interview

Interview with Reanna of Woodland Wand Creation

July, 2019

Bright Blessings!

Last month, I got to review a great wand by Lady Reanna Shellenbarger of Woodland Wand Creation, and this month, I lucked into an interview!

Here is the link to my review if you did not have a chance to read it yet!

Read on to learn more about this amazing artist and creatrix, and her sacred, beautiful wands!

On their Facebook page, it says:

“Welcome friends to my store called Woodland Wand Creation. A magical place of semiprecious stones & enchanting wood from the magical forest. All to make amazing Wands. All work is unique artwork. No two are the same. I work within the respect to our Ecosystem. Many of my pieces are created with natural and reclaimed supplies. Wood is collected with respect and reverence. All wood is render by the tree naturally after stormy weather. No tree is ever harmed or wood cut from trees. My artwork & Wands are said to be very powerful. Because I work and charge all pieces by the moon light for an extra punch of energy.

Bert is the engine and Reanna is the artist. Together we are Woodland Wand Creation. All items are made by Reanna she is such the artist. We hope you all enjoy them as much as we do.”

Then, I got to catch up with Reanna, and she told me wonderful things!

Saoirse- How and why did you get into making your beautiful wands? What or who inspired you?

Reanna- A friend of mine purchased a bag of random semiprecious stones and had no idea of what to do with them. so I took some of the stones home and fashioned a Wand, not knowing if it would even work. well, needless to say, it did, and here I am today.

Saoirse- How does this tie in with your personal spiritual path, and what would you like to share about your path with us?

Reanna- I studied Wicca some years ago. I reached High Priestess status. today I’m solitary but very, very social. I found more freedom by dedicating myself to more creative pursuits. As a Libra, I require the freedom to go with what the wind calls to me and what strikes my fancy.

Saoirse- Tell me about your creative process. How do you get an idea that inspires? What types of materials draw you? What colors? How do you begin, and how long does it usually take from start to finish?

Reanna- Each stone or branch tells me their desire to become something more. I then clean them up a bit by removing the bark, to show off the natural beauty of the wood. I work with only naturally rendered woods, like after storms and such. I never cut or hurt a tree. I still go for the random mix of stones to this very day. I meditate while I divide them up into the kinds of stones they are. I can then hear them speak to me about their desire. Some stones want to be a Staff, Smudge fan or a Rattle. I am blessed with a wide range of woods in my area. White Willow is my all time favorite, but I do work with Wise Oak, Red Elm, Sweet Maple, and Driftwood.

Saoirse- Tell about how you run your business and how and why you decided to sell as opposed to just making your own? Talk about your business partners!

Reanna- I work with my longtime partner Bert. Bert is my online Wizard. the engine to my inspiration. We are the perfect team. We have a small shop on Etsy. We also are on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I will provide links below.

Saoirse- Tell about yourself aside from your path and wands.

Reanna- I enjoy cooking and making up my own recipes. I like to sew children’s blankets and quilts that I donate to the local church. I really like to gardening, growing herbs, flowers and playing in my Fairy garden. I dabble in painting. I like to recycle items to keep them out of the landfills so most of my stuff is up-cycled. I also work with many divination tools such as Tarot, Crystal balls, Zodiac- natal charts, Tea leaves, and Pendulums. I write memes about magick for FB as well as some really bad poetry. I teach the basic of Tarot and Wicca in a FB group. well, I guess I’m just your all-around crafty Witch.

Saoirse- My editor noticed your fair pricing. Many merchants charge a lot more for a wand than you do. Why do you charge what you do as opposed to what many of your competitors do?

Reanna- Well, we did our homework on the prices before we set out. We saw that so many are over priced for just the simplest items. We did not want to rip off the Pagan community like this. We feel magick knowledge should not be misused by over pricing. To us, it seemed so unfair and it gives our movement such a bad name in a time when we are rising out of the shadows. Our intention was to sell a good product at a good price. Honest and true is the only way to a secure future. In this simple and humble way, a Wand can be in many hands.

Shared here are some links where you can find Reanna’s amazing goods, and have some for yourself!

This is Reanna’s FB

This is Bert’s FB

This is the Etsy shop

Their Woodland Wand Creation FB

This is their Pinterest link

And Their Twitter Link

***

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.

Interview with Annwyn Avalon: Water Witch

June, 2019

Dancer, artist, author, witch, priestess; with this many titles and roles, it’s clear that Annwyn Avalon is kept busy. Fresh from a workshop at Pantheacon, Annwyn was kind enough to talk to Mabh here at PaganPagesOrg about her new book, Water Witchcraft, and other aspects of her work.

Mabh Savage: How would you describe the concept of water witchcraft to a complete novice?

Annwyn Avalon: Water Witchcraft, simply put, is Witchcraft that uses water as the main modality for their magic and/or they may use water related items, work with water spirits and deities and perform many of their spells or rituals with, on, or near water. A Sea Witch is a very popular example, but it goes beyond just the ocean. It is a draw to the natural watery world, the subaqueous realms and all the water on the surface of the planet. Many of us have our own favourite body of water and they range from small springs and creeks to lakes, rivers and oceans. A Water Witch will often choose to cleanse with water rather than smoke, and may choose a cauldron, cup or bowl over a candle or ritual knife. They may work with gem elixirs, teas, sacred baths and many, many other types of watery magic!

MS: What first inspired you to write the book, Water Witchcraft?

AA: This is a long and complicated answer so I will try to keep it short. It was a combination of being drawn to the water, loving water, an obsession with folklore surrounding water and the major lack of information there is out there. There are so very few books that focus on Water Magic and some of them are very well done while others feel very rushed, but there remains only a small number of books on the subject. They also seemed to only focus on one body of water, the ocean or sacred wells. Water is so diverse and there are so many types that I wanted to put something together that would not only cover all types of water, but that was full of information that would be useful to everyone. This actually ended up starting as a 9-month course on water magic and by the time the book was in full swing it was being narrowed down to focus specifically on Brythonic magic.

MS: And what initially drew you to the magic of water and watery beings?

AA: I have always been a very watery person. I was born under Cancer with a Pisces moon, I grew up in Florida and spent many days in the fresh water springs, swamps and along the sea shore. Water has always been a strong presence in my life. Later, I was intensely drawn to Pre-Raphaelite paintings and literature many of which feature watery women and faery women. I realized later that it was the strong draw to the water, the water nymphs, mermaids and other watery creatures that was part of the draw. The other was the feminine form, a call to remember the Goddess.

MS: Is there a water spirit, being or deity you feel closest to?

AA: Yes, I think the most prominent spirit in my life at the moment is Sulis, the Thermal Springs Solar Goddess whose temple is found in Bath, UK. However, I work with other Goddesses and Watery Faery Women such as the Gwragedd Annwn, Morganna, Melsine, and Aphrodite. I also honor the masculine in the forms often found near sacred springs such as Belenos, and Gwyn ap Nudd, who is honoured at the White Spring in Glastonbury. Sulis and the Gwragedd Annwn have been with me since I was a child. I have always been deeply connected with Springs and the spirits that dwell within.

MS: What are the benefits of deepening our connection to water?

AA: Right now, our waters are in so much danger. Each day it is polluted and contaminated, and more atrocities are done by oil companies, over-farming, and the dolphin slaughter. When we deepen our connection, we wake up to these horrible things that are happening, and we are called to take action; to help form a better, cleaner, more awake world that understands how precious these natural wonders are. We are 70% water, which means that we must protect the water of this planet or we ourselves will become endangered and poisoned, much of which we are already beginning to see. Beyond that, water is the element of emotion and it urges us to connect deeply with our emotions and often works as a mirror showing us how to refine and conquer our shadow. It also lends wisdom, and the power of immense change.

MS: Who is the book aimed at? Who will get the most out of it?

AA: There are many people that are watery natured, drawn to the water or are called by water spirits, mer-folk and deity to connect with the water. This book is for them, but also any witch or magical practitioner that may wish to connect with water, wish to use water in their practice or has a mission to protect and get closer to the natural world. If your practice involves activism, and a deep connection to the Genius Loci, then there will be much value in this book for you!

MS: You do several courses as well as mentoring. What’s your favourite course that you teach and why?

AA: I offer several classes on my Water Witchcraft website, as well as through my tradition Triskele Rose and I am currently working on 2 more that will release in 2019-2020 on the Water Witchcraft website. However, if I had to choose a favourite it would be the 9-month Water Magic course. I think this course offers a good introduction to my own personal practice and really offers so much to the student that everyone regardless of path, location or ability gets a really good heaping handful of information. Everyone walks away from the course with so much knowledge and experience; it really bursts my heart open to see people work so hard and become so passionate about water and the magical practices that surround it.

MS: When did you discover that you had a passion for teaching? How did this come about?

AA: I think I have always been a natural teacher. As a teen, I was always teaching younger children. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties learning to belly dance, and after I became proficient I had an opportunity to start teaching it to others. This is where I truly began to blossom as being able to provide a space for my students to explore and learn was so fulfilling for me. In my own experience I have learned that when I teach something, I become so familiar with it that while I significantly deepen my own connection with the material. I have also discovered that working with students one on one provides me with options and experiences from other perspectives that I learn to deepen my own knowledge, experience and mental reach on the subject. Not only that, not everything works for everyone and so I am able to work with students to adapt things to help make it work for them and future students. There is so much joy in this for me, making these practices accessible to those that may have never had the experiences before, watching the insecure witchling blossom into a powerful, confident witch; there is nothing better than that!

