June, 2011

Merry Meet Readers!!!

June, 2011

Well Met!!  We welcome in the summer with a brand new issue of PaganPages!!

This issue is a big one!!  We have some new columns for you:

The Tarot with Marisol Velasco

Questions for the Shaman with Pegasus

You wanted it and we did it….spells spells and more spells….

You asked for more spells for your BOS’s and we listened.  This issue has quite a few helpful spells in it and the beginning of  a new spells column Spell-Struck

We are looking for the following writers:






and we are looking or any spells you would like to share.

We hope you have a great month and start to your summer!!!

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June Correspondences

June, 2011

The sixth month of the Gregorian Calender, June is the first month of summer. June derives it’s name from the Roman Goddess Juno. Her Greek counterpart is Hera.

The traditional birthstone amulets of June are alexandrite, moonstone, and pearl; and the rose is the month’s traditional flower.

June is shared by the astrological signs of Gemini the Twins and Cancer the Crab, and is sacred to the following Pagan deities: Juno, and all gods and goddesses who preside over love, passion, and beauty.

During the month of June, the Great Solar Wheel of the Year is turned to the Summer Solstice, one of the four Lesser Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.

Astrological Signs: Gemini, Cancer.

Nature Spirits: Sylphs, zephyrs.

Herbs: Skullcap, meadowsweet, vervain, tansy, dog grass, parsley, mosses.

Colors: Orange, Golden-Green.

Flowers: Lavender, orchid, yarrow.

Scents: Lily of the valley, lavender.

Stones: Topaz, agate, alexandrite, flourite, moonstone, pearl.

Trees: Oak.

Animals: Monkey, butterfly, frog, toad.

Birds: Wren, peacock.

Deities: Aine of Knockaine, Bendis, Cerridwen, Green Man, Ishtar, Isis, Juno, Neith, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over love, passion, and beauty.

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Me,Myself and I, Notes from a Solitary Practitioner

June, 2011

While going through my teenage years

I found myself in spiritual strife

Which religion should I join and dedicate my life?

First came the Baptist preacher who promised soulful rest

Then shortly after stating this his hand was on my breast

Then I went to a revival that promised “Welcome one and all”

Then the threats began to change our ways or into the pit of hell we’d fall

I wondered if I was Baptised would I find that divine peace

But every church I asked for this needed what was damn near a lease

Then one day through happenstance I read the Wiccan Rede

Do what you will and it harm none was the only required deed

I learned from every source I could and grew closer to the Divine

And since I am a solitaire my practice is uniquely mine

So here I am 30 years later and sometimes I have to laugh

Because every so often a confused youngster will cross my path

I answer all their questions to my best ability, and then I thank the wise ones

Because they showed this path to me!

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Pellar Song

June, 2011

The new-age circus has come to town

and all wise women go to ground.

The sacred glade where once we stood,

has been cut down for firewood.

From deer park to nesting ground,

now concrete jungle all around.

The herbs we gathered and dried with care,

through sprays and poisons, found no-where.

The shells and stones from coast and brook,

all hid by rubbish – take a look!

The haunting song of the nightingale

a whisper ‘gainst the sirens wail.

The village green where children played,

is where the drunks and junkies sway.

And in the lanes we used to ride,

now souped-up engines, past us, fly.

So what has happened to our Land,

where guardians came to ‘lend a hand’.

They said, ‘to nurture and protect

the sacred ground from tor to wreck…’

The ancient rites they worked and prayed

but soon true Pirate wiles displayed.

They paved paradise with hob-nailed feet

and sold the space where the Fay did meet.

Our virgin land to slavery driven

Tho pearls of wisdom freely given.

A little knowledge, a dangerous tool,

our sacred Lady is no fool.

For she is true, a Queen most fair,

…and her hero stirs within his lair…

The plundered pearls, the Dragon wakes

– chains once held captive, vengeance breaks.

Through shady myths and legends old,

The Dragon, with the knights most bold,

emerges from his centuries sleep,

the Lady’s honour, bound to keep.

And when the battles fought and won,

the Dragon-Lady’s work is done.

