June, 2012

Merry Meet & Welcome

June, 2012

Welcome to the June Issue of PaganPages EMagazine! 

This issue is brought to you by: 


This issue is as hot as the weather!! 

We have a new herbal column for you:  The Mugwort Chronicles


Our etsy shop is back up at http://www.etsy.com/shop/paganpagesorg?ref=ss_profile come see the wonderful witchery in stock.


We are currently looking for a columnist interested in reviewing Pagan Sites.  If you are interested email us at [email protected]


Do you know of any good podcasts or apps?  Please share them below in the comments. 


We hope you have a wonderful beginning to the summer, stay cool, and HAPPY READING!!!






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Astrology Report for June 2012

June, 2012

Neptune goes Retrograde in Pisces at 3 degrees


June 3, 2012 6:57 pm EDT

Neptune can be very confusing at times, regardless of the Sign it sits. Conflict and Chaos can be obvious. However, when Neptune goes retrograde, it seems like the fog lifts and we can think more clearly of situations at hand. We can see and understand our immediate circumstances. As a Planet of Clairvoyance in Pisces, we begin to see the Light more clearly. Our instincts become more tuned in. Lifting the fog when retrograde, increases this energy. Enjoy the mystical senses of retrograde Neptune in Pisces. Go with your gut instincts!!


Eclipsed Full Moon in Sagittarius at 14 degrees


June 4, 2012 7:11 am EDT – Native Lore?

A Full Moon in Sagittarius spells optimism for all of us. Emotions ride the wave of the tidal forces of inspiration and enthusiasm. Be ready to go for the gusto and do things that you haven’t yet accomplished. When eclipsed, this Full Moon could mean that you might have to shield yourself against pessimism. An Eclipse of the Full Moon can be extremely powerful, because both the Moon and the Sun are pulling upon the Earth in opposite directions. The Sun in Gemini, bringing power to one’s true self, is opposing the emotional encouragement that a Moon in Sagittarius can bring. The Eclipse tries to enhance that opposition.

The Strawberry Moon yields some of the tastiest fruits this time of year, especially on the Full Moon. Gather them fresh as the dew washes them in the morning. Roses come into full fruition on the Rose Full Moon in June. Take time to smell the roses!!


Retro Venus Conjuncts the Sun (double applying energy) in Gemini at 15 degrees


June 5, 2012 9:15 pm EDT

The Planet of love and devotion joins forces with the Sun this month. When Venus is retrograde, it appears to go backwards in the heavens. Since the Sun never goes retrograde, its movement in the sky continues forward. When retro Venus and the direct Sun collide, it is with a double whammy. The energy involved can be exponential. The love of the Goddess and the astute solar God, become one. Prepare to turn on the charm and have fun!!

This Conjunction marks one of five over a four-year period. Typically, a Conjunction is when two Planets crossover each other from the Earth’s perspective, whether that Conjunction is direct or retrograde. If you were to superimpose those Venus Conjunctions in the sky and view those five points, it would be obvious that you were looking at a five-point star in the heavens. This Pentacle of the Sky has been known for eons by many cultures. See Venus Transits below.


Adhik Mas New Moon in Gemini at 28 degrees


June 19, 2012 11:01 am EDT

Adhik Mas Moons are when the Sun does not transit or travel from one Sign to another within the Lunar New Moon period. Generally speaking from one New Moon to the next, the Sun will transit or travel from one Sign to another. However, every 32 months or so, the Sun remains in the same Sign while the Moon revolves around the Earth. On the average, it takes the Sun 30 days to travel from one Sign to the next – that’s approximately one degree per day. It takes the Moon about 29 days to go around the Earth. There are moments when the Sun enters a Sign and then hours to a day later, there will be a New Moon. The Moon will travel around the Earth within its 29 cycle and then become another New Moon hours to a day before the Sun enters the next Sign. Thus, there will be TWO New Moons within the same Sign. This generally happens when the Earth is on the slower slide around the Sun during the summer months when it is the furthest in its orbital plane of the Sun.

So how does that affect us? Most Astrologers will associate the energy of the Moon to its New Moon energy. When there are 2 New Moons in the same Sign, that energy is doubled. Would you say that you get a second chance with that renewed energy? Sure. You could also conclude that you get to repeat a few things, too. Last Month’s Eclipsed New Moon on May 20th put a spin on things, to say the least.

A New Moon in Gemini can allow emotions to be flexible and adaptable. Emotions can become mentally stimulating as the energy becomes more involved. Don’t waste your time on thinking and analyzing a situation, when you already instinctually know what to do. Go with your first thought and you won’t be disappointed.


Sun enters Cancer at 0 degrees


June 20, 2012 7:15 pm EDT (Litha info)

Bring on the Summer!! Alban Heffyn (Midsummer or Litha) is the Celtic Festival of the Oak. It is the last day for the Oak King to reign. It is usually on the 1st day of summer (June 20th or 21st) or when the Sun enters Cancer. It is the Summer Solstice. It is also known as St John’s Day. Ogmios, Arianrhod, Huon and Math are usually celebrated as the Gods. Celebrations consist of herb hunting (St Johnswort, especially), pickling early vegetables, circle readings and Fairy Hunts. Oak leaves are typical symbols of the season and open-face Green Men hang from walls. Foods sacred to the Sabbat include any fresh fruit, especially strawberries. Now is the time to hunt for mistletoe, so it is easily found at Yule.

The Fairy Realm is quite active at this time, so honor them with milk and honey. Leave simple, shiny gifts for them and they won’t steal your keys or your kids.

The leadership qualities of the Sun reign supreme, but with sensitivity. Find your inner strength thru this energy. Shine on!!