MS: You’re also an oracle- tell us a little bit about what this means.

AA: I was given my first tarot deck when I was 19, it didn’t take me long to learn how to read them and to find out I was quite good at it. Over the years I practiced and read for friends, then I began to branch out and read for everyone I could. While living in Arizona, I worked for a party planner and was able to do large gigs for corporate events. They were quite fun actually and I read for many, many people in one night. I don’t do this anymore, but I still love to read. Currently I run a monthly special, and have several types of readings available on my website. I also do Live Stream Water Witch Wednesday which happens every Wednesday 11:00 am PST on Instagram Live (@annwynavalon). I am on for about an hour, we talk about Water Magic, have Q and A time and then I take small prayer/spell requests as well as pull oracle or tarot cards to deliver messages from the water spirits to those that tune in and ask. I really enjoy this because I get to interact with many people and offer free readings for those that usually couldn’t afford to have a private appointment or take classes. While my time is important to me, I really value getting the messages that the water spirits want out into the world for those that need it regardless of transaction.

MS: Where is your most sacred place, or the place that means the most to you in terms of your magic?

AA: This is hard. If I am speaking locally then it would be the little space in my yard that I have set aside for a water temple. I am lucky enough to have a creek that runs through my property and there is a little waterfall, hawthorn and hazel trees, and a little secluded place where I have my outdoor altar. However, if you are asking about worldwide then it would be Scotland or England especially around Glastonbury, Cornwall, and Sulis’s temple at Bath as they have all had profound impacts on me and where I feel most connected to the land, spirits and the cultural practices. England has always held a piece of my heart and soul and I try to make it back as much as I can to visit.

MS: You’re also an accomplished artist. What is your favourite piece that you’ve created to date?

AA: Oh, this is hard because I really like all the art I release to the world! However, there are two paintings, one of my best friends and one of Sulis that I made for her, she owns both the original pieces, but they are my favourite because they were done with love and passion. Of the paintings I still have in my inventory I recently did a painting of Thalassa that I really like as well as a painting of a Water Priestess that I believe was channelled from an ancient past life. While it is not the most technically correct piece, there is something about it that makes my heart sing.

MS: And what’s your favourite piece of art by another artist, and why?

AA: The Lady of Shalott by J.W. Waterhouse remains by far my favourite painting of all time. Though there are many more by him and other Pre-Raphaelites that also capture my heart. The Lady of Shalott has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a very young girl, through the various paintings by Waterhouse and others to the poem by Tennyson as well as sung by Loreena McKennitt. La Bell de Sans Merci is a close second as well, in both painting by Waterhouse and poem by Keats.

MS: Do you have a favourite season or festival?

AA: Yes! The fall by far is my favourite, especially that period right between Samhain and Yule when it’s getting darker and colder. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring as well, but if I had to pick between the two, the cooler darker days, the fall leaves and all the festivals and celebrations really make me happy, especially after all the heat of the summer. This dark mysterious time is most welcome. I am obsessed with flowers though and so spring time comes in so very, very close; it is hard to choose!

MS: How was Pantheacon this year? What did you enjoy most about it?

AA: Pantheacon this year was great! I love this event and look forward to it each year. I think my favourite part was reading in the Weiser Suite. It was a bit surreal to be there next to people whose work I have admired for such a long time. I was also blessed to have presented several times this year and was able to share information I am very passionate about as well as promote the call to action to pay attention and to sacredly attend our waters. I am looking forward to next year!

MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2019?

AA: There are several things I am looking forward to in 2019. I will be lecturing at Mystic South followed by a trip back to North Carolina to dance, teach and make magic! I am also working on a few secret watery projects that I am really looking forward to spending in creation mode getting them ready for release. I also find myself in a place of having more time on my hands and so I am looking forward to having time to spend painting and playing in my garden.

You can find out more about Annwyn and her work on her YouTube channel, her website, and via FaceBook. Her book, Water Witchcraft, is available now.

Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore from the Celtic Tradition on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Witch & Popcorn

May, 2019

I’d heard a filmmaker named Penny Lane was releasing a documentary about The Satanic Temple, and I was stoked. Then, I heard it did well! Imagine how thrilled I then was when our beloved editor told me we had been offered the opportunity to review it!

Here is the Trailer:

I know. I know.

Some of you are balking at the nerve- Satanists! Some, not just Xtians, believe what the media and mainstream Evangelicals tell us the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple is all about- devil worship. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as this intimate portrait of some of the chapters of The Satanic Temple reveals.

The film follows the idea to place a Satanic monument in the State Capital of Arkansas- not to proselytize or convert people to Satanism- but to promote religious equality. They have a lawsuit going to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the State government grounds, and stated if the Xtain monument goes up- ALL religious monuments ought to go up. And those of us who watch the news know that was turned down. The lawsuit continues.

The process of creating the statue was shown, and the way the Satanic Temple (TST) raised funds to pay for it. Namingly, through donations, and what they earn at a shop.

Not only co-founder and spokesperson of TST, Lucien Greaves, but many members, some of whom opted to remain anonymous, grant interviews for this film, but they gave a unified message. TST is looking for government to be secular, and for the government not to preach religion, or give religious preference, as it currently does. TST members embrace personal liberty, justice, and rebellion against oppressive practices and arbitrary authority. Satanism is about embracing independence, and not being controlled by other people.

In the documentary, many news stories about what various TST chapters are doing for their greater communities is shown, including not only lawsuits, but after school Satan clubs, highway adoption, beach cleanup, menstrual product gathering and donation, sock gathering and donation to the homeless, as well as blood drives.

This is a stark contrast from the “Satanic Panic’s” claims of the 1980’s and 1990’s! Remember when Dungeons and Dragons games supposedly opened a portal to suck kids souls to hell? One thing you might not know is this era saw innocent people jailed for things they did not do, and multiple lives ruined in the process. TST members who spoke of it compared the 20th Century’s “Satanic Panic” to the witch hunts of Medieval times.

So, it’s well-established you won’t see a Satanist do the things spooky movies and uninformed “god hates fags” sign- wielding Evangelicals claim. Aside from doing the above-mentioned community service work, you will see them embracing seven tenets outlined in the film, which are:

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it, and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

This organization, of course stemmed out of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, founded on April 30, 1966. He may be the most famous, if not the most notorious leader the organization has had, and most certainly the most colorful. In his Satanic Bible, which, no doubt ruffled more than a few feathers, he stated he saw men go to drink, see strippers, and whatnot- all the things Xtianity forbade in those days- and then sit up in church Sunday with wives and kids as if they were model Xtians. It left quite an impression on LaVey, who chose Satan as the archetype for his new religion- not to WORSHIP the devil- but he said Satan kept the church in business, and most honestly embodied the true nature of humanity. Thus instead of deprivation, as the churches taught, LaVey sought to embrace our passions, desires, intellect, and animal side, as we were born to do.

Perhaps The original Church of Satan was an occult response of sorts to the “Free Love” movement, but it’s one that speaks to people still, today. TST and The Church of Satan are two completely different entities, but they have some similarities, and I respect them both.

In Hail Satan?, you will see various legal battles multiple TST chapters have waged in the name of justice, and you will hear personal stories from devoted members. You will also witness a very impassioned chapter administrator violate policies of TST, and be fired.

Despite some beliefs TST is a small cult, it has a National Council, and dozens of chapters nationwide, as well as international chapters, and a well-organized system.

The big question many ask- if TST is not evil and all about destruction, WHY call it by the name Satan, who many believe is the greatest evil ever?

Remember what Anton LaVey said about Satan being a fitting archetype for man’s true nature for one thing. For another thing, members are deliberately trying to jolt people’s awareness, and they do not mind offending people. They have been called the Antichrist, and one member says that IS half true. They protest the atrocities the church has imposed upon humanity for so long. Beyond that, they protest, and reject the mind control and oppression the church has enforced. Catholic groups seem especially fond of protesting TST chapters, and one member says they have a lot of gall calling Satanics sinful after all the abuse and rapes of children. Satan was known as the adversary- so the church and the oppression she enforces HAS an adversary in The Satanic Temple- which is quite pro-human.

TST is among many things, pro-individual, against blind faith, pro-gay, pro-choice, anti-rape, pro-trans, and all for questioning that which is forbidden.

Some ask why TST does not just call themselves atheists if they do not worship the devil? One member states atheism just states what you are NOT. There is no ritual or definition. TST defines everything and gives ritual and structure.

Some don’t know this, but I have read more than one Satanic publication over the years, and while I’m not a member, I am in agreement with their beliefs and practices. I have friends who are also, one of whom agreed to a short interview.

Interview with Jodi @ Satanism

SaoirseWhat first drew you to The Church of Satan, or The Satanic Temple’s teachings?

Jodi- Curiosity as a child in contrast to what I was being brainwashed with by fundamentalists. I first picked up LaVey in middle school or so. A mixture of curiosity and rebellion. I met other kids who were interested in high school. That’s what those thumpers get.