Then herb and stone and Fay most fair,

wise women once again will share.

A little older, this is true,

but all the stronger for knowing you.

And when we see your moonlit dance,

and hear your foreign sounding chants,

we will remember through misty eyes,

how once you fooled us with your lies.

Hypnotic hopes we once believed,

were just the vehicles of thieves.

The land takes care of her own health,

if there’s healing needed, it’s with ourselves.

Money could buy the tools we need,

but Mother Earth provides these things!

The wise will get to know her best,

not by rites or how they’re dressed,

but a walk on a beach on a stormy day,

or helping the farmer gather hay.

Stay close beside her and you will find,

a treasure-house to blow your mind!

A crystal here, a touch-stone there,

a wealth of knowledge beyond compare.

So if your desire is to be true,

forget the circus, and just be you.

That person sitting with no other,

is probably spending time with Mother.

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The Days of June

June, 2011

June 1
Festival of the Oak Nymph. This Pagan celebration honors all hamadryads (female nature spirits who are believed to inhabit oak trees). Decorate a Pagan altar with acorns and war some oak leaves in your hair. Kiss an oak tree or place a small offering of some kind before it, and the tree nymphs who dwell within it will surely bestow a blessing upon you.

June 2
Shapatu of Ishtar. A Pagan festival dedicated to the goddess Ishtar is celebrated every year on this date. She is the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian deity who presides over love and fertility as well as war. The birth of the god Apollo is also celebrated on this date.

June 3
The Festival of Cataclysmos is celebrated annually on this date on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The seaside ritual consists of prayers for the souls of the departed, traditional water games, and a sacred dance.
In Japan, a Buddhist ritual for young girls is performed annually on this date, and is dedicated to the goddesses Befana, Bona Dea, Kuan Yin, Rumina, and Surabhi.

June 4
Whitsunday, an annual Christian festival marking the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples, is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter (which normally falls on or near this date). However, like most Christian holidays, Whitsunday was at one time a Pagan fertility festival. It was celebrated in Europe with a “heathen feast” that marked the death of the spirit of Winter and the birth of the spirit of Summer.
According to English folklore, if a baby comes into the world on Whitsunday, he or she is destined to commit an act of murder or to be murdered.

June 5
On this date in the year 8498 B.C., the legendary island-continent of Atlantis sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in a cataclysm believed to have been brought on by the anger of the great god Zeus.
To ensure an abundant harvest, a sacred Corn Dance is held each year at this time at San Ildefonso pueblo in the southwestern United States. It is dedicated to the Earth Mothers and the nature spirits known
as the Rain People.

June 6
On this date (approximately), an annual festival to honor ancestral spirits begins in Nigeria. The festival, which lasts for one week, consists of street dancing, offerings of food and gifts to the Egungun, and ecstatic trance.
In Thrace, an ancient country in the southeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, a festival called the Bendidia was held each year on this date. It was dedicated to the lunar goddess Bendi.

June 7
The Vestalia, an annual festival in honor of the hearth goddess Vesta, began on this date in ancient Rome. During the eight-day long festival, the shrine of Vesta was opened to married women. After the festival was over, the shrine was once again forbidden to all except the goddess’ attendant vestal virgins.

June 8
In many Japanese villages, an ancient rice festival is held annually on this date. Women wearing traditional kimonos recite prayers and light rice-straw fires to honor the god of the rice and to bless the crops.
In China, the Grain in Ear festival is celebrated at this time. The grain gods are honored with old rituals to ensure a harvest of plenty.

June 9
On this date in 1892, Grace Cook (a popular spiritualist medium and founder of the White Eagle Lodge) was born in London, England. Her first psychic vision of Indian Chief White Eagle and other Native American spirits occurred early in her childhood. With the aid of her spirit guide, she authored many books on healing and spiritual growth. She believed that after her death (which occurred on September 3, 1979), her spirit would be reincarnated in Egypt.

