Song for Sedna, Composed Upon Concluding a Shamanic Journey Before Her Newly Erected Shrine

Here’s my editorial note for this poem: I wrote it immediately upon coming back from a shamanic journey to meet with the goddess Sedna in the Arctic Ocean; I returned to an ordinary state of consciousness and grounded and centered myself with prayers of thanks to my helping spirits and with food. My relationship with the Inuit goddess Sedna began the day before I received word of my-then Archpriestess/mentor’s diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), a horrible, lethal neurological disease that shut down her senses one by one and killed her within 8 weeks of her receiving the diagnosis. Sedna came to me roaring with rage that day, and in the coming weeks I would come to understand why. Again, I’ll be crafting a series of blog posts narrating how the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community banded around our beloved Deena Butta to help mitigate the devastating effects of this disease. Many prayed for Deena to have a complete and total “miracle-cure,” an absolute reversal of CJD. I, however, prayed for Her Highest Good, especially after Deena told me that she wanted to die so she could be reunited with her 22-year-old son Maris, who killed himself not quite two years prior. So much of Sedna’s grief and rage, as I would come to find out, were mirrored in Deena’s state of being in the final weeks of her life. Continue reading

Eulogy for Deena Butta, 6/1/1950-1/27/2013

As much as I love writing for a living and writing for pleasure, the one writing assignment I dread ever doing again is crafting–and delivering–a eulogy. One of the great and terrible milestones of my life that I’m going to have to address with a series of blog posts, so irrevocable and lasting have been the profound spiritual transformations wrought by it, was the death, on January 27, 2013, of my dearest spiritual mentor in Chicago’s Pagan community, Deena Butta. Archpriestess-Hierophant of the Chicago-based Fellowship of Isis Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria, Deena touched the lives of so many people in her public priestessing ministry for over 35 years. Her widower husband, Ray Butta, asked me to write and deliver her eulogy the morning of her funeral, January 31, 2013. As we in the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community gear up for our 21st annual Goddess Festival, a public celebration of the Divine Feminine Deena founded and energetically prepared for every autumn–even leading up to her death–I wanted to honor Deena’s memory and legacy by publishing the eulogy I wrote and delivered at the behest of Ray. As we say in Egyptian Paganism/the Kemetic Reconstructionist path, “What is remembered, lives.” I will always remember and love you, Deena. Continue reading

Kybele Speaks

Marble statues of the goddesses Hekate (left) and Kybele enthroned (right), Roman Empire, 2nd Century C.E. Photo I took in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art

Marble statues of the goddesses Hekate (left) and Kybele enthroned (right), Roman Empire, 2nd Century C.E. Photo I took in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

(thumps drum)

By Wand and Cup, Pentacle and Sword,

O women, hearken unto my word!

You are My tribe of women, are you not?

Are you my Partheniae? Women who belong to themselves?

I thought so.

O My daughters—yes, I am your

I am the black stone that tumbled from the heavens—Kubaba—and fell near the sacred mountaintop

In Anatolia—the land of the Mothers

My deeds were sung by my priestesses—queens and warriors

Solid as the rock that forms my throne

Immovable as the mountain itself Continue reading