The Devil in Serbian Folklore

“The Devil is not so black as he is painted.” (16th-century French proverb)

This past Monday, January 20, my parents and I celebrated the highlight of the year in terms of Serbian Orthodox religious festivals: the slava, or feast day, of our family’s patron saint, John the Baptist. It’s a day when many ritual protocols have to be observed to ensure blessings on the family in the year ahead. This feast day is the third out of a three-day series where the focus is on the literal and spiritual washing away of winter’s miasma/spiritual impurity from people and their homes. Not surprisingly, blessed water plays an integral role in each day of the festival; the customs clearly attest to pre-Christian origins.

Continue reading

Break Down, Break Through: The Astrology of January 2020

It’s not difficult to see the effects of this month’s heavy-hitting, powerfully transformative planetary transits and aspects given the alarming global news headlines. Australia’s incineration and the death of half a billion animal species so far. The build up of war between the US and Iran and the threat of a much larger conflagration in the wake of the drone missile assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Great Britain’s Brexit mess. Ongoing anti-authoritarian / mainland Chinese government protests in Hong Kong.

It’s a jarring time and it can certainly fill one with a sense of acute anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. It’s as if we’re living out the horrors of W.B. Yeats’ nightmare chillingly depicted in his 1919 poem, “The Second Coming”:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.   (lines 3-8)

Much of the chaos and confusion stems from the anticipated exact conjunction, slated for January 12, between structure-, law-, governmental-authority-oriented Saturn and Underworld-rooted, power-conscious, death-and-rebirth preoccupied Pluto. This conjunction is certainly a show-stopper on its own, but there’s actually a quadruple conjunction of planets in Capricorn happening on January 12, two days after a Cancer full moon eclipse! The scope of our narrative broadens. Journey with me into our space-time continuum, won’t you?

Continue reading

My Year-Wheel Tarot Reading for 2020

Happy New Year and may this new decade bring vibrant health, joy, prosperity, and love to us all! Per my time-honored tradition, before commencing my revels last night I sat in silent contemplation, reviewing my notes on the yearly forecast Tarot reading I did for 2019 to gauge my accuracy and then doing my reading for myself for this year.

Continue reading

10 Years in Ifa

Today, 13 December, 2019, which many peoples of (northern) European descent celebrate as St. Lucy’s Day (which I dedicate to the honor of the goddess Hekate as Phosphoros, “Light-Bringer”), marks my exact 10-year anniversary of receiving my Hand of Ifa (the culmination of a three-day initiation ritual) and of being crowned with my Guardian Orisha. Today marks a tremendous milestone in my life.

Continue reading

Happy Navratri: Blessings of Durga-Ma!

This is a holy season for many religious traditions. Last night at sundown, the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah (L’Shanah Tovah to all my Jewish readers and friends!) began, kicking off the period of the High Holy Days that culminate with the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur on the evening of October 8; this new year is the year 5780 in the Hebrew calendar.

Yesterday also began, for the 1 billion+ adherents of Hinduism around the world, the 9-day Festival of the Goddess Durga known as the Navratri. These are among the most auspicious days of the year in the Hindu religion, and while the whole country of India celebrates the Navratri, the festival is celebrated with a particular fervor in the Indian states of West Bengal (home to the Kali-centric city of Kolkata) and Gujarat.

Continue reading

Gede Parma in Chicago for a two-day workshop: “Dancing with Deity—The Art of Sacred Possession”

It isn’t often that celebrated Reclaiming and Feri Tradition Witch, published author, and artist Gede Parma, who also uses the name Fio Aengus Santika, comes to the United States, but when they* do, it’s always a reason to celebrate! I have had the pleasure of sharing heart-centric ritual space in Traditional Witchcraft contexts with Fio during their last two Chicago visits in 2014 and 2017, respectively. They are a highly dynamic ritual facilitator and conductor of spirits. I’ve always left their workshops and delightful time spent socializing feeling elevated and transformed for the better afterwards.

Continue reading

Tomorrow Night’s Highly Hyped Friday the 13th Pisces Full Moon

Let’s talk about tomorrow’s highly hyped Friday the 13th Pisces Full Moon! It will be exact at 11:33 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Like all Pisces lunations, it’s going to pack an emotional wallop and will bring both unique opportunities and inherent challenges not just on its own but in relation to the other planets.
As you can see below, we have a LOT of dynamic activity, as the Moon at 21 degrees Pisces will be conjunct Neptune, Pisces’ ruler, within a 4-degree orbit. This Piscean duo will be opposing the stellium of planets in Earthy Virgo (Mars, the Sun, Venus, and Mercury). At one