June 10
On this date in the year 1692, a woman named Bridget Bishop was hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem, Massachusetts, after being found guilty of the crime of Witchcraft. She was the first person to be publicly executed in the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

June 11
On this date in 1912, spiritualist-medium Ruth Montgomery was born in Princeton, Indiana. Her interest in the world of the occult began in 1956, when she first began attending seances. She has written numerous bestselling occult books and is famous for her gift of communicating with spirit guides through automatic writing.

June 12

Light gold-colored candles on your altar and wear oak leaves in your hair to honor the Greek god Zeus, who is traditionally honored on this day.
In Korea, rice farmers wash their hair in a stream on this day as part of an annual ritual to dispel bad luck and to ensure an abundant crop. This ritual has taken place since ancient times.

June 13
On this date in the year 1884, Gerald Gardner was born in Lancashire, England. Nicknamed King of the Witches, he went on to become a famous and well-respected Wiccan author and the founder of the Gardnerian tradition of the modern Wicca religion. He died on February 12, 1964.
Irish poet and ceremonial magician William Butler Yeats was also born on this date in the year 1865.

June 14
In ancient Rome, the goddess Minerva (patroness of wisdom and the arts, and a deity of battle) was honored annually on this date at her sacred festival, the Lesser Quinquatrus of Minerva.
In India, this is a day sacred to Jagannath, a benevolent incarnation of the god Vishnu. An annual festival in honor of him is celebrated in the city of Puri on the East Coast of India.

June 15
On this date in the year 1648, Margaret Jones of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was executed in Boston for practicing Witchcraft and magickal healing. This was the first pre-Salem Witch execution to be officially recorded in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

June 16
Silver Chalice Day. Every year on this date, Wiccan friends and coven members gather together in a circle to rejoice and share a traditional silver chalice of wine (or fruit juice) consecrated in the names of the Goddess and Her consort, the Horned God. Many Pagan handfastings and Wiccanings are performed by coven priestesses around this time of the month.
On this date in the year 1881, famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau died in her home in New Orleans, Louisiana.

June 17
An annual purification ritual to drive away the evil spirits of the rainy season takes place on this date in Nara, Japan. Lily stalks are blessed by seven white-robed priestesses, and a traditional dance is performed.
Also on this date, Eurydice (a tree nymph who was transformed into an Underworld goddess after dying from a serpent bite) was honored annually in ancient Greece.

June 18
The annual Dragon Boat-Festival (which at one time was a Pagan summer solstice ritual to appease the dragon gods of the rivers) is celebrated on this date in China in honor of the martyred poet, Qu Yuan.
In ancient Rome, the goddess Anna was honored on this day with an annual religious festival.

June 19
The Feast of the Holy Ghost, a weeklong religious festival, begins annually on this date in Brazil.
In ancient Rome, the Day of All Heras was celebrated annually on this date in honor of the Goddess within as well as all wisewomen.

June 20
On this day, Pagans in parts of England celebrate the Day of Cerridwen in honor of the ancient Celtic goddess of fertility. Vervain (the herb most sacred to Cerridwen) is burned in small cauldron pots as an offering to the goddess, green ribbons are tied to trees, and green candles are lit on altars dedicated to her.

June 21
On the first day of Summer (which normally occurs on or near this date), the Summer Solstice Sabbat is celebrated by Wiccans and Witches throughout the world. Summer Solstice (which is also known as Midsummer, Alban hefin, and Litha) marks the longest day of the year when the Sun is at its zenith. In certain Wiccan traditions, the Summer Solstice symbolizes the end of the reign of the waxing year’s Oak-King, who is now replaced by his successor, the Holly-King of the waning year. (The Holly-King will rule until the Winter Solstice.) It is the ideal time for divinations, healing rituals, and the cutting of divining rods and wands.
On Midsummer Day, the people of ancient Russia worshiped the fertility goddess Kupala. To ensure female fertility and abundant crops, she was honored with bonfires, sacrifices of cockarels, and special wreaths that were cast into the rivers.

June 22
On this date (approximately), the Sun enters the astrological sign of Cancer. Persons born under the sign of the Crab are said to be family and home-oriented, nurturing, sympathetic, and often very moody. Cancer is a water sign and is ruled by the Moon.