Saturn goes Direct in Libra at 22 degrees


June 25, 2012 1:06 am EDT

Finally, self-discipline finds balance. As hectic as life has been, now is a good time to find balance within your busy schedule. Where the extremes of work have exhausted you, you will notice that your play time has invigorated you as well. Note that if you have made a committment, you must keep your promises. Otherwise, all bets are called off.


Venus goes Direct in Gemini at 7 degrees


June 27, 2012 4:48 am EDT

The Planet of love and devotion stations and goes direct towards the end of the month. Where she was more relaxed and easy going, Venus will now get back on track to her usual beguiling self. Be ready for her love-enticing methods of pleasure and hedonistic ways. Expect a little more pillow talk afterwards while Venus rides the chatty waves of Gemini.


Notable Harmonic Concordance for June 2012

June is a remarkable month for the Harmonic Concordance for the Venus Transit when She joins forces with the Sun. This is significant, for it happens about 6 months before the Mayan Calendar ends and enters its next cycle. This Conjunction opens a portal to this event with Goddess insight and foreplay. Venus marks this spot on the Astrological map all the time. However, this year She crosses the Sun, creating an Eclipse. The Earth, Venus and Sun will be connected and aligned perfectly creating a portal thru space and time. Convergences of Venus can cause turmoil and destruction. Be ready for tsunamis, tidal waves, seismic events, freaky weather and whirlwind adventures of all sorts!!


Venus Transits

“Venus transits” literally means how Venus “travels”. As a Planet, Venus travels around the Sun in an inner circle never going more than 43 degrees away from the Sun from teh Earth’s perspective. And during its transit, it becomes Conjunct with the Sun every 9 months or so – a human gestation period. These points in the heavens are about 72 degrees apart. Every 4 years, it returns to the same point in the sky (direct or retrograde) within 1-2 days and 1-2 degrees. Within that 4 year period it creates a 5-point star in the sky – A Pentacle in the Sky.

Gestation is a result of pro-creation… making love. Venus, as a Planet, rules Love. She is a Goddess of love and “merry-making”, even though she can be hedonistic about it. The cycle of Venus in the sky is quite predicatable. I was thumbing thru the Ephemeris checking it out and sure enough every 9 months, Venus is conjunct the Sun – whether Direct or Retrograde. After 4 years, she returns to the same area of the Chart within 1-2 days and 1-2 degrees. Very predictable, she is… and those points in the sky are retrograding – going backwards in the Zodiac.

So what are the Venus transits of 2012?

There is only one that happens in 2012 – June 5th. It’s the only time Venus is conjunct the Sun in 2012. It’s in Gemini at 15 degress. The energy preceding this moment is significant, because it builds up (applies). In fact, Venus is Retrograde at this time, meaning that the energy is double-applying; the Sun seems to be moving forward to that point in the sky and Venus is going backwards to that point in the sky and it seems like they’re going to crash… Remember that Venus when retrograde means she is between the Earth and Sun, so folks from Earth have the ability to watch the moment of Conjunction – whereas when Direct, Venus is on the other side of the Sun and we can’t see her. Venus tends to cross the Sun in about 6 hours or so.

A double applying has stronger energy than simple applying. Simple applying just means that both Planets are going in same direction; it’s just that one overtakes the other… where double applying means one is retrograde and they seem to crash into one another.

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Ask Your Mama

June, 2012

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 Precipitation

Dear Mama Donna,

It is raining again. For months now it has rained just about every day. The entire Northeast is inundated with more rain than we can possibly deal with. This seems like a curse from above. Any thoughts?

Soaked to the Bone in Syracuse

Dear Soaked,

I know what you mean. This spring has been so incredibly wet. Here in New York City there are mushrooms growing out of the cracks in the sidewalks!

Rain is the vital, vivifying fluid, which flows down from the heavens to recycle and replenish the world’s water stores. To refresh and revitalize the lands and all those species who live upon it. Celestial substance of necessity, rain is absolutely elemental and essential. But it can be quite quirky. You never know with rain. Too much, too little, too late, too soon, too hard, too long. You can’t really depend on it. And yet you have to.

In the best of times, precipitation is seen as beneficent, raining down life-sustaining liquids for our benefit. And then we are grateful, or ought to be. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We are nearly drowning in the stuff. Saturated, soaked, sogged. Completely waterlogged. Rivers rushing down city streets, the drains overflowing. Towns, fields and highways flooded. Dams, bridges, houses and lives swept irrevocably away. And the predicted storms aren’t over yet.

People have long believed that bad weather is some kind of vengeful divine retribution. Punishment for our earthly misbehavior. Certainly in the face of extreme hardship, this is a tempting response, based, perhaps, on guilt. But, of course, weather is weather, a neutral force. Our perception of whether it is good or bad is based solely and myopically on our own immediate inconvenience. Of course, you can’t take these acts of nature personally.

But maybe this rain is truly aimed at us as a lesson about the cause and effect of our selfish, wasteful, polluting ways.

Maybe Mother Earth is engaged in a deep purification ritual, a much needed purging of Her soiled body and profound pain. Picture Her, like any rape victim standing under a pounding shower for hours, days and weeks, trying to wash away the dirt and degradation that we have heaped upon Her so mercilessly.

Or maybe She is weeping, sobbing, down pouring tears of sad disappointment in us, Her errant, arrogant offspring, so rude and disrespectful. After all, just look at what we gave the Poor Old Dear for Mother’s Day in gratitude for all of Her great gifts to us: greenhouse gases, radiation, drilling, missile tests, oil spills and chemical trails.

