do the embroideries and you wear the most fantastic outfits. My people were nomads and women wore their Goddess outfits. Spectacular costumes passed down from mother to daughter with feathers and crowns – the young girls always wore crowns which was a crescent shape on their head, very intricate; it was the moon and they wore the moon on their heads. These outfits have these cultural marks and you can trace them to their origins. It is all about the embroidery. You were in your goddess outfit and you were beautiful.

    I have been collecting pictures of my countrymen with their outfits. They started to get into modern clothes at the end of the 19th century, and they now they just take their nice clothes out just for holidays.

    Many of these photos are in my first book, called “First Destiny – My Dark Sordid Past as a Heterosexual”. https://www.createspace.com/4973374

    It has tons of pictures of my first 30 years. I am now working on my second autobiography, “Second Destiny”, but no subtitle as yet.

    SM – This year is your 75th, your diamond birthday and you just got the SAGA award……

    z2

    Z – Yes, it was from a matriarchal association; The Association of Women in Mythology. All very smart, educated women who teach this in school. But I wasn’t happy that they do not come to my festivals. I have bi-annual festivals and the next one is in 2016. These women, they are book ladies, they do not do camping – they don’t go smell the earth. In my rituals, I actually make the women kiss the earth and once they kiss the earth, they says they never realized the earth smelled so good. The forest is clean and does smell good. The intellectuals do no like this so much but I have to forgive that.

    SM – In their own way, they are spreading the word of the Goddess. They recognized you and gave you the credit that you so richly deserve for the life you have led teaching and serving the goddess in the way that you have.

    Z – Serving the goddess, and also creating jobs for those who serve her. I fought the law that was against reading tarot; I fought against it and I won after nine years. The Supreme Court struck it down.

    SM – When they arrested you for reading tarot, it took 9 years to change the law. After the trial, before all of the appeals, were you able did you back to reading tarot, or did you have to wait the nine years for them to change the law?

    Z – I could read because they are not everywhere. The way it was administered before was a revolving door law, you got busted, you paid the $100 and you went back to work the next day. They would just bust psychics. I was there with Zelda, who wrote books on astrology and was in her 80’s, said, you are young, you fight this. I will pay the $100 fine and move on. in her case, she probably did not do much after that because of her strength but I had the Dianic witches, who were also old and these were my teachers. They had the best occult supplies . I would tell them my idea of a spell and they would give me the appropriate supplies and they were not that expensive and I could afford it. The older sister, she took my hand; she was 85 years old and kissed it, kissed it – that never happens that an older woman in witchcraft kisses the hand of a younger women and she said you will win but not in the way you think you will. I thought I don’t care any which way, just so there is no law against us.

    After learning that Z had been in a car accident in October, 2014; hit by another vehicle, suffering a head concussion, which has resulted in headaches, I decided to ask just one last question so that she could go rest.

    SM – What would you wish your ultimate legacy to be, for women and Dianics specifically and the pagan community in general?

    Z – i would like to see a huge tradition now; huge numbers of Dianics that we don’t even know about coming out of the woodwork, proclaiming themselves publicly. I would like to see them celebrate our rituals publicly; celebrate the goddess in the street, in the park. Many pagans are doing this every year in their annual activities, but I want Dianics to be part of the American psyche. I want women to immediately be able to access their divine selves and I want them to see that male gods don’t work for us, never have, never will. Get over it already.

    Practice verbal hygiene which means don’t put yourself down, don’t put your sisters down. You don’t discuss things out of fear. Step away from the fear and do this for the future generations. Just Fearlessness. They say I am fearless, I am not. I have never engaged in a fight I can not win. You have to weigh, what if I win, what if I lose. My purpose was to destroy the law, that was my target. I had to lose the trial but I would have to lose so that I could appeal over and over again and wear them down and let the Goddess step in.

    SM – There are really no Dianics around here, even in local covens. Our local Pagan Pride Day has an annual ritual but has no DIanic ritual. On the Dianic Tradition Facebook page, Bobbie has been listing all of us by state. There is one other Dianic in Massachusetts and we have already gotten together once.

    Z – Yes, yes. That is what the internet is for. Women are coached even online; women are coached everywhere. Sisterhood needs to be perceived as normal. Ultimately, that is the goal that sisterhood is normal. Women are made into entertainment animals, taking away their humanity and men like that because we are not in a sisterhood, we are fighting against each other, instead of being with each other as sisters.

    SM – I thank you for this opportunity to speak with you and for everything you have given me and brought to my life, bringing me to the Goddess as you have.

    Z – Blessed Be

    z3

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

    http://zbudapest.com

    http://dianic-wicca.com

    https://zbudapest.wordpress.com

    http://www.witchtrial.net

    https://freevenicebeachhead.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/z-budapest-feminist-witch-who-fights-back/

    TO CONNECT WITH OTHER DIANIC WOMEN AND FOR CLASSES WITH Z, PLEASE CHECK OUT THESE LINKS:

    Susan B. Anthony Coven #1

    http://susanbanthonycoven.com

    Dianic Tradition Group on Facebook where women can connect globally.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/DianicTradition/391850594334740/

    Susan B. Anthony Coven #1 on Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/sbacoven

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