June 23
In parts of Ireland and Great Britain, Pagans celebrate an annual festival on this date called the Day of Cu Chulainn. It is dedicated to the legendary Irish folk hero of the same name and to the ancient Pagan fertility god known as the Green Man.
Saint John’s Eve. This night is a traditional time for Witches to gather herbs for spells and love potions, for it is believed that the magickal properties of plants are at their peak on this mystical night.

June 24
On this date, an ancient Egyptian festival known as The Burning of the Lamps is celebrated in Sais,
a city on the Nile delta.
In pre-Christian times, the festival of Fors Fortuna was celebrated annually on this date in the city of Rome to honor and receive favorable blessings from the goddess Fortuana.
A sun-god festival called Inti Raymi was celebrated annually on this date by the ancient Incas of Peru. Llamas were ritually slaughtered and their entrails were used by priests for divining the future.
On this date in the year 1950, Reformed Alexandrian Witch and author Janet Farrar was born in London, England.

June 25
Gay Wiccan Pride Day. This is a time for gay and lesbian Wiccans from around the world to unite and celebrate life, love, and the Goddess. Come out of the proverbial “broom closet” and be proud of who you are!
A centuries-old women’s festival is held in India every year on this date in honor of the goddess Parvati.

June 26
According to ancient Icelandic legend, every year at noon on the date, the tip of the shadow of Mount Scartaris points to the secret entrance of “Centre Earth”, in which dwell giant humanlike creatures and prehistoric monsters.
Salavi, the Spruce Tree Rain God, is honored annually on this day by a Native American corn-ripening ceremony. This day is also sacred to the Corn Mothers and the Kachinis.

June 27
A centuries old Native American Sun Dance ritual is performed annually on this date by many Plains Indian tribes in honor of the Summer Sun. As part of the ceremony, a sacred crow totem is decorated
with black feathers.
On this date in the year 1956, prolific Wiccan author Scott Cunningham was born in Royal Oak, Michigan.

June 28
Every year on this day, the birth of Hemera (the ancient Greek goddess of day) is celebrated. Festivals in her honor begin at sunrise and last until the setting of the sun.
On this day in the year 1916, Reformed Alexandrian Witch and author Stewart Farrar was born in Highams Park, Essex, England.

June 29
On this date in Appleton, England, the boughs of a large and very old hawthorn tree are decorated with flowers, flags, and ribbons as part of a centuries-old Pagan tree-worship ritual known as Bawming the Thorn.
This is a sacred day to Papa Legba, a powerful loa in the Voodoo religion. Originally a Dahomean sun god, Papa Legba is worshipped as the spirit-master of pathways and crossroads, and is the most important deity of the Vodoun pantheon.

June 30
Day of Aestas. The ancient Roman corn-goddess of Summer is honored each year on this sacred day. Corn bread is traditionally served at Wiccan gatherings.
This day is sacred to the Pagan and Native American goddesses Ceres, Changing Woman, Chicomecoatl, the Corn Mothers, Demeter, Gaia, Ge, Hestia, Iatiku, Oraea, Pachamama, Spider Woman, and Tonantzin.

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Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

June, 2011

Raising Wiccans

It is my belief that children need to be taught spirituality and which path is taught is generally the path that the parents follow. If you follow a Wiccan path then teaching Wicca to your children is appropriate, if you follow a Christian path then teaching your children Christianity is appropriate. Does this mean that other religions or spiritual paths should be ignored? No. What it means is – you raise your children with the idea that there is a Divine Source from which all things flow; that there is something that connects all living beings. As that child matures you may then open the door to other paths so that the adolescent can experience other forms of spirituality and choose his path for himself. Children should understand that there are religions and spiritual paths that are different from theirs however, I believe that they first need to understand what their family believes. It is easy for them to become confused when there is a large amount of information being given to them.

So what is the role of children in a pagan family? Are they obedient slaves? Are they “seen and not heard”? Do they keep their opinions to themselves? Do they respect authority without question? And as pagans if we “spare the rod do we spoil the child”?