Saoirse- Did the adults raising you find out perchance?

Jodi- Yes. My mother was absolutely mortified when she discovered my copy of The Satanic Bible, hidden with my cigarettes in my dresser. Naturally, she ordered me to stop and go to church but…fail. Only made my quest that much more enticing. Mother had many books that warned against Satanic & occult teachings. In the beginning, I used these as cross-references to find the knowledge I was seeking. Those books of hers were so funny to me….the titles and all.

Saoirse- People who were ignorant raised me also. I did not wake up until I was in my 20’s. Late!

Jodi- I think that’s pretty normal.

No matter what path you choose…to not start to really branch out of the family illusion

Until the mid-twenties or so.

I was teaching Catholicism to school kids during my twenties even though I was a practicing witch. It was sort of a marital obligation thing, I though and the director or religion was DESPERATE.

He called me an Angel… lmao. He regretted that…especially when he learned I was encouraging children to wait til adulthood to get confirmed.

Saoirse- Catholicism and witchcraft go very well together.

Jodi- I agree.

Saoirse- I agree. You cannot GIVE anybody to a god or goddess. All baptisms and confirmations belong in adulthood.

Jodi- Amen. The church puts too much pressure on kids. Not to mention, indoctrination is bullshit.

Saoirse- Exactly.

Jodi- The way is to choose for the self. One of many reasons I embrace the teachings.

Saoirse- What is a favorite Satanic teaching of yours?

Jodi- I like the contrast of putting those who move to harm you in their place over the xtian turning the other cheek. There is much to be said for compassion and forgiveness, yes but also standing up for one’s self, remorselessly.

Our culture has been conditioned to take too much shit…which is part of the reason we are all suffering in this age. We are used to being walked on and told what to do.

Living in fear isn’t living

Saoirse- Exactly.

Jodi- Satanism encourages a healthy lifestyle and self-esteem.

Some of this depends on what variety of Satanism we’re talking about, but you understand.

Saoirse- What has embracing these tenets and teachings done for your life?

Jodi- They have made a way for me to learn of and about myself and others in a respectful manner. They’ve crushed the early indoctrination I was force-fed as a child and allowed me to rebuild my own opinions and Will. It made a way for what I want for my life versus what others expect or condone.

The verdict on this is it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and it did my heart good to see the beautiful people of TST, and all the wonderfulness they are spreading within their organization, and in their communities in general.

This film is a must see.

Here is the link to the films page, and how you can see this for yourself!

Happy viewing, and 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.

Interview with Just Plain Bill, Author of Here, There, and Everywhere

May, 2019

Bill Holtry a.k.a. Just Plain Bill is the author of Here, There, and Everywhere: A Clarification of Reality. Not only did I get the chance to review the book, but I also interviewed Just Plain Bill. At the end of the interview, Just Plain Bill shared his website with us. Make sure to check it out. From the website you can learn more about Just Plain Bill and purchase your copy of Here, There, and Everywhere. Don’t forget to check out my review of Here, There and Everywhere in this issue of PaganPagesOrg.

Deanna (D) – First, let me start by saying Here, There, and Everywhere is one of my favorite books now. The content of the book had me thinking throughout it. I had to stop a few times and think about what I had just read. All in all, it made so much sense with what I’ve always wondered throughout my life. I’ve read Here, There, and Everywhere a couple times now and I always learn something new with each reading.

I want to take a minute and thank you for allowing me to interview you.

Just Plain Bill (JPB) – Thanks so much for honoring me with your request. I look forward to our conversation.

D – In Here, There, and Everywhere, the reader gets a glimpse into the Everywhere. How old were you when you first got to see the Everywhere?

JPB – Little did I know that I was being prepared for this experience my entire life. Unfortunately, it took me 68 years to understand my gift. And it is a gift.

The “back story” occurred during my first visit to Lilydale Chapel in New York where I visited “the Stump”, a place of reverence and peace. My wife, Susan, felt inclined to hold back and take pictures while I walked to the Stump. When we returned home and downloaded the pictures, there were several orbs around me. After speaking to a friend who understood these things, I started automatic writing which opened my eyes to the clarification of reality.

D – Are there any special preparations that must be done before you visit the Everywhere?

JPB – I have a routine. At about 5AM, I make coffee, open my laptop and with an empty mind, I accept what comes. I take a deep breath and place my hands on the keyboard and open the portal in my mind. It’s like putting blinders on and I envision where I am. I immediately begin by typing what I “see” and then about an hour later, I have finished what has come to me. Frankly, I have no idea what I have just written. Without reading, I stop and let my head “clear” and then Susan reads it. For some reason, she usually awakens about the time I finish. This is an amazing experience. I am not in a trance, but I must say my focus is strongly driven by my desire to type whatever comes through me to my keyboard.

D – In the beginning of Here, There, and Everywhere you mention automatic writing. Can you explain what it is and how it’s practiced?

JPB – There are different definitions for the term, automatic writing. It was described to me as writing from a meditative state with the writer being unaware of what is being written. I am merely the vehicle through which the information flows and I type the words.

I often use the term, “Just Delivering the Mail” because the words come to me as a result of this gift. I never know what the next sentence is until it’s completed.

D – With every visit you learn something new. Sometimes you have questions, while other times it seems that the Everywhere has a lesson waiting for you. How do you come up with the questions that you ask?

JPB – Although it seems like I have questions, they arise through the “conversations” that occur during my session. The questions just “occur”. I wish I could take credit, but I can’t.

D – Throughout the book, the reader can see that the Everywhere changes with each visit. Do you have a favorite setting in the Everywhere?

JPB – Probably my favorite setting is the original overlooking the valley with the brook. I am no different than anyone else who enjoys the feeling of going home. I have the understanding that my family tree comes from that valley but it’s just a feeling. I have never received any specific information to believe this. It’s just a feeling.

D – Besides heights, is there a setting you least enjoy?

JPB – Ironically, my entire family is afraid of heights. I am laughing as I write this. Any others? Well actually, if I am in a boat and someone tells me how deep the water is below me, I have the same feeling of height. It’s just the craziest thing and something I laugh at myself over this. But apparently, it transcends my “travels” too.

D – It seems you have met a wide variety of people that come from all different walks of life. Has there been anyone you would like to talk with but haven’t had the chance?

JPB – I never want to take advantage of my gift, so I visit with anyone who wishes to be there. I sense the visits are set up for me by someone or something else. I suspect my Pap is a project manager of sorts.

D – Are you able to request a visit with a certain spirit?

JPB – I have never requested to visit with anyone specifically. I feel and this is only my opinion, that a request from me would be unfair, given my gift. So, I respect who decides to visit with me. Every visit brings me lessons to learn. I sense I am just there to deliver information and lessons for all of us to learn from and to be better for it.

D – It seems like you meet a new spirit with every visit. Besides Pap, is there a spirit that visits more frequently?

JPB – I have had only one or two other visits from past friends who have moved on to return to the Everywhere. Believe me, every day is as much a surprise as it is a lesson. I am blessed to just deliver the mail.

D – What is a lesson you hope people learn when they finish reading Here, There and Everywhere?

JPB – Several who have read the book have said they feel peace and understanding about their reasons for being and for situations they find themselves in. There is so much common sense to the clarification of reality, it’s amazing to me why so many humans are struggling. But then, if they didn’t, maybe not as many lessons would be learned and after all, that’s why we are all here. To learn and return with lessons is a requirement of our journeys.

Here, There and Everywhere explains that some of us are here today to bring humans back to the understanding from which we came. We have strayed so far from the values of family, love, honor, trust and peace and must stop the pain or we will destroy the human race. I am but one of millions who has been assigned to get the Wave back on track.

D – If you could share one lesson from the Everywhere, what would it be?

JPB – Open your heart and let life teach you all it can. And spend each day enjoying family, love, honor trust and peace. After all, that’s all we bring and all we return to the Everywhere with. There is no real end to the journey.

D – Will there be a second book following Here, There, and Everywhere?

JPB – My first book has about 70,000 words of life, learning and visits. I have more than 700,000 words at this point and there is a lot to share about so many topics. I can only imagine what lies ahead!

Thank you so much for your interest and kindness. I can tell by your questions, you have a wonderful way about yourself. I wish you and your readers all the best and look forward to our next visit.

If I may share our website, it is www.here-there-everywhere.net

Thanks again. Keep smiling…

Just Plain Bill…Delivering the mail.

Worth the Witch

April, 2019

SHA MAMA’S little helper

Shamanic Self-Care Support for Mama

This month’s Subscription Box is from SHA MAMA’s little helper and it is filled with products that have significant features. They are all plant based, from woman owned companies, and contained in eco-friendly packaging. Right off the bat, you know SHA MAMA’s little helper has not come to play!

SHA MAMA’s little helper’s boxes have a few options. There are the Quarter Day Sabbat Boxes. They correspond to and are themed with the seasons. These start at $77.77 each, a quarter. There are Quarter Day ½ Sabbat Boxes. These start at $38.88 each, a quarter. Next they offer a Monthly ritual with a supportive Product. This box starts at $19.99 a month, but if you prepay for a few month’s in advance it becomes cheaper. Lastly, you can order a Monthly ritual, with no products. This cost only $12.99 a month and like the previous subscription if you purchase a few months in advance it is cheaper.