The word “precipitation,” is related to “precipitate,” which means impulsive, not thinking, impetuous, rash — perfect descriptions of the way we treat the Earth. Makes you think, eh?

Maybe we should take this deluge is a watery warning. A reminder to appreciate the present and prepare for the future. To re-enforce our roofs, buy Wellington boots and build a safe, waterproof ark where we can collect, preserve and protect, two by two, all of our best intentions and human qualities: hope and love, charity and understanding, forgiveness and peace, compassion and reverence for all life.

Best blessings for keeping dry,

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit 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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June, 2012

History of Litha (MidSummer)

Also known as Summer Solstice, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-tide, St. John’s Day

In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four ‘quarter-days’ of the year, and modern Witches call them the four ‘Lesser Sabbats’, or the four ‘Low Holidays’. The Summer Solstice is one of them.

Litha is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependant upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that Summer begins on the day when the Sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. The most common other names for this holiday are the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, and it celebrates the arrival of Summer, when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is now at the highest point before beginning its slide into darkness.

Humanity has been celebrating Litha and the triumph of light since ancient times. On the Wheel of the Year Litha lies directly across from Yule, the shortest day of the calendar year, that cold and dark winter turning when days begin to lengthen and humanity looks wistfully toward warmth, sunlight and growing things. Although Litha and Yule are low holidays or lesser sabats in the ancient parlance, they are celebrated with more revel and merriment than any other day on the wheel except perhaps Samhain (my own favourite). The joyous rituals of Litha celebrate the verdant Earth in high summer, abundance, fertility, and all the riches of Nature in full bloom. This is a madcap time of strong magic and empowerment, traditionally the time for handfasting or weddings and for communication with the spirits of Nature. At Litha, the veils between the worlds are thin; the portals between “the fields we know” and the worlds beyond stand open. This is an excellent time for rites of divination.

Those who celebrated Litha did so wearing garlands or crowns of flowers, and of course, their millinery always included the yellow blossoms of St. John’s Wort. The Litha rites of the ancients were boisterous communal festivities with morris dancing, singing, storytelling, pageantry and feasting taking place by the village bonfire and torch lit processions through the villages after dark. People believed that the Litha fires possessed great power, and that prosperity and protection for oneself and one’s clan could be earned merely by jumping over the Litha bonfire. It was also common for courting couples joined hands and jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage, financial prosperity and many children. Even the charred embers from the Litha bonfire possessed protective powers – they were charms against injury and bad wwweather in harvest time, and embers were commonly placed around fields of grain and orchards to protect the crops and ensure an abundant reaping. Other Litha customs included carrying an ember of the Litha fire home and placing it on one’s hearth and decking one’s home with birch, fennel, St. John’s Wort, orpin, and white lilies for blessing and protection.

The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him. The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

Although Litha may seem at first glance to be a masculine observance and one which focuses on Lugh, the day is also dedicated to the Goddess, and Her flowers are the white blossoms of the elder.


Rededication to the Lord and Lady, beginning of the harvest, honoring the Sun God, honoring the pregnant Godddess

Crowning of the Sun God, death of the Oak King, assumption of the Holly King, end the ordeal of the Green Man

Tools, Symbols & Decorations
The sun, oak, birch & fir branches, sun flowers, lilies, red/maize/yellow or gold flower, love amulets, seashells, summer fruits & flowers, feather/flower door wreath, sun wheel, fire, circles of stone, sun dials and swords/blades, bird feathers, Witches’ ladder.

Blue, green, gold, yellow and red.

Bonfires, processions, all night vigil, singing, feasting, celebrating with others, cutting
divining rods, dowsing rods & wands, herb gathering, handfastings, weddings, Druidic
gathering of mistletoe in oak groves, needfires, leaping between two fires, mistletoe
(without berries, use as a protection amulet), women walking naked through gardens
to ensure continued fertility, enjoying the seasonal fruits & vegetables, honor the
Mother’s fullness, richness and abundance, put garlands of St. John’s Wort placed
over doors/ windows & a sprig in the car for protection.

Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Venus, Aphrodite, Yemaya, Astarte, Freya, Hathor,
Ishtar, all Goddesses of love, passion, beauty and the Sea, and Pregnant,
lusty Goddesses, Green Forest Mother; Great One of the Stars, Goddess of the Wells

Father Sun/Sky, Oak King, Holly King, hur, Gods at peak power and strength.

Animals/Mythical Beings
Wren, robin, horses, cattle, satyrs, faeries, firebird, dragon, thunderbird

Lapis lazuli, diamond, tiger’s eye, all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade

Anise, mugwort, chamomile, rose, wild rose, oak blossoms, lily, cinquefoil, lavender,
fennel, elder, mistletoe, hemp, thyme, larkspur, nettle, wisteria, vervain ( verbena),
St. John’s wort, heartsease, rue, fern, wormwood, pine,heather, yarrow,
oak & holly trees

Heliotrope, saffron, orange, frankincense & myrrh, wisteria, cinnamon, mint, rose, lemon, lavender, sandalwood, pine

Nature spirit/fey communion, planet healing, divination, love & protection magicks.
The battle between Oak King, God of the waxing year & Holly King, God of the waning
year (can be a ritual play), or act out scenes from the Bard’s (an incarnation of Merlin)
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, rededication of faith, rites of inspiration.

Honey, fresh vegetables, lemons, oranges, summer fruits, summer squash,
pumpernickel bread, ale, carrot drinks, mead.

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The Mugwort Chronicles

June, 2012

Adventures with Oregon Grape Root

Last March I was lucky enough to participate in a local two day medicinal plant class which included a day long hike through some lushly forested private land. We spent much of the day learning to identify wild edible and medicinal plants with a special activity planned by our guide: harvesting Oregon Grape root for tincture.