One of my Wiccan tenets state that “The Divine is connected to and is part of all living things and all life is sacred.” This means that every living, breathing thing has within itself Divine Energy. Me. You. And our children. With this in mind, I realize that all living beings deserve the same respect that I would give directly to the God and Goddess (The Divine); Gaia (Mother Earth), pets, friends, co-workers, neighbors and all other humans (strangers included) and most certainly my children – that which is of my own flesh and blood.

So I see nothing wrong in asking my child if they would like to go on a family vacation and where is it they would like to go. I see nothing inherently wrong with asking if they are okay with Mom or Dad going on a date without them. I think that it is very important for children to feel as if they have a respected opinion on the day to day activities of their family. They are in fact a valued part of it. I don’t view this as asking permission instead I view it as communication. If the child has a negative emotion in connection to what Mom and Dad have planned then this is the opportune time to investigate why that is occurring. It opens the door to healthy relationships within the family. It creates harmony and peace and nurtures love.

Now please understand that I am by no means advocating that children need no guidance. I am a parent of two wonderful, intelligent and compassionate children and comprehend that children need boundaries and guidance in order to feel protected, valued and loved. What I am saying is that they flourish when shown attention and interest. They need to have authority and liberty over some aspects of their lives even if it is only what color underwear they will wear that day. We can learn a lot from our children. They keep us fresh and young. They remind us to be happy and playful.

Will the child who is given such freedom be the child that commits parental abuse when they’re older? Of course not! The child who is shown attention and respect, the child who is valued and love, the child who is taught to respect herself and others because she knows that we are all connected and sacred beings will be the child to lead others to love. That child will be the counselor, the nurse, the mid-wife, the doula, the spiritual leader – the avatar. The child who is pushing their Mother in front of an advancing city bus at eight years old is the one who was hit and “slapped silly” and neglected because Mom had more important things to do then to spend the day with her son. That is the child who came home to an empty house every week day and was shipped off to his Father’s house every weekend to play with children he didn’t know. Or perhaps he was the boy who was parked in front of a TV screen or PC monitor whenever he wasn’t in school. He was the neglected. The disrespected. The under valued. She is the child who comes to my home and smiles when I pay her a compliment and asks what book she’s reading or what her favorite subject is in school.

The moral? Children are sacred beings that deserve our respect, attention and love. They chose to be born to us. We should ask them their opinions because they have opinions. We should teach them about value, love and respect by showing them. We should lead by example.

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Avondale, New RPG

June, 2011

Part of a new begining… at AVONDALE!

Avondale is a completely new and innovative concept in original Historically Based Role Playing Games.

Age Range: Adult (17+)

It’s 1901 and the world is entering a new century. It’s a time of rapid growth and expansion; a time of industrialization and commerce — of waves of immigration to the land where “the streets are paved with gold”. The United States has just engaged in it’s first “foreign war” and has suddenly found itself with an unwanted and unwelcome “colonial empire” and comittments to far-away places and peoples. It is a time of transition in which old meets new. TR is in the White House and Queen Victoria is on the throne. Isolation is ending but the United States is still far from being a “global” power.

Avondale is a quintessential small town on the verge of becoming a city. Telephones, electricity, indoor plumbing and automobiles are all “new” and  there are still far more horses and buggies on the streets than cars. Television, radio are still unheard of and the “movies” area mere novelty. The west is still “wild”. There are only 46 states in rhe Union.

The citizens of Aavondale are faced with adapting to a way of life that is strange, new and yet strangely compelling. They stand on the brink with a foot in two very different worlds. Some of the children born in Avondale this year will live to see man walk on the moon — yet remember a time when there was no such thing as an airplane.

The “Victorian Age” is fading and the “new morality” of the early 20th century is coming and coming fast.

If you don’t like the way “history” turned out, come to Avondale and help make the world the way you’d like to see it.