If you look through all the pictures on SHA MAMA’s little helper site you see a punk rock, witchy, woman promising A “self-care box … mindfully curated each quarter for your enjoyment of, and exposure to, rare and helpful plant-based & Woman-made products that support and pamper Mama. As well as High-Vibe Manifestation, Magick and High-Holiday Celebration tools!” Her smile is infectious and that sounds so awesome!!! I want this in my life. I am sooo stoked to open this box!

Box Arrival!!

I was assuming that since it was coming in a recycled, earth friendly package that it was going to look dull. Boy was I wrong! Though it looks like my mailman had a nice time of trying to get in to it himself, you can still see the adorable detail of the zipper on the topsides of the box where you are to cut the paper tape in order to open it… And can we talk about that fuschia?!?! The perfect color pop. The tape around the sides states that it was “thoughtfully packaged with eco-friendly shipping supplies,” and “Please reuse, repurpose, recycle me!” This packaging is anything but dull.

First Peek

After finally convincing myself to cut into the cute zippers, I get my first peek inside the box and am equally transfixed by the contrast of colors on the inside. So far, this box has been in, 2 different ways, a feast for the eyes.

Let’s see what we have here…

The Information Card

The first thing you should look for is this glossy postcard in your box. It gives you a link to visit that has a written piece from the owner about her ideas behind The Box all the information on the products in your box, as well as a video from Miré Molnar, the owner, discussing the box! She unboxes the box herself for you and discusses each item with you. Very impressive!!

That was the pink side of the postcard. On the other side you will find information about SHA MAMA RISING, which is the main site that offers these Subscription Boxes. Here you will find information on all the services they offer: childbirth education classes, birth talismans, & crystals+breastmilk jewelry.

Now to the contents…are they as impressive?

2 Items from Zen and Meow

I was sooooo excited to see these two items from Zen and Meow. If you said Zen and Who then you better go back and read this – Wood Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Kelly Matthews from Zen and Meow, where Retha Lent wrote, and I quote “If you are looking for top quality wooden grids check out Zen and Meow!” Oh, and as Miré Molnar mentions, Zen and Meow is Woman Owned.

Wooden Crystal Grid

Just shy of 3”, top to bottom, left to right, this is the best little grid I have seen. The quality of this tiny grid is amazing. I wish I had a good enough camera or video equipment to show you the detailing of the pentacle or the beautiful burnishing on the side. If you could feel the smoothness of it. Not a single little wood bit sticking up to splinter. The depth of the carving is perfection. The interlocking arms and extra point tips give it that extra touch. You can take this tiny treasure anywhere or use it at home. Good on any size altar. In any size home or small apartment. Even, to hide!

Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick

Also, from Zen and Meow, included in the SHA MAMA’s little helper’s box was an Engraved Seed of Life Palo Santo Stick. When burned Palo Santo acts as a smudging agent to cleanse an area or person. It keeps energies grounded and clear. Its scent provides upliftment that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation. Palo Santo is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more. It is a very useful wood. It smells very fresh with hints of mint & citrus. It’s native to the coast of South America and it’s name translates to Holy Wood. It’s used by everyone from Shamans to saints. The one included in our box is gorgeous! I am just going to keep it as is.

Handmade Beeswax Black Candle with Handmade Tree-branch Candle Holder

The first thought is how perfect the size is for after the beeswax candle when I use my chimes. Then, how beautiful the tree branch will look in time when wax has melted down it. How powerful this little branch will be. How it will resonate with all my intentions. Then I think, wow, I have taken these simple, beautiful objects and turned them into this massive magickal object before I have even found out what it is for! Let’s look…

Oh Ms. Miré you have put your full self and intention into what you have created and put in your box because it has come through loud and clear! WOW, now that is powerful magick!

Coarse Himalayan Salt & Frankincense with Coal

Himalayan Salt, also, know as Pink Halite, is a crystal and is edible. Salt is used for protection and protection from evil. It is often used in & around homes. It is also used for purification, cleansing, and dispelling negativity in many religions rituals throughout the world. Himalayan Salt has many more attributes, as well, making it a great resource to have.

Frankincense resin is burned to create scared, purified spaces. It is very powerful and many use it mixed in with their other herbs to boost their magick. It is also associated with good fortune business wise. Frankincense is great to burn while doing energy work, meditating, or working with your chakras.

They are tall, 4” approx., glass vials, of nice chunks of each. Plus the charcoal to burn the frankincense on. I think a generous amount is given of each. Beautiful in the bottles and came wrapped nicely in beautiful tissue paper. I’m a sucker for cork topped bottles.

New Moon & Full Moon Aromatherapy Oils

Made by Binford’s Natural Remedies, which is a woman owned company that handcrafts all its merchandise and “follows the cycles and rhythms of nature to create all of its products.” They are from their Sacred Altar collection. The ingredients are not written on the bottle and I can not find them on the site, however, you can CLEARLY see the flowers and crystals in the bottle.

Each bottle states what each is intended for. The New Moon oil says it is to be used to cleanse & make your intentions clear. The Full Moon oil if for release so you can receive.

Each bottle also has the web address on it. The type on the bottles needs to be bolder. It already is fading and I will need to use a marker to write what they are on them. That is not important enough though. Let’s see how they smell.

New Moon is a gorgeous flowery scent. Not the over powering scent of flowers that is overbearing and makes you sneeze and bites your nose. But a deep, maybe heady flower, you can feel it’s petals. Don’t mistake this for a smell that is too powerful. It blends in and fades to just the right amount of aroma on the skin.

Full Moon is a sweeter smell. Hints of a powdery scent. A lighter smell you may think, but if you put each on a wrist and take turns smelling them, you will find it is not, it is just different. They are each very powerful! Gorgeous!! I have not smelled blends like these before. Usually you smell the regular lavenders & sages, but not here!

Each comes in a glass, roll on vial. Easy to use. You should rub the oil in for better effect. A little goes a long way. You really don’t need to roll on a lot. You can dab a bit and blend that in.

Resin Magick Skull

At first when I saw the skull I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure what it was. I like skulls though. Plus, it had glitter! I have been seeing them or something like them for sale on Instagram. So I was very curious. It’s a handmade resin skull cast by SHA MAMA RISING owner Miré Molnar. Inside she has placed items, such as; human bones, ashes, blood, placenta, crystals, flowers, and glitter then magickally charged it. How is that for something unique for your altar! I can see a ton of stuff in mine, but I am not sure what it all is. I see herbs, maybe a bone? What would placenta look like? Gosh it’s lovely. Mine came with purple glitter, and purple is my favorite color! Blessed.

Witch Elixir

Created by the website: The Jess Rose. One of her Flower & Gem collection she doesn’t even carry on her site. Created during the 2017 Lion’s Gate, Full moon eclipse, matured over 13 moons. It comes with a card from the owner explaining how to use the elixir, it’s ingredients, and how to store.

What this elixir has in it is a mixture of Flowers: morning glory, iris; Gems: unakite, labradorite; and many more then I just mentioned than the two for each. And they are in a solution of spring water, organic vegetable glycerine and organic vodka less than 4%. You can not see any of the flowers or gems in the bottle. It is all liquid. It comes in the glass bottle with a dropper you are to keep clean and clear from any touching as per instructions on how to keep the bottle from contamination.

What the elixir is for is that the “essences nourish the subtle bodies, auric fields and energy systems.” It is supposedly gentle.

The note that comes with the bottle is wonderfully done. The artwork on it so nice you want to save it and frame it. On the backside it is sealed with wax. Fancy touch! The bottle itself is adorned with a key charm tied around the neck with some black cording. You can keep this and use it as a necklace. Adorable. As for the taste it was yummy to me. I did have a bit of coffee before. I could still taste it. Sweet. I followed the instructions and didn’t let the dropper touch my mouth or tongue. I have stored it properly in a cool area this entire time. It is supposed to work on the support and growth of our inner witch. Grow little witch GROW!!!

I don’t know if a product like this is necessary, but it doesn’t hurt. I can not tell you if it helps yet or what it does, if anything.

The shop is woman owned!

My Over All Impression…

WOW, SHA MAMA’s little helper is dead serious about her Subscription Box, it’s contents, and it’s packaging. Her packaging is wonderful and %100 recycled materials. The products inside are not inexpensive & are not junk! SHA MAMA’s little helper is serious about giving you a true magickal experience when pampering you. The Bindfords All Natural is amazing stuff. Maybe my favorite items in this box. I can say one of the top best smelling oils of all times. You do need to remember a little goes a long way and that you have to rub the oil in, but it is worth it. A definite must have. My second favorite from SHA MAMA’s little helper is the Black Bee’s Wax Candle & Candle Holder. Genius. Handmade by Miré Molnar the boxes creator. It sparked my imagination. I could see it in the future. I saw what her intentions were for us! The magick in those objects is so powerful. It is just so simple, yet so stunning. Let’s not forget the Crystal Grid for Zen and Meow!!!! Such a quality company. I almost forgot, everything is by women owned companies, as well. Inspiring!

This box just screams magickal inspiration! It’s a MUST HAVE!! I can not express it enough!