Oregon Grape root (Mahonia spp) grows abundantly here in the Pacific Northwest and can be found not only in forests, but in urban neighborhoods, as well, where it is often used for landscaping. The two most common varieties seen here are Mahonia nervosa or dull Oregon Grape, a shorter variety often found in the forests growing beneath trees, and Mahonia aquifolium or Tall Oregon Grape, usually found in more open areas.


What makes Oregon Grape particularly attractive to herbalists is that its stems and roots contains berberine, the same bright yellow plant alkaloid also found in Goldenthread (Coptis chinensis) and Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), the herb so well known for its antimicrobial properties. Unlike Goldenseal which is listed as an ‘At Risk’ plant by United Plant Savers, Oregon Grape is more abundant and can be substituted for Goldenseal in most herbal formulas.


Our guide led us to an area where there were plentiful numbers of healthy, thriving Oregon Grape plants. Ever-so-carefully we removed the plants, one at a time, from the soggy forest soil, clipping about a two to three inch section of root from each before gently replacing the plant in the earth. After repeating the process several more times, we tidied up the area, leaving the space looking as close to that way we found it as possible. I took a few minute to silently acknowledge the plants’ gifts of medicine, leaving a generous sprinkling of corn meal in gratitude, taken from the small leather pouch which I carry with me on outings for such purposes.


As we returned to the campsite, cold and tired, we huddled around the crackling warmth of the fire pit inside a huge tipi. There we carefully washed and dried the roots, clipping them into thin slices, preparing enough plant material to loosely fill our small jars about ¾ full. We then added 100 proof (50% alcohol) vodka to our jars, filling them to the top, screwed on the lids and gave them a vigorous shake. Our guide suggested that we allow our tinctures to steep for at least two weeks, but if needed, we could use the medicine after several days. I had already decided to steep mine a full six weeks as I do with most of my tinctures, in order to capture the greatest amount of plant constituents.


Several weeks after my wonderful hiking adventure, I was sitting on the floor in my living room when suddenly I felt an intense itching on my shin, so incredibly strong that I could not resist the urge to scratch it to the point of bleeding. I never did see what bit me, but several days later the area, which increased in size to almost two inches in circumference, was very warm, red, hard, swollen and still, incredibly itchy. I rummaged through my herb cabinet, pulling out jars of dried Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Calendula (Calendula officinalis) to make a soothing fomentation[1]. Although the area looked much improved after almost an hour of applying the warm herbal compresses, it was still red, puffy and oozing, obviously requiring something more to help with the infection. As I opened my herb cabinet once more, my eyes fell on the bottle of Oregon Grape root tincture, calling me to pull it off the shelf. As I held the bottle in my hands considering if this was what I needed, I felt the tincture singing to my heart, at first softly, but becoming increasingly stronger, telling me that its medicine was what I truly needed. The experience startled me, as I have never felt anything quite like this before.


I opened the bottle, carefully dropping a small amount of the precious golden liquid onto the wound on my leg. As I capped the jar, I held it to my heart, thanking the Oregon Grape for its medicine, feeling the heart connection between plant and human grow stronger.


The next morning, the bite looked much improved, so I repeated the fomentation process again over several more days ending each treatment with a few drops of the Oregon Grape tincture. Within a week, the area was nearly healed, with all signs of the infection gone.


Oregon Grape root tincture can be used both topically as well as taken internally for infections. It is astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antiseptic and supportive of the immune system.  Its mild laxative effect can help get a sluggish gastrointestinal tract moving. It is also tonic for the liver. The usual dosage for internal use is ¼ to ½ teaspoon up to three times per day (adult dose). Internal use of Goldenseal should be limited to no more than seven consecutive days before repeating, if needed. Internal use should be avoided during pregnancy.


Not only did my experience teach me first hand the powerful healing medicine of Oregon Grape root, but I was also awakened to how plants and plant medicines speak to us, giving us direction to help us heal. I cannot rationally explain how this works. I accepted long ago that there are just some experiences which defy the scientific logic we apply in an attempt to validate them.  I have simply learned to accept that many things just are what they are, with no explanations needed.


If you have never heard of United Plant Savers (UpS), please visit their website:



UpS was founded in 1994 by Rosemary Gladstar and several other herbalists in an effort to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada as well as their native habitat, ensuring a supply of these plants for future generations.


This information is offered for educational purposes and is not intended to take the place of personalized medical care from a trained healthcare professional. The reader assumes all risk when utilizing the above information.



Herbal Brew & Potion Mistress



Copyright© 2012 Louise Harmon

All Rights Reserved

[1] A warm, moist compress using a clean cloth soaked in a strong herbal infusion, applied to the affected area for 20-30 minutes and reapplied, as needed.