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Gems of the Goddess

June, 2011


Some may think of her as a daemon, and even a fallen angel, but Lilith is far beyond what she is perceived as.  Legend says that Lilith was the first women created, not Eve.  Lilith and Adam were put on earth to reproduce, and when Adam started to take the dominant position during intercourse by being on top, Lilith just wouldn’t have it.  She asked him why he insisted this, and he replied by saying that she was a women.  Lilith became enraged, and argued that since they were created by the same creator, that they were both equals.  When Adam still refused Lilith left the Garden Of Eden, and God created Eve; the perfect submissive wife.  During the time when Adam and Eve created children, Lilith fled to the Red Sea where she met fallen angel Samael.  Together they created rather barbaric children known as “Lilin”, who were seen as demonic figures.  Lilith was also known to seduce men in their sleep to create more children, as God was killing most of them off in punishment for her not returning to the Garden Of Eden.

Another legend says that she was the serpent who tempted Eve to eat the apple, along with the belief that she is the first witch, teaching all of her children small ways of magic.

There is a lot of death and destruction associated with Lilith’s name, but she is also known as the goddess of re-birth and birth itself.  She is seen as more of a darker goddess, because she is very bold and acts upon whatever urges she has, not matter what they are.  But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have helpful urges.  Modern day Lilith helps during childbirth as well as abortions.  She can help with any frightening aspect of ones life, if they are ready for an abrupt and to the point outcome.  She doesn’t hesitate in her decisions, and has a very palpable presence.

Overall, this goddess should not be feared or seen as a hateful being.  She is now able to be seen in a different light.  Many myths and stories are associated with Lilith, that can even become a bit controversial.  One thing for sure is that she is a goddess of extraordinary power and impact on history and the world today.  She certainly lingers in the places no one dares to go, ready to unlock the beauty hidden within, and help us face the tragedy in our lives.


Lilith would encourage you to do what makes you happy.  Try doing something for yourself, or get something done your way for a change.  Most of the people who are highly successful in endeavors, didn’t get there by being sweet all the time.  If you have inner nudging’s, act upon them.

Another way to connect with Lilith is to evoke her spirit into one of your dark moon rituals.  Again, Lilith is very to the point in whatever you ask her help with, so be ready, and don’t fear her.  Maybe she’s not all smiles all the time, but she is wisdom at its finest hour.  If you were to call on her, she is sure to be there.


Owls, dark moon, serpent, tree, wormwood, cinnamon, dark colored candles, lilies

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Astral Travel, Lesson 12

June, 2011

Space Ship

There are several different variations of this same traveling method. Most involve creating your own room/work space/ laboratory. I created this variation because it was easier for me to travel to and work with.

With your eye mask on, get into a meditative state using your preferred method. I think that this one will be easier if you lay down, but of course be in the position that works best for you. Once you are in your meditative state, and you are calm, quiet, and still, a bright light beams down upon you from above. This light is white with blue, red, orange hues. It is warm. You are glad to see this light.

The light covers your entire body and gently pulls you free of your body (practice this as a visualization exercise until it becomes an OBE). You slowly ascend up, up, up feeling safe, loved, and confident.

The light pulls you up through your room, then through your ceiling, up into the dark sky and all the while you know that you are safe and no matter what is going on in your life right now you are truly happy.

The light carries you up into a great spaceship. You immediately feel a sense of familiarity with this ship and you are happy to be there. A door in the floor closes behind you as you remain in the same position you started in. Now look around. The room you are in is very large. It is dark. There is at least one being with you, maybe more (this will change from time to time). They are here to help you. You understand this as soon as you see them. If, however, someone frightens you, simply tell them that you are scared and they will change themselves in a way that no longer frightens you. Sometimes you will be able to see their faces, sometimes you won’t.

For now the walls all appear to be metal. This may change from time to time or as you will it. For now, don’t put too much energy into changing the decorum. Stand up. The beings with you may speak with you, and you with them. Or not. Allow and accept whatever happens because in here you are always safe and happy.

Walk towards the large console. This is where all questions will be answered and all problems will be solved. A gigantic see-through screen is in front of the console. This screen is interactive: you can draw with it, build everything from structures to ideas to scenarios…anything you wish. Use this to problem solve, to use the Law of Attraction, to get answers to questions…the uses are endless. The beings around you will help whenever they can and when ever you ask them to.