The Interview

Miré Molnar creator of SHA MAMA’s little helper subscription boxes was nice enough to grant us a wonderful interview.

PaganPagesOrg (PP): What brought the idea of your box to you?

Miré Molnar (MM): I started thinking a lot about the importance of self care after my baby was born. So much of my energy was flowing out to my child – but that energy came from somewhere… It came from inside of me. So I thought a lot about what fueled my life-force energy and what I needed to do to keep my cup full given that I didn’t have the same freedom I’d had pre-baby (to say, go to the Korean spa or get body work etc.). I began to find and use really cool products that became part my daily self care ritual. Products that supported my body, subtle body, my hormones and my bliss. I began using CBD often and jokingly called it Mama’s Little Helper (I’m also a Stone’s fan). I started to call all my little herbal/witchy/beauty products Mama’s Little Helpers because they really helped me feel balanced through any given day of motherhood. Women and mothers in US culture typically seem very comfortable with giving but then are not that great at receiving. Motherhood will knock you on your ass if you don’t take care of yourself but supporting women is just not where our culture likes to point it’s attention. I see a lot of moms really struggle with this. I decided I needed to offer a subscription box to support other women/mamas self care practices and be a voice to help flood the conversation with the message that self-care is not just ok but that it is imperative.

PP: How did you begin them?

MM:I first started last January with a monthly Crystal Creator box on my jewelry shop www.talismama.life that focused a lot on manifestation. It was expensive and it included a really high grade CBD oil, a Law of Attraction planner and various tinctures, body oils and hand-made witchy goodies etc. and each month I would post a ritual or something similar that connected with what was happening energetically with the cosmos and the planet.

PP: How do you choose what to include inside your boxes?

MM:I find a lot of great woman/mama owned brands on Instagram and Etsy. But also people and products find me.

PP: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

MM:I stopped doing a full monthly self care box because the price point was high and I think the amount of products became overwhelming too. So now I offer a Quarterly full and half self-care box and then I offer a monthly ritual that can be purchased with one supportive product or not.

PP: Are you Pagan?

MM:I think that that’s the best word to describe my spiritual beliefs. I find a lot of spiritual paths interesting and I participate in all kinds of things from Thelema to Wicca to Yoga. I like to have the freedom to make my own shit up so Paganism feels the least constricting. I like being in rhythm with the earth and find that ultimately that that is where my spiritual focus feels most comfortable – with mother nature

PP: What types of interests do you have?

MM: I’m a graphic designer, I work at a Sudbury Valley style Democratic Free school, I am an environmentalist, a feminist, civil rights activist and an artist. I love to dance, smoke Mary Jane and be creative. I was very involved in the indie rock music scene of the 90’s and early 00’s, have been in many bands and love Rock N’ Roll! I love getting high on my third eye and I love witchy, hippy, cosmic shit!

PP: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

MM:That’s a great question. Actually I’ve been pretty impressed with what’s available out on Instagram especially when it comes to other woman-made, legit magickal offerings. I do notice a lot of made-in-china Witchy/Pagan boxes and wanted to be another offering (of the small but growing handful) that really focuses on women’s magick (such as: herbalism, potion-making, candle-making, soap-making, kitchen-witching) and includes products made with a lot of high-vibe juju. If we’re really out to make magick then intention is a huge part of that and every component that goes into a product is incredibly important. Making sure that the products I feature use natural ingredients, are made with consciousness and support other women entrepreneurs is very important to me and I hope it’s what makes my boxes stand out in the long run. 

PP: Tell us about you, your life, what we may not know!

MM: I am the daughter of Chantal Molnar, the amazing priestess behind The Milky Way Movie, and feel that my calling is aligned with my mother’s and that I am here to support the empowerment of all women. I make crystal power-jewelry with my father and have created the brand Sha Mama Rising that includes our TalisMama jewelry shop and my Little Helper subscription boxes. I have a 3year old daughter and a wonderful partner and we live in Southern California.

PP: May we have links to your sites that sell other types of products?

MM: Yes a few… You can go direct to the subscription boxes here: http://sha-mama-rising.cratejoy.com or you can find the boxes through my other sites: www.shamamarising.com and www.talismama.life

Thank you so much Miré Molnar for creating such a wonderful Product & for taking the time to talk with us and our readers. I can definitely say that I totally stand behind this Subscription Box and it is totally Worth the Witch!!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Interview with Cyndi Brannen: Keeper of Keys

April, 2019

Cyndi Brannen has many hats: witch, teacher, psychic, healer, and herbalist, to name just a few. Devotee of Hekate and author of the popular Patheos blog, Keeping her Keys, Cyndi has now written a book all about Hekatean witchcraft: Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction To Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft. Cyndi was kind enough to take some time out to speak to us here at PaganPagesOrg. Here’s what she had to say.

Mabh Savage (MS): When did you start writing your blog, Keeping her Keys, and what prompted you to start?

Cyndi Brannen (CB): Keeping Her Keys launched on Patheos Pagan around Samhain in 2018. I started KHK because I felt compelled by Hekate to share my understanding of her and witchcraft with others. Honestly, I had to make a choice to close the door on my career in psychology because there was no way to go public as a witch and maintain it. This wasn’t an easy decision. It took years to get to the place where I was finally able to do it. Hekate waited. I persisted. Here we are today.

MS: What inspired you to write a course on Hekatean Witchcraft?

CB: From my perspective at the crossroads of personal development, spirituality and witchcraft, there really were no courses that focused on Hekatean Witchcraft. I created the course I wished I could take. Also, Hekate said to do it.

MS: How did you design the course? Did you have students who tried out the material before you wrote the book?

CB: Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft consists of three levels guiding students through the process of becoming a full priestess. In The First Key, students focus on their own development, the second is for mentoring peers and the third for priestessing of others. Each of the three levels is different based on these goals. In The First Key, each lesson consists of pharmakeia (plant spirits), goetia (working with spirits), and kleis (personal development concepts) all with Hekatean flair. Students create their own project and complete initiation. The central focus is on the development of the Inner Temple. Yes, everything I write or teach is trialed on others and myself. My process for developing content usually works something like this: receiving inspiration or a vision and then doing my best to honor this by creating quality content. Once the ritual, spell, monograph, etc. is ready to share, it’s tested by myself and others.

MS: Your description of being called by Hekate resonates with my own experience, and I imagine that of many others. Why do you think Hekate often appears to potential devotees at their darkest hour?

CB: This is such a great question that I’ve been asked many times. I don’t believe that any human can fully comprehend a deity, let alone know why they do anything. However, my theory is that Hekate resides in the darkest places, as a goddess and a force. I also believe that when we are broken, we become more open to all forms of truth, if we so choose. These two factors combined are what I feel is at work when Hekate calls us during our weakest moments. True initiation is found in these times.

MS: I love your attitude that practitioners should do their own thing, or as you say in the book, ‘you do you.’ But, do you think there are certain key points that all devotees of Hekate should note, or certain actions they should all be doing?

CB: The only rule that matters in witchcraft is “know thyself.” The only requirement I’ve encountered for Hekatean Witches is sincerity. This comes from a deep commitment to living our truths. In my experience, Hekatean Witchcraft is not for the casual practitioner. The three core values I teach are kindness, integrity and passion. Kindness refers to the fierce love of living your truth and allowing others to do the same. Integrity is about being that truth, and passion is the will to live it. Many Hekatean Witches regularly perform rituals and acts of veneration, especially on the Dark Moon. While it’s important to perform these rites, they naturally flow out of the core values.

MS: Is there a particular epithet of Hekate that you are drawn to more than others?

CB: Keeper of the Keys (Kleidoukhos) is the obvious choice, but there are so many other aspects of Hekate that are especially important to me. I see her as our Guardian, Guide and the Gatekeeper. All these have ancient names as well. She is Lampadios – Torch Bearer – of our Underworld journey, she is Enodia – literally of the road – who guides our material experience, and she is Hegemonen – Gatekeeper – of the mysteries. Perhaps beyond these specific traits, I understand her best as Anima Mundi – Soul of the World – the very fire that fuels all of creation. As Anima Mundi, her role as Witch Mother is a natural extension since witches work with the natural energies.

MS: At one point in the book, you note that Hekatean witches can be ‘misfits, rebels and weirdos.’ Do you think Hekate specifically calls to those outside ‘mainstream’ groups or those who love what is considered an alternative lifestyle, and why? 

CB: Hekate is of the shadows, the liminal, the in-between. Her home is the darkness and she was borne of the stars. This is not the description of a goddess who calls to those who walk a more mainstream path. We burn bright as her torches. We live on the fringe and the frontier. Rebels, misfits and weirdos to some, but we are the ones who change the world. I love the diversity of Hekatean Witches, I have students in my course from all over the planet, from diverse paths and representing various groups often considered marginalized. Like Hekate’s ancient horde of the unwanted and outcast spirits, we are her chosen. Her companions, especially her ancient witches, are very much of the Underworld and shadows as well. Circe, Medea and the lesser known ones. We are their kin.

MS: What’s the significance of the course taking a calendar year plus a day? 

CB: I can’t take much credit for the length of the course since it was downloaded to me from Hekate and her ancient witches. Thirteen moon cycles with initiation was their message, so I followed their advice. Of course, this structure is popular in many modern witchcraft courses.