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Paranormal Path

June, 2012

Waverly Hills
     A haunting is often brought on by trauma and what place sees more trauma than a hospital?  During the early 1900’s there was an outbreak of the very contagious, tuberculosis, also known as “white death”.  With no cure available at the time, the disease would claim entire families.  One of the highest death rates was in Louisville, Kentucky.  In 1910 a hospital was built on a hill in Jefferson County with hopes of combating the disease.  The hospital quickly became overcrowded, and in 1924 a new structure was started.  Two years later in 1926, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was opened. 
     Though considered very advanced for its time, the hospital still saw many succumb to the disease.  While searching for a cure, patients’ experienced “treatments” that were at times worse than the sickness itself.  It was believed at the time that rest and fresh air were the best cures.  Patients would be placed outside regardless of the weather.  They even tried exposing a patient’s lungs to ultraviolet light to try and stop bacteria from growing. 
     The many patients’ that did not survive would be sent down the “body chute”, this tunnel for the dead bodies led from the hospital to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill.  The bodies were lowered using a motorized cable and rail system in secret to waiting trains.  The hospital staff knew it would be too traumatic for the surviving patients to see just how many were dying from this disease.
     Soon tuberculosis began to decline by the late 1930’s and by 1946 new medications began to get the disease under control. Waverly Hills was closed in 1961 and was reopened as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanatorium.  However the patients in the old age home were mistreated and many ailments were treated with electroshock therapy.  Budget cuts led to horrible conditions, this combined with patient mistreatment led to the facility closing for good in 1982.
     Considering the rich history, illness, trauma and death, it really is understandable why Waverly Hills is considered to be one of the most haunted locations in the U.S.  Though the patients and staff are physically long gone, many spirits seem to have remained.  A man in a white coat can be seen on occasion, he walks to the kitchen and the smell of fresh baked bread is apparent, though anyone looking at the kitchen can easily see a forgotten dilapidated, room where no one has cooked anything in for decades.
     Room 502 is one of the most infamous.  In 1928 the head nurse of the room was found dead.  She had hung herself from a light fixture.  There was a theory that she was pregnant out of wedlock and couldn’t handle her depression.  A few years later in 1932 another nurse for the same room fell to her death from the roof patio.  There has been speculation that she was actually pushed by an unseen force.  Paranormal investigators that have visited this room have encountered shadows, and a voice that warns to ‘get out”. 
     On the third floor there is the spirit of a little girl named Mary.  She is believed to enjoy playing with a ball that will roll across the floor or down the stairs.  She is reported to appear and continually repeats that she has no eyes.  Mary is just one of the many full bodied apparitions to be seen.   Dr’s, nurses, and patients can still be seen, voices and strange noises can be heard down the “body chute”.  There is also a distraught spirit believed to be a former patient that can be seen running and screaming for help, her wrists bleeding.  Perhaps one of the most disturbing stories is that of the “Creeper”, a spirit that crawls from room to room, sometimes along the walls or ceilings. This particular spirit is said to feel very dark and non human. 
     Waverly Hills is currently open for tours and is in the process of being restored.  Some feel this may add to the paranormal activity.  Spirits seem to be stirred whenever construction is taking place.  Tour info and the restoration process can be viewed on the website http://www.therealwaverlyhills.com
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Perspectives on the Male Divine

June, 2012

Child of the Sun



In the Northern Hemisphere, the temperature is rising.  As the days become warmer, many of us begin to revert to the practices of the ancients.  We once again become sun-worshippers.  We lather pleasant smelling lotions on our skins and offer ourselves up to the Sun God.  We bask in His glory and offer Him outrageous acts of worship (waterskiing, anyone?).  As our skin begins to darken, we come to resemble desert peoples so, I offer one of the desert’s greatest Sun Gods, Horus.

Background and History

The history of Horus, the Great Falcon, is jumbled to say the least.  The name we call him today, Horus, comes from the Greek language.  He was called Hor, Heru, or Har in ancient Egypt.  Horus began as a war and sky god.  He originally was seen as the son of Ra, however, later became the son of Isis and Osiris.[1]  The author has been unable to locate any source that explains why this happened.  What is known, is that there were several falcon gods throughout Egypt, and it appears that they all were eventually syncretized into one God with at least 15 different paths.[2]

Variations of Horus

Harsiesis:               Perhaps the path most familiar to most.  Son of Isis and Osiris.  Depicted as an infant under the protection of his mother.  Isis protects Horus from his uncle Set.  Worshippers ask Harsiesis to plead with Isis for their protection.[3]

Harpokrates:        Another familiar form, this Horus is depicted as an infant suckling Isis’ breast.  Harpokrates wears a royal crown with the upright cobra.  He is also seen as a youth with full sidelocks holding a snake in one hand and a scorpion in the other while standing on crocodiles.[4]

Harmakhet:          Physical form is the sphinx or ram-headed sphinx.  Harmakhet is the morning sun and Khephri’s companion.  His is the holder of all knowledge that is secret.[5]

Haroeris:               “Horus the Elder”.  Haroeris is the patron of Upper Egypt, and one of the oldest aspects of Horus.  In this variation, Horus was brother of Osiris and husband of Hathor.  Isis was another of his numerous wives, and bore Haroeris four sons.  Haroeris is seen as the falcon-headed man, and was the conqueror of Set.[6]

General Information

Pharoah was considered Horus’ human counterpart.  Due to this, Horus was believed to favor and protect all pharaohs.  The majority of Egypt’s rulers placed an image of Horus at the top of their palaces.  Only two known pharaohs, Sekhemhib and Khasekhemwy, deviated from this tradition.  Sekhemhib placed Set at the top of his palace, and Khasekhemwy placed both Horus and Set on his.[7]

Symbols:                Bull, hawk/falcon, Sphinx, young men, dutiful sons, Winged Disk, weapons, blacksmiths, iron, the Sun, Pharaoh[8]


[1] Ancient Egypt Online, “Gods of Ancient Egypt:  Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/horus/html>.

[2] Egyptian Myths, “Ancient Egypt:  the Mythology – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.egyptianmyths.net/horus.htm>.

[3] Tour Egypt, “The Gods of Ancient Egypt – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/horus.htm>.

[4] Egyptian Myths, “Ancient Egypt:  the Mythology – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.egyptianmyths.net/horus.htm>.

[5] Tour Egypt, “The Gods of Ancient Egypt – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/horus.htm>.