Take your time. You can be in this ship for hours and hours. There is no time limit.

When you are finished, give thanks to the ship and to everyone who was there for you. Lay back down and you will be taken home.

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Ask Your Mama

June, 2011

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™


©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Ritual as Service

Dear Mama Donna.

I work with a group here in Cleveland who cook and feed close to 200 men at a homeless shelter every Thursday. It is a big commitment. The shelter is run by the Salvation Army, and the people who run the shelter are open to programming. As we have come to know these men, they are opening to us, and I feel it’s an opportunity to do some spiritual work. It occurred to me that I might start a drumming circle. I wanted to ask if you have ever worked with this particular population. They are really down and out, and I need some ideas about how to approach them and how to structure a circle.

Reaching Out in Ohio

Dear Reaching Out,

Wow! A spirit circle in Cleveland, my hometown. Who’d have thunk?

I actually do have a great deal of experience with populations of disenfranchised, dis-spirited folk. As an urban shaman, I move in all sorts of society and my constituency includes everyone. We are all equals in the eye of spirit.

Over the years I have done drumming circles with drugged and deranged women in a shelter, with very young single homeless mothers and their babies at a half-way house, with HIV-ill women at a treatment center, with inmates at several women’s jails and adolescent detention facilities, with the criminally insane at a state forensic psychiatric center, and dozens of other snake-pit venues for the down and out.

It is my experience that people are pretty much just people. In these special groups there is the same mix of helpful, open, clear, disruptive, hostile, sad, closed, and needy souls as I see in my open-to-anyone circles and celebrations. If you approach the situation as normal, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how normal it will be. Sanity, stability, centeredness is the continuum that we all travel on our journey toward our best selves.

Once I did a May Day/Beltane tree planting ceremony in Loring Lake Park in Minneapolis with a group of students from the College of Art and Design there. As it turned out, this park was a hangout place for intoxicated Native Americans. During our ritual, a bunch of fairly far-gone guys wove over to join us. They were drunk, but not rowdy. They instinctively understood the sanctity of what we were doing and were mightily drawn to be part of our circle.

At one point in the ceremony, one of the men stepped forward. He identified himself as Sioux, then announced, “I have no right to do this” and proceeded to offer a chant. While he was all-too-aware that he was ceremonially unclean and spiritually unprepared for such a righteous task, he also knew enough to realize that somebody had to sing this tree into the ground, and he happened to know the words. It was powerful magic that day: for him as he was tranceformed in grace, for me as an awed witness to true reverence, and for the tree, which I am sure is still thriving.

Another time, I did a big public celebration for the Fall Equinox at Pershing Square in Los Angeles. During the event, the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs came by the park to check on me because he was worried for my safety in this “dangerous” junkie/wino infested plaza.

Of course, it was these very men, drunk and high though they might have been, who actually got involved. They climbed ladders, helped me to hang my peace chants banners, and brought me coffee. And when the police came to arrest me later that day (despite my official status) for Inciting Littering (of all things) it was these same outcast men who tried to protect me.

After hundreds of similar situations, I have come to understand that if you enter a ritual situation with an open heart, people will recognize your sincerity and share themselves in return. Don’t worry. Your drum circles will be great. And you are dear for doing them.

Great good luck to you. This is a grand project.

xxMama Donna

Dear Mama Donna,

Thanks so much for your response. I want to work with these people in a spiritual way, and hope to start a small circle in the upcoming months. I think your point of treating the men in this shelter as normal is a good one. I have no fear, and believe some soul-level support and treatment is greatly needed. For about six years, I worked at Rosary Hall, a treatment center here. I learned that there is a yearning for something more in all of us, and I saw that the spiritual program was the strongest part of recovery. I’ll keep you posted, and again thanks for your feedback.

Peace and love,

Reaching Out

Dear Reaching,

May you drum up a beat of connection, a rhythm of pleasure and joy, a sacred circle of support.

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at [email protected]


Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.





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