MS: How do you keep coming up with new ideas for the blog?

CB: I honestly only write articles about subjects that interest me. My blog is about speaking my truth which happens to often be quite different than popular voices. At times, I feel inspired by the spirits and even Hekate herself. Others result from conversations and questions I get asked. When my creativity is low, I unplug from the external world until I find it again. For me, the feedback I’ve received from those who found comfort or a shared perspective in my words is the greatest source of inspiration.

MS: Are there any other books on the horizon? What other projects are you working on?

CB: True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch will be available on Samhain this year. In late 2020, the second Keeping Her Keys book, Deeper into Hekate’s Witchcraft, will be released. The True Magic of Fierce Love is in the early stages. This is a book about standing in our power. The next class of The Sacred Seven and Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft: The First Key both start October 1, 2019. There’s also a secret project in the works that I can’t discuss just yet.

MS: Do you have a favourite season or festival, and why?

CB: Autumn is my favorite season, especially November. There’s something so Hekatean about this time of the year. It’s no surprise that there are two modern celebrations during this month. Night of Hekate of the Underworld is November 16 and Night of Hekate of the Underworld is November 30. Within Keeping Her Keys, these two days lead up to the Longest Night on the Winter Solstice. Combined they are referred to as the Holy Darkness.

MS: How do you relax and wind down?

CB: Living here on the coast, I am fortunate to be able to wander the woods or along the shore. Nothing restores my soul better than the ocean that surrounds me. Witch-crafting, especially my new interest in sculpting, is another way that I unplug from the writing life.

MS: And finally, what are you most excited about for the coming year?

CB: Having Keeping Her Keys and True Magic both published within six months of each other is very exciting. There’s so much going on in addition to these books coming out. Teaching the courses is so meaningful to me. I’m also very much looking forward to finishing the writing projects I’m working on. There’s much to be excited about and grateful for.

Connect with Cyndi on Facebook or at keepingherkeys.com to learn more about her teaching and writing. Pre-order her books, Keeping Her Keys and True Magic, at Amazon now.

Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction To Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Review of The Closet Pagan Etsy Shop & Interview with Owner Anna Pierce

April, 2019

The Closet Pagan

Bright Blessings!

I was tickled pink when I got this lovely bundle in the mail to review!

I am so happy to share what The Closet Pagan has available, and I am confident you will find something you’d love to have!

Owner, and craftsperson Anna Pierce is a gifted jewelry maker, and she knows her stuff about what stones have which magical attributes, and she makes spell kits as well.

She shipped me, as pictured, two different necklaces. One with crystal ball smoky quartz, and the other with the mysteriously beautiful bloodstone. She also sent single amazonite and fancy jasper stones, and had them all put together in a gorgeous black silky drawstring bag complete with a lovely ankh charm.

On review of her etsy page, I found lots to love. From silver charm necklaces, to crystal grid boards, and protection kits, this gal is stocked up with things every Witch and Pagan is sure to love. Even better, the prices are quite reasonable!

I was lucky enough to be able to have a short interview with Anna as well!

The Interview

Saoirse– Bright Blessings, Anna! What beautiful products you have! I got the smoky quartz crystal ball necklace, and bloodstone necklace, and the fancy jasper and amazonite crystals. Such beautiful, thoughtful offerings! Thank you! Tell me the meaning behind all the stones from your own interpretations, and the magical and or healing properties you ascribe to them.

Anna- The meaning behind the stones: Well, the smoky quartz, and bloodstone are some of my favorites. To me, they represent great emotional healing properties such as calming ones mind, and relieving stress. Of course, all of this I believe, is from the power of suggestion, but it’s something that can make you feel great while rocking a cute piece of jewelry. 

Saoirse– Tell me how you got into making jewelry and spell kits? What made you decide to do an online shop? Do you have a brick and mortar shop customers may visit, or is it all online?

Anna- My shop is online on Etsy only. I’d love to one day have a brick and mortar shop, but unless I win the lotto, I don’t see it happening any time soon unfortunately. How I got into jewelry making and spell kits: Well, I really love the idea of unusual items and products to make you feel better. Spell kits/ornaments stuff I make I like to use as my own home decor and wanted to share my interests with anyone who would appreciate them. The jewelry making, I picked it up as a hobby then decided to just take a leap and go for it. ?

Saoirse– What is your personal spiritual and or magical path, and how does your merchandise support you in that?

Anna- I consider myself a Pagan Eclectic Witch. I am not a Wiccan, and do not follow any kind of “Witch’s code.” My merchandise supports in the fact that I have a bunch of different styles and try to keep it simple. 

Saoirse– What power is there in personal adornment with magical materials like oils, and jewelry, in your opinion?

AnnaI believe it’s all the power of suggestion, and the energy you send out onto the Universe. 

Saoirse– What are your personal favorite things to make, and what are your personal favorite materials to use, and why?

Anna My personal favorites to make are the ornaments and spell sets, because I can offer a variety of different items in one grouping. 

Saoirse– Tell me about something extra special you have made, and how, and why it is meaningful to you?

AnnaSomething extra special? I suppose that’ll have to be the Winter Solstice ornaments I made, because it allowed me to fill the bulbs with beautiful flowers to decorate your home or holiday tree. When making them I send out good energy into the Universe. 

Anna also had this to say:

I have a passion for creating new things. I love filling my little mid-century house with candles, crystals, salts, and the funky unique things I find. And, I love crystal and gemstone jewelry. I started my shop to sell some of the things I love most: crystals, salts, herbal blends, Wiccan and Pagan decor, and items honoring positive emotional and spiritual bonds with nature. Some of the things I sell will be unique, one-of-a-kind items, handmade from upcycled materials. Other items, like salts or herbal potpourri, will be handmade in small batches. I love making simple, timeless jewelry designs with raw and polished gemstones, gemstone beads, and various gemstone crystals. I hope people feel a positive healing connection to the items in my shop. It is my wish to make other people’s lives a bit better, a bit happier, a bit more grounded to the earth and nature, with the items I create and the customer service I offer.”

Anna is a real person, and is not just looking to earn money. She encourages people to reach out to her through her Instagram, and she loves people to tell her about themselves. She is very relatable, and tries to inspire whenever she can.

Here is the link to her Etsy shop:

www.theclosetpagan.etsy.com

You can follow her on Instagram @TheClosetPagan

Happy shopping, and 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.

Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

April, 2019

April 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

I write this the day before Spring Equinox, and I am pleased to say, although we still get the scattered odd snow, and colds and upper resp is currently rampant in my hometown, Spring is happening anyhow!

My crocus bulbs have started showing purple buds, and the birdsong, and strong light are a very welcome break from the cold, and gloom of winter!

I have all my seeds for the year already, and I’m going to start buying soil a couple of bags at a time this weekend to fill that new planter box I am thrilled to have!

More than that, joint pain, fatigue, and cabin fever are starting to disappear!

The month of April also sees everybody getting outside more, being cooped up indoors less, doing more Spring cleaning, and planning trips out of town to visit loved ones, and hit festivals. It’s a happy, and active time.

For some of us, it means planning the Beltaine gathering. In years past, I have written a lot about our Beltaine gatherings.

My health made it impossible for me to plan that some years recently- but this year, it’s on!!!!!

Rather than rent a site at a natural area- you know, where we could do firepit and camping- I just booked the clubhouse at my condos. NOW, if it rains, we are covered! It’s also on the bus line, and right at my house. Everybody knows where it is, and it cost a small $40 rental. Win-win!

I bring this up to speak about transformation.

We THINK transformation is making EVERYTHIMG we expect happen exactly as we want it.

That isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, sure, but not always.

Sometimes, we have to ADAPT to make something happen at all, as opposed to DEMANDING we 100% control everything down to the most minute detail. Being a micromanager hinders magic sometimes. We may move energy, but we do not OWN energy. We may be the reflection of the god or goddess, but we are ACTING in that role, and are not actually them. We are merely human.

To accept things as they are, and change ourselves or approach to mirror reality is sometimes the most magical transformation there is.

More on this topic, and a working to follow the theme, but first, I’d like to share with you a wonderful book I reviewed, and the amazing author’s interview.

Interview of Nicholas Guillette

Nick Guilette is the author of Magickal Mechanics: The Fundamentals And Functions Of Magick, which I had the opportunity to review!

This 2018 publication is a simple, no nonsense approach to the way magic works. I most appreciate the brevity of the 60 plus page book, which is broken down into 12 simple mechanics. It’s an easy read, and Nick’s writing voice has an easily understandable, poetic flow that draws you right in. I recommend the book.

Rather than provide too much of a spoiler, I decided to discuss one of the 12 mechanics, and Nick chose #12, which is: “Magickal action must be followed by mundane action on the physical world outside of the ritual setting.”

He writes “Magick is not a silver bullet to solve our problems…creating changes in life through magick requires work in two aspects of existence: The energetic, and the physical.” He also writes, “ Magicians must allow their magick to flow from the astral plane to the mental plane and finally to the physical plane through spellwork and follow it up with mundane action to see their will manifest.”

I was fortunate enough to not only review this good book, but also interview the author as well!