[6] Egyptian Myths, “Ancient Egypt:  the Mythology – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.egyptianmyths.net/horus.htm>.

[7] Ancient Egypt Online, “Gods of Ancient Egypt:  Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/horus/html>.

[8] Egyptian Myths, “Ancient Egypt:  the Mythology – Horus,” 19 May 2012 <http://www.egyptianmyths.net/horus.htm>.

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June, 2012



Ah, June! Summer at last. The height of energy pulses through everything. Summer Solstice and Father’s Day show up on our calendars. How does our value of Respect fit in with, at the very least, these two occasions?


Let’s look at how respect shows up in our daily lives. It definitely seems to me that respect is an old fashioned notion when I watch the news or just go out into my community. Good grief, were these people raised in a barn? I can hear my grandmother say this very phrase.


Perhaps. As a parent, I hear kids talk back to their parents with no repercussions. I’ve seen a young child of 8 slap and kick their parent with no consequences. In the attempt to show “respect” for their child, they have taught him that they deserve no respect. And this will be taken into the greater world as sanctioned behavior. Look around.


Down here in the South, we have been known, and ridiculed, for our politeness. In the mega city of Atlanta, there is no “south” to be found anymore. We jokingly say it is all the “transplants” to our fair city that has created this void of common courtesy, but it goes far deeper than that. It is, in my humble opinion, the result of lack of respect: respect of our elders, parents, teachers, politicians, and law enforcement to begin with. Granted, in my lifetime I have seen the lack of respectable elders, parents, teachers, law enforcement and politicians.


But blame is not our game. We have the ability, at any given time, to direct our energy for the good. For me, this is the beauty of rituals. In my sacred space, I channel my energy into a positive force. By calling in the ancestors and directions I center my whole being and become a becon. “Focus on what you want to see. Be the change you want to see”. Powerful concepts that require personal responsibility.


We must begin within our own hearts. Respect. Do you treat your body with respect? Nourishing it in healthy ways? Do you move your body to keep it limber? Do you hold thoughts of positive intent and speak with impeccability? Do you try to do your best at any moment? Respect the magnificent being that you are! Once we get in alignment within ourselves, we naturally take it out into the world. With the deep respect we have for Mother Earth, let us not forget to respect each other.


We are powerful beings. Like the sun at solstice, we radiate to and through everyone we meet. And that, in turn, passes the energy on to whomever they meet. Radiant beings of Light and Love. Connected to all of life on this beautiful planet. Pulsing with life with every breeze, heartbeat and raindrop.

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Musings From the Mossy Trail

June, 2012

Yarrow: For Health, Love and Wisdom

To bring to me my true loves’ name

To heal my wounds and ease my pain

For courage and protection spells

Divining rights at ancient wells

For all this favor I beseech,

Tis’ yarrow’s powers that I seek


Yarrow, a perennial herb, has lovely fernlike foliage containing soft wisps of hair- type follicles. It flowers from mid-summer to autumn, displaying clusters of white, yellow, lilac or deep burgundy petals resembling tiny daisies.

A prolific plant, yarrow has the ability to spread underground shoots as well as seed itself, often leaving some gardeners to consider it a weed. If one is willing to spend a little time controlling its spread, when planted in conjunction with other herbs, yarrow actually increases the essential oil content of those herbs, while enhancing their growth and health in general.


History –

Having discovered fossils of yarrow pollen along with other herbs in Neanderthal burial caves, Archeologists have linked yarrow with the human race some 60,000 years ago. From ancient Roman wars to the American Civil war, yarrow is documented as having been used in healing wounds and preventing inflammation.  In first century A.D, the Greek Physician Dioscorides smeared yarrow on ulcers to prevent inflammation.  Herbalist John Gerard (1545 – 1611), recommended it for “swelling of those secret parts”, and Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century British herbalist, used it for healing wounds, inflammation and bleeding. Yarrow was prescribed often enough to be included in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1836 – 1882, and was still in the Pharmacopoeias of Austria, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland in 1982.


Harvest and Uses –

It is best to harvest yarrow early in the day after the dew has dried. Gather stems when flower heads have just opened and are in full bloom and then hang upside down to dry. Once dried, the flower heads can be added to sachets for love, courage, communication and psychic ability among many other things.


  1. Medical


  • Yarrow tea is excellent to treat a cold and cleanse the urinary system. It can be made by using one ounce of dried leaves to one pint of boiling water


  • It is also said that drinking yarrow tea can remedy the blues and restlessness, especially during menopause


  • Fresh leaves can be chewed to relieve toothaches.
  • In India, yarrow was put into medicated steam baths for fever; and the Chippewa used it very similarly for headache
  1. Cosmetics
  • Yarrow is wonderful when used for cleansing and as an astringent. Use 1 cup dried flower heads to two cups boiling water. Let steep 10 minutes covered. Pat onto the skin with a clean cloth.


  1. Divination


  • The ancient forecasting of the Chinese I Ching was originally performed using yarrow stems


  • Yarrow tea (see recipe above) can also be drunk prior to divination, and to help the mind focus on a specific issue or to avoid distractions


  • Rubbing your eyelids with yarrow is said to enhance your psychic abilities


  • Yarrow can be used in incense or oil to cleanse the aura and for divination, as it is very useful for psychic communication


  1. Magical Lore
  • Placed under a doormat, yarrow can deter unwanted callers
  • When strewn across a threshold, it will keep out evil and protect against hexes
  • Hang a bunch of yarrow over the bed on the wedding night to ensure lasting love for seven years.  Adding it to the bouquet or garlands worn by the bride or groom has the same effect.
  • Saxons packed yarrow into their amulets for protection against all manner of ills


  • Yarrow has long been associated with witches, hence sometimes called Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s plaything and bad man’s plaything


  • When sewn up into pillows, it will give the dreamer a vision of their true love


  • Make leaves into a smudge stick to cleanse negativity from your home


  1. Spells


  • Wish Spell – The very first blooming yarrow you see is magical. Hold the bloom in one hand and make a wish. That night sleep with the plant beneath your pillow.


