Editorial Note: This is a speech I gave a few years ago at TheosoFEST, an annual esoteric festival held on the grounds of the North American headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Wheaton, Illinois. Continue reading
This past Saturday at World Tree Healing, I led a workshop on “Loving and Serving ‘Dark’ Deities.” It was a well-attended workshop and for the first hour, I engaged the participants in a series of discussions based on the following prompts:
- How has staving off criticism from mainstream religions made Paganism afraid of its own shadows?
- How do you help outsiders to your tradition distinguish between “darkness” and “evil”?
- Has anyone ever had an experience of invoking Dark Deities in a group ritual context and then been castigated for invoking Them?
- How is the function of the Trickster valuable to a society? Who is devoted to Trickster Gods?
- In his Manifesto for his powerful Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey has declared: “We call an end to the pretense of respectability.” What are your thoughts on this? What do Pagans lose by attempting to claw their way to the interfaith table, begging for scraps of acceptance from Abrahamic religions?
It was a great discussion that appeared to make two people with Abrahamic allegiances very uncomfortable, so they left after I had announced that we’d be taking a short break before our ritual to Nephthys would begin. Good riddance, I thought. I certainly didn’t want the miasma, or spiritual pollution, of their presences to spill over into my devotional ritual to my Patron Deity. The major risk of hosting a public Pagan ritual is that you never know what kind of people may show up, especially folks with overtly hostile ideologies (read: patriarchal monotheists) who attend solely to destabilize the gathering, which is why I absolutely favor doing private ceremonies in the company of fellow devotees I can vouch for.
Note: A former coven mate of mine shared this with me–hence the British spelling and the Gardnerian references to scourging and the like. I cannot speak to this work’s true origins.
Mark your calendars, Chi-Town readers! My next Polytheist-centric workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical resource center in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood will take place on Saturday, April 15 (the day Venus goes Direct!), from 5 to 7 p.m. Behold, my glorious marketing copy: Continue reading
Isis-Seshat journal is the quarterly publication of the Fellowship of Isis, a worldwide religious community that celebrates the 41st anniversary of its founding this spring. I’m pleased to commence my third year of serving as its Executive Editor, a position I inherited from my late Archpriestess here in Chicago, the Rt. Rev. Deena Butta. I’m happy to announce that the Spring issue is now available as a PDF. Continue reading
Signal boost: Calling all Kemetic polytheists! Egyptologist Tamara L. Siuda, a personal friend of mine and fellow priestess in the Fellowship of Isis, has 6 days remaining in her Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of The Perpetual Planner, an ancient Egyptian calendar companion to her 2012 publication of The Ancient Egyptian Daybook.
Please consider helping fund her campaign before time runs out; if she doesn’t meet her goals, the project will be kibboshed.
This past Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on ancient Egyptian magic at World Tree Healing bookstore and metaphysical resource center here in Chicago. Called “Hands-On Heka,” the workshop I devised featured an overview on the three types of magic, as I classify them, that we know that ancient Egyptians of all social strata practiced: funerary magic, ritual magic, and everyday (sometimes referred to as “crisis-mode”) magic. From this latter category, I devised a devotional ritual to the great goddess Sekhmet, Lady of Power, which featured a historically verified spell meant to reverse the Evil Eye. The spell involved the creation of a papyrus talisman, which we did together as a group based on a hieroglyphic prayer I created to evoke Sekhmet’s aid for spiritual protection. However, there was follow-up work for the ritual participants/workshop attendees to do once they returned to their homes: once activated, the papyrus talisman had to be “put to work” in what is arguably history’s oldest form of the Witch Bottle.