The Interview

Saoirse– Let’s discuss the book by highlighting one of the 12 points. Which would you prefer to discuss?

Nick– Probably the biggest thing would be that magick requires physical action to manifest so #12, because a lot of people tend to think that after they do with spell it’s just going to manifest whatever they want without any work.

Saoirse– A gal I once used to know said “We are spiritual beings having a physical experience! “ Magic is just a PART of who we are as magic workers. Your example of trying to find a job is one I always provide. Sure, cast spells, but if you don’t send that resume out, you might not get a job! I will say, though, ONE time, I did spellwork, and it manifested on its own, but that time, I was told to wait by the goddess!

Nick– Yeah sometimes things do come around when we wait but there may have been some elements there of physical manifestation you took part in doing.

Saoirse-To me, spellwork is my last resort, but most of my friends who practice do magic first. Some say it gets you into the “headspace” to make things happen.

Nick– It can be done either way because you can use magic as a way of your efforts were supporting you in finding the right way from point A to point B, or you can use it as that last connective power after doing everything that you can in the physical world. I do tend to rely on the idea of doing everything in the physical world possible first before relying on Magic because that puts a level of effort behind the intention, and things that you are trying to manifest. It’s like filling a gas tank before going on a trip kind of. The energy is like, “ Oh that’s what you’re aiming towards! Let me help you with that’”

Saoirse– Tell me about a time you used magic, and THEN did mundane work, and how it manifested?

Nick– When I was trying to get one of my jobs I charged a sigil that I kept in the pocket of my dress shirt to help get the job. Then I did research on company policies and what their goals are and talked with people who worked there previously, practiced some lines for interview questions. At the interview I was filled with confidence and the right words seemed to flow through me, and I got the job easily. The interviewer during the group interview even paused at one point to ask me a follow-up question. I was the only one he did that for. I got the job easily.

Saoirse– Let’s discuss having a magical mindset as opposed to wishful thinking. What are the differences?

Nick– A magickal mindset is a way of thinking that knows cause and effect are connected in a way that you can manipulate. On the opposite, wishful thinking relies purely on hopes, chances and luck. Those that work with magick know they can change the dice roll in their favor with their manipulation of reality.

Saoirse– What about when the magic does not work? What does that mean, and what do you recommend to people when they get to a place where that have tried everything, and there are ZERO results towards their goal?

Nick– Sometimes magick doesn’t work because our deep-down beliefs don’t want it to work. Like when I would do spells for teaching jobs simply because of the money, but wasn’t ready, or really excited about actually getting the job. Subconsciously I didn’t want the job so I didn’t get it. It could also mean there is some other option they overlooked, or haven’t thought of that would be even better for them. Or during spellwork, their intention wasn’t focused enough, or their spell wasn’t that powerful due to lack of energy. Many different factors could account for such results.

Saoirse– I have noticed a lot of healing magic tends to go awry. I am pretty sure these folks want it , and have done all they feel is necessary. I know a lot of cases where folks do what the doctors tell them on the mundane levels also, as well as ascribed magical workings. Still no healing. In a situation where somebody does “all the right things” and still no results, for something necessary, and for something that it would SEEM like it would be done, what are the causes perhaps?

Nick– Meddles intention, unclear focus, unclear energy. Like doing everything right when you’re tired, Your words can still come out funny.

Saoirse– So, it sounds like you are from the school of thought that a true magician can manifest anything her or she wants if only the magic is good enough. Yes?

Nick– The magick being their intention, planning, execution and follow-through. Yes. Although there are limits to what magick can and cannot do, which my book outlines.

Saoirse– Yes, there are limits, I agree.

Nick– Magick’s limits are mostly aligned with what can be created in reality, magick is a different way of manifesting, sort of. It’s like a detour. You still use a road, but a different one. Or a different type of fuel, per-se. Magick is akin to having a GPS when driving rather than relying on road signs.

Saoirse-Next I’d like to know about you! Tell me about yourself as both a writer and a magical practitioner!

Nick– I fell into magick because a girl I dated in college had 3 books on it and didn’t want me to read them or try anything on my own for fear of getting hurt. When we broke up I bought them and spent a whole summer reading Occult books from the bookstore and at my university library. I spent the whole summer alone doing rituals every night. That was back in 2008, so I’ve had a daily passion with it. And I started my magickology YouTube channel back in 2015. I wrote an entire book elaborating on how to work with the Simon Necronomicon, basically building around the text explaining everything but Avon would not grant me permission to publish it. So, I came up with the idea of writing my own books. And one night my fiancee gave me the idea for my first when she asked about the psychology of ritual. And I started writing my first book which was Magickal Theater. It took me 3 months. I wrote Magickal Mechanics shortly after.

Saoirse– That is amazing! What projects are in the works next?

Nick– Well I am working on an update of sorts to my book Handy Sigil Magick which is my own personal system for activating sigils through visualization and physical movement. Going to make it more complex and involved than it is.

Here are links to Nicks author pages and available publications:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=B07GXXNV9L&i=stripbooks&_encoding=UTF8&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Here is the link to his You Tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV0QFgXDuLeRL8CX0wI2rxA?fbclid=IwAR1aSPM8flLRuoxdMuYfqeQCD7iJ-xEbSW92xjq6R5v3Pa20p9r7CgV_Pp0

He can be reached at priestofthenecro@gmail.com. He always accepts emails from people wanting to suggest video topics or want to learn from him.

He says “ The most important thing is sharing knowledge so everyone can grow in their practice.”

I could not agree more.

Magickal Mechanics: The Fundamentals And Functions Of Magick on Amazon

April’s Working

As magic is often used to create change, one of the most important things we, as magic workers have to accept is that sometimes, we are trying for things that are not ours to try for.

A lot of people think we can have ANYTHING we want if only we do all the right things to get it.

Tell that to somebody who did a lot of healing work, and the person they tried to heal; never got better. Tell that to somebody who tried all they could to save their marriage, and the spouse left them anyhow. Tell that to somebody who worked for YEARS at a certain career, only to discover they belonged elsewhere.

We are sometimes have to adapt. That might mean abandoning something altogether, or just changing our approach.

Going along with Nick’s talk about action plus magic, my working will focus just as much on the mundane as the magic.

The Working

Take a serious look. What isn’t working as expected in your life that you would like to improve? Do you need to completely walk away, or just change something?

Like I had to change how I do my Beltaines, as opposed to completely giving them up, what can you adapt to?

The first step is to identify that which you must simply abandon, or adapt to.

Next, we will do spellwork first.

The Spell

You are doing a spell on yourself!

Make a poppet representing you, or use a photograph of yourself for this.

If you make a poppet, use something that is easy to burn.

YES, you will burn a poppet of yourself, and the flames will IGNITE you to action, not destroy you!

Next write all over your photo or poppet the things you want to change or transform.

For example- say you are trying to lose weight, and your focus has been on cutting calories- and you are literally starving yourself. Not good. You could write something like this “I want to lose weight, but not starve myself! I am making myself sick, and that is NOT the goal. From now on, my focus will be on losing weight for my health, and starvation completely defeats that purpose. I don’t KNOW yet how to eat healthy and also lose weight, so my goal is to research every day for the next month, or longer ,and get help from a doctor or nutritionist if needs be. “

Burn the poppet to ignite you to impassioned action- and then go out and do what you wrote on the poppet you would.

The spellwork is easy, as it should be a small part of the act. I am not one to “put it out there to the Universe”, and WAIT for the Universe to grant a wish! There will be times you have done absolutely everything, and all there is left to do is hope and pray, but for this working, it’s 10% spellwork, and 90% action.

This is a surefire way to make changes happen!

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.

Review of Sacred Mists Shoppe Blessed Gemstone Kit & Interview with Lady Lorien Of Sacred Mists

February, 2019

We received a lovely Gemstone Offering Kit to review at PaganPagesOrg from Sacred Mists Shoppe and I thought it looked like so much fun I would invite someone new to the Craft to enjoy it with my old Crone self. Get another opinion, from young eyes, as well.

The Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe includes one pound of a mixed lot of offering gemstones (that is a lot!), a hand-rolled mini power candle made of beeswax, a mini sage smudging wand, two elemental matchsticks, instructions on what to do, and a free gift of an incense stick.

The instructions are easy to follow. They show you how to cleanse, bless & charge your stones in easy to comply language. Then the Gemstone Offering Kit suggests ways to use your stones as offerings: You can use them to give thanks to the Earth, as ways to invite Faeries, as ways to use them as gifts of gratitude & more.

When our candle burned out (please do not copy what we did and burn your candle on the plastic lid) we placed some of the charged stones in the garden to thank the Earth and attract Fae to the yard. We each kept a nice portion of the blessed stones as there are plenty of them. I still have a ton to gift. Also, when I run out, Sacred Mists Shoppe includes a coupon on the instruction sheet for more stones! Very thoughtful.

The Crone and the Maiden both thoroughly enjoyed this ritual. We had so much fun together. Even if we did it alone, and not together, it would be a fun ritual to perform. There are so many gemstones in all varieties. The portion size is very generous for the price. The instructions are clear & concise. The coupon is a wonderful bonus. You can keep the sturdy jar to store your stones or any supplies in.

I was right to invite my friend! We had a blast doing this kit, and we know you will, too!