  • Fertility Spell – Basil boughs over the bed are a Middle Eastern recommendation to promote fertility. European magical tradition suggests hanging boughs of fresh yarrow over the bed to enhance romance, sex and conception. Hedge your bets by weaving garlands of both basil and yarrow, and hang them over your bed. A really super charged version adds mistletoe and mugwort too


  • Happy Home Spell – Decorate your home with boughs of fresh yarrow to banish sadness and negativity


  • Infants Protection Spell – Tie yarrow to the baby crib to protect from fairies, malevolent magic and negative spirits


  • Bridal Bouquet Spell – Incorporate yarrow into a bridal bouquet for 7 years of happiness


  • Courage spell – Hold yarrow stalk in both hands and focus on your goals and desires to magically stimulate courage and relieve fear


May the gifts of yarrow serve you well in your Summer Solstice celebrations and beyond. Happy Summer!

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Pagan Theology

June, 2012

Growing Up


What do we want to be when we grow up?


That is a very loaded question.  First, it assumes that any of us want to grow up, and, frankly, I have not met a lot of Pagans that think growing up in the traditional sense is a good thing.  Having rules, being serious, acting deliberately, and losing your sense of wonder at the world are all generally accepted parts of what it means to “grow up” in our society.  Unfortunately they are pretty much diametrically opposed to the polytheistic, fun-loving, world-embracing, and spontaneous Pagan movement.  Second, its worth commenting on the individual pieces of the sentence.  “We” as used in the question is simply a rhetorical device.  There is no “we” in any realistic sense in the modern Pagan movement.  There are “many” groups and individuals who practice Paganism, but it’s hard to say there is a “we.”  And what do I mean by “grow up”?  Becoming serious, pinch-faced, killjoys who fuss at anyone who doesn’t believe what they do?  Accumulate worldly power?  Build big temples?  I’m not exactly sure what “growing up” would entail.


However I do think the question is a legitimate one.  Not in its implication that we need to become more adult-like, we don’t, but rather in its’ questioning where we are going.  What would an acceptable future look like for modern Paganism?  Now that we are many, and we are, and we have a lot of activities going on, what do we do now?   Where are we going with all this?


Now I am not someone either qualified or “authorized” [1] to really discuss the future of modern Paganism.  I will gladly leave that to people who have devoted a much greater percentage of their lives to the project of modern Paganism than I have.  However I think it might be helpful to at least think a little about the options.


There are several ways to examine the future of any organization or movement, including Paganism.   You can look at the various phases of maturity in the organization, from inception, to organization and consolidation, to entrenchment and institutionalization.  You can also look at various scenarios in order to identify what some of the key variables are that will influence the future [2].   Or you can look at the broader trends in society and ask how they will influence the shape of the organization in the future.


Paganism as a movement is still in the broad and unstructured second phase of its growth.  It has moved beyond the initial stages of its founding, one key indicator of that is that many of the founders of modern Paganism (Gardner, Fortune, Crowley, Bonewits, etc.) have themselves moved on.  We have established a large number of small institutions, and have a number of self-identified first-generation followers with a smattering of second and third generation followers.  The smaller institutions that we currently have are still vulnerable to fluctuations either in society or in interest, so we still are not at the stage where Paganism has become an embedded social institution [3].


If the question is “where to from here” then some form of scenario analysis might be useful.  At minimum going through the process of a scenario analysis of modern Paganism might be informative for understanding how each of us thinks about the future of the religion.  Of course in it’s fully realized glory a scenario planning process for Paganism would occupy more time than I have and be a longer essay than you would like to read.  So lets just hit the high points.


What are we trying to understand?  The starting point is the most important part of analysis using scenarios, because if you don’t know what you are doing, then you can’t get it done.  For this column the question is:  how might modern Neo-Paganism evolve over the course of the next 20 years?    That seems like a reasonable question, and one we can examine with scenarios.  Of course we would normally ask how we might affect that evolution over time, but that is too complicated for now.


What are the key driving trends that will affect Neo-Paganism over the next 20 years?  Now that is an amazingly good question (if I do say so myself).  Some of them we know: demographics, for example.  America will become more diverse, at the same time that it becomes older.  But demographics is not a variable, it is determined.  At the same time demographics matters a lot for religious traditions Just ask the old-line liberal Christian denominations.  You could argue that Paganism got a lot of momentum coming out of the demographics of the 1960’s and that momentum is what has propelled it to where it is today.


If Paganism grows, by having more individuals come into the faith, then it will evolve.  If it shrinks, then it will most likely remain a small faith that is on the margins compared to the big two or three faiths.  The biggest trend in recent years is the idea of “spiritual but not religious” or “seekers” who examine a large number of different denominations or traditions in their spiritual quests.  Assuming that this trend continues then a larger fraction of those with religious inclinations will also be inclined to be open about alternative religions.  Likewise some fraction of those open individuals will be inclined toward Paganism.  So, if the number of people seeking religious experiences changes in the future, we can likely assume that the number of people entering or leaving Paganism will also change in roughly the same proportion.


This seems like a good first variable:  does Paganism grow or decline over the next 20 years in terms of number of adherents?  While there are many factors that might be involved, it is likely the answer to this question will be decided by how the two primary competing forces of aging and spiritual seeking interact.  There should be an increase in seekers as the population ages, but that may be offset by the possible tendency for people to be conservative in their religious choices as they age [4].