If you would like to purchase the Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe it is $24.95 + shipping and can be bought here on their site or you can purchase it here on their etsy.

I was lucky to have a chance to speak with Lady Lorien of Sacred Mists about their wonderful product, shop, & other interesting topics. Here is what Lady Lorien had to say!

Jennifer Wright (JW): Hello Lady Lorien,
It is a pleasure to speak with you! My friend and I just completed your Blessed Gemstone Kit and we had the best time! We found it to be a creative and fun idea to do. Not only alone, but as a group. How did you come up with such an idea?

Lady Lorien (LL): Offerings are an important part of our practice and we’ve had our Blessed Offering Stones available in our store for years. While in the warehouse one day I came up with the idea to create a kit that provided all of the pieces needed to work with the offering stones, including cleansing, empowering, and storing them. We love sifting through the stones to find just the right offering to make at a particular time as well as simply putting our hands into them and letting the stones roll through our fingers. Our Blessed Offering Stones have long been a customer favorite and we love them, too!

JW: We see you created the product yourself at your Covenstead?

LL:As with all of our Covenstead Creations offerings, the kit was made right here in our beautiful Napa Valley location.

JW: Can you tell us more about your Covenstead?

LL: Our Covenstead is home of our circle and coven, Sacred Mists. Here, our training programs in areas such as complete Wiccan degrees, herbalism, tarot, historical paganism, and Reiki are offered. It is also the location of our shop cottage where all of our creations are made and from where our orders are shipped. All of our training offerings are available online at www.workingwitches.com and our products are available at www.sacredmists.com.

JW: Do you make all of your products?

LL: We offer our own creations as well as many products from other craftspersons and suppliers that have been hand selected by us for quality and intention.

JW: Your shop and Coven has been around for decades, has it not?

LL: Sacred Mists has been in existence for over 25 years and our teachings and products have been available online for 17 years now. Time flies!

JW: You even have a brick & Mortar shop. Sacred Mists has a school?

LL:We used to have a brick and mortar shop, however, we have since closed it due to the enormous expenses involved with having one in our area. All of our offerings, including both products and our training programs, are available online. Our school reaches thousands of students from around the world, all of whom are able to join together in online discussions, online rituals, and collaborative study. We are definitely a coven and circle family and each student who joins us is warmly welcomed.

JW: Do you, yourself, teach?

LL:I do! I’m actively involved with all of the classes and programs offered. We also have other highly qualified teachers and mentors within our program, ensuring that each student is provided with individual attention and training. Our programs are very unique in that way.

JW: All of your products look truly wonderful and your prices are fair. Thank you for sending us your Blessed Gemstone Kit. Your products are amazing and PaganPagesOrg definitely recommends your shop!

I would like to thank Lady Lorien for taking the time to chat with us! From our talk and from the quality of their products and looking around their site, I will definitely be delving into their classes, I can recommend you do, as well!

Contacts & Social Media Sites:

Main Site: Sacred Mists

Kit: Gemstone Offering Kit

Their Facebook

Their Twitter

Their Pinterest

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Interview & Review – Laura Tempest Zakroff: Sigil Witchery

February, 2019

A Book Review

Sigil Witchery

(An interview with Tempest follows this review.)

It was very serendipitous that as this book was coming up for review, I had just registered to take a workshop with Tempest based on this very book.

The word “sigil” means “seal” or an action/word of a spiritual nature. I would hazard a guess that most of us have seen sigils that mean specific things, written and drawn by others.

Tempest brings sigils to us in a more personal way, with the sigils drawn by us, to have meaning to us, specifically. She simplifies it for us, while never detracting from their power.

Before doing this, she gives us a brief history of what she calls “making marks”, discussing the paintings, symbolism and markings of previous civilizations, which are still so important to us today. Tempest does on to explain the differences between sigils and signs, seals, designs, etc.

There are sections on the basic shapes used in sigils and their meanings, adding directions, letters and numbers, how to use the elements in our sigils and how they work.

There is space for us to create our own symbols for specific words that Ms. Zakroff has listed for us, thus building our own library to make our own custom sigils. She gives guidance on designing our own, what tools we can use, why we should craft our own sigils. She offers us suggestion sigils and a gallery of her own custom sigils.

We don’t have to be “high magicians” to utilize the power of sigils and the how-to’s are all right here, in an informative, friendly, easy-to-read-and-relate-to manner.

As one who has never given much thought to sigils, on their own, this book has tempted me to not only think about it, but do it.

Interview With Laura Tempest Zakroff

Susan Morgaine (SM): Hi Tempest – it was so nice to see you while you were on tour.

So, belly dancer/performer, event producer, artist, witch, author and teacher. That is quite impressive. I knew you primarily as a dancer and performer when we met many years ago, and it wasn’t until I saw the logo for Waking Persephone that I realized you were an artist, as well

SM: How did you start and what did you start with, realizing it was most probably a circuitous journey? Please only respond with what you are comfortable with sharing.

Tempest: I definitely started with art, going back as early as age 3. By first grade I was taking formal art classes on a regular basis – all the way through high school. Then for college, I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I discovered modern Witchcraft and Paganism in my teens, and got into dance in my college years. When I moved to California in 2001, dance and Pagan stuff pretty much took over my life. I didn’t have much room or resources to make the kind of art I had been doing in school, so art took a bit of a backseat. It manifested through my costume designs and creations, graphic design, and some small drawings and paintings. When I moved back to the East Coast in 2007, I started working as a fashion jewelry designer. I did that until mid-2012, when it was time for drastic life shift. In that process I moved to Seattle and began working for myself full-time in all the things I do (dance, design, art). Sometimes I feel frustrated that I didn’t just keep going with the fine art out of school, but I realize I wouldn’t be where I am now, on this path – if I had.

SM: What was the impetus behind the idea of Waking Persephone. I know there were several years here on the East Coast; are you continuing it on the West Coast?

Tempest: I co-produced Gothla US from 2008-2010 – which took place in California. It was supposed to switch coasts, but that didn’t happen. Which was frustrating because most of my east coast, home-base students couldn’t afford to attend it. So much work and the people I worked the closest with couldn’t participate. I also had a vision for something that encompassed more, without stylistic labels – to bring in more ritual/sacred dance, more artistry, more diversity. That became a reality first in Tapestry Dance Retreat (2011) and then Waking Persephone the following Spring. We did 2 years in Providence, and 3 more years in Seattle. At this time, I’m not producing any events, because I needed to focus on my art and writing, but when the time comes, something will probably emerge again. Producing events takes up so much time and energy. I transformed that time and focus into something else. Since the last WP in 2016, I’ve written 4 books, published an anthology, and pushed my art deeper.

SM: When did you realize your were a Witch? It’s so interesting to hear about other’s spiritual journeys.

Tempest: I was at odds with the Catholic Church since my youngest days. I got sent to the principal’s office at age 6 because during a field trip to the church, I insisted on sitting where the priests and altar boys did (like my brothers!), and couldn’t understand while girls weren’t allowed. So much doctrine that made no sense – I felt that God was more present in nature and everywhere around us. I discovered that there were other options to the Abrahamic religions in my mid-teens – that Witchcraft and Paganism was a thing. The realization that there were names for what I believed and felt, and that other people saw the world similarly was a huge revelation.

SM: What made you decide to start to write, and then to follow that with teaching?

Tempest: I’ve been writing for a long time – in high school I was the editor of the literary magazine. At RISD in 1997, I got involved with Crescent Magazine – where I became an associate editor and had regular columns. I started up a website on Modern Traditional Witchcraft around then as well. Around 2000, I started offering Witchcraft classes – and kept that up until around 2005 or so. Then I burned out on being a public Witch, and retreated to a solitary path for almost a decade. After getting my life reset in 2012, I ventured out of my cave a bit with renewed focus and purpose. I started up a blog (which moved to Patheos in early 2016 I think), began teaching again and toyed with the idea of finally writing a book. In the Fall of 2015, I was offered the contract to write “The Witch’s Cauldron” for Llewellyn. It was a wonderful way to just dive right in, and was really well received. So from there, I wrote “Sigil Witchery” – after folks taking my workshops asked why I hadn’t written a book yet on it. And well, it’s just kept going from then.

SM: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take your Sigil Witchery workshop (which is reviewed somewhere else this month in Pagan Pages). What did you learn from your travels and sitting with/teaching so many Witches and Pagans around the country? I found it fascinating to see, on Instagram, the sigils you created with each workshop.

Tempest: No matter where folks are located or what path/label they use – Witches/Paganfolks have so much more in common than not. The community (or whatever we wish to call it) is incredibly diverse, but we share many beliefs and loves, as well as fears and concerns. There is so much potential in recognizing our collective power and connections.

SM: So what is next on the agenda for you, Tempest? Any sneak peeks?

Tempest: A. I’m finally working on an oracle deck! The tentative title is “The Liminal Spirits Oracle” and it will be out via Llewellyn I believe some point next year 🙂

You can reach/follow Tempest at the following:

Owlkeyme arts – Design & Fine art by Laura Tempest Zakroff | Seattle, WA

www.owlkeyme.com

Mago Djinn – Modern Folk Wear

www.magodjinn.com

Author Site – www.lauratempestzakroff.com

Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

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