The second variable I’d propose is the diversity of Neo-Paganism.  Currently the diversity of Paganism is quite high, with a lot of different paths and denominations.  It may not even be possible for our faith to become more unified and centralized, and in some cases that is the real attraction of the faith [5].  However we can ask whether the faith will become even more diverse, with an increasing number of small groups dominating our worship, or whether some group such as Circle or Reclaiming, or the Asatru or Druids will “break out” and gather enough momentum and followers to become a noticeable presence.  Should that happen I’d really like to be around to see the expression on all the Fox News anchor’s faces.  Then, of course, we’d all run like hell!


For me that’s the second variable:  how diverse Paganism will be in 20 years.


We can plot these two variables and see what comes of it.  The figure shows my interpretation of the four potential outcomes when diversity and numbers of Pagans are plotted in a 2×2 matrix.  On the one side we have a decreasing number of Pagans.  In that case an increase in diversity would be like now, only more so.  Here the number of leaders would be more than sufficient for the number of followers, and the cacophony of voices would tend to ensure that no one “spokesperson” emerged.  Less diversity would imply that Paganism stabilized as a small faith, with one or two groups emerging with sufficient clout to consolidate the faith under their banner.   Here a small, professional, clergy might be possible, particularly if the current model of book-writing and speaking/presentations carried over.


On the other side we have a growing number of Pagans.  Here an increase in diversity would likely lead to an insufficient number of leaders where compared to the demand.  A continuation of lay leadership would be likely as no one group would garner enough followers to have a professional clergy.  These lay leaders would be taxed.  It is also likely that the sheer number of different paths would eventually intermingle with the New Age and other alternative religious movements, as is sometimes the case now.  This “thousand flowers” future would look a lot like now, only on steroids.  How much clout this growing movement would have in the world would likely be determined by factors other than religion, such as how much collective social action they would engage in through various other groups.

The final future is one of a growing faith but with a few traditions consolidating the movement into a well-defined path.  Just like today with Christianity, there might be a number of lay-led denominations or other groups, but most of the funding, people, and activity would be in the larger groups.  Here a professional clergy would be likely, along with temples and a national governing body to support it.  Inevitably this would lead to a more doctrinaire, and judgmental, approach to Paganism, simply because those attributes are more common in the larger society than they currently are in Paganism.  In other words, the bigger you get the more like everyone else you will look because everyone else will now be in your temple instead of their church.


But the details of these scenarios are not my main point (surprise!).  My point is that we can use a structured way to think through what the future might hold for Paganism, and can have some interesting results.


So, what are the key variables for you?  What do you think are the uncertainties in your group, or modern Paganism?  How do they fit together for you?  What would the 2×2 matrix for your group or coven, or Neo-Paganism writ large, look for you?


While I am not “authorized” to speculate on the future of Paganism, we all, ultimately, are “required” to come up with one.  For me it would be better to kind of know where we’re going, and what we might encounter, than to sail blindly into the future in the hope that some new people will come along and sustain our faith.  Because when they did that 2000 years ago the people who came along were followers of Christ, and it didn’t quite work out so well for the Old Gods.


[1]  It’s an essay in itself to go into the governance structure of modern Paganism.  As far as I can tell there exist large organizations that drive a lot of the political and spiritual agenda of modern American Paganism, primarily the Covenant of the Goddess, Reclaiming, and Selena Fox’s Circle Sanctuary (to include the affiliated Lady Liberty League).  At the next tier down are large denominational organizations that bring together a lot of groups, but don’t seem to have as widespread a “popular” voice in the media and society, the Druids, Asatru, and the larger networks of covens.  However none of these groups speaks for the all, and the progress that large “intrafaith” groups have had is reflected in the difficulty I have in finding any that have persisted.

[2]  This approach is encoded in the scenario planning process as developed by Shell Oil Company in the 1970’s though it dates back further in the National Security Community.  Essentially this type of planning involves deciding what the driving variables are, and coming up with a matrix of scenarios that examine what might happen depending on the values of those variables.  So, for example, if one variable is “climate” and the other is “technology” then you could have a wet or dry world, or a high or low-tech world.  A wet, low-tech, world would be heavily agrarian with minimal future development of technology, particularly energy technology.  A hot, high-tech world might be a word where geoengineering and genetic crops were well developed but climate change had gotten the best of us.

[3]  Even groups with a huge amount of social capital and that are deeply embedded in social tradition can still be vulnerable to medium and long-term fluctuations in social fashion and interest.  For example, look at the various social clubs that grew up in the 19th and early 20th century like the Moose or Elks.  Most have dwindled to a small fraction of their original membership, and many have disappeared more or less completely despite being very heavily subscribed early in the century.

[4]  I have no idea if this is true, but it sounds possible (science!).  We do know that people become more conservative as they age, which would imply that their taste in religion might also become more conservative.

[5]  I fear I have always been an outlier, I’m attracted to Paganism because I believe, not because I have a problem with religious activity.  Thus I have no problem with a Paganism that looks, acts, and smells like the Catholic Church (as long at the crucified guy is gone), which is exactly what Paganism looked like for the thousands of years before the Christians did a number on us.   Back in the day it was the Olympic Athletes who were honored in Pagan temples, not whoever at the time was the equivalent of Filk singers and Quiddich players.  But I fully understand and really do appreciate the other side of the argument, that a hierarchical structure is oppressive and results in the jocks beating up on those of us who find our way to Paganism because we don’t fit anywhere else.  I certainly fit in the latter category along with most of the rest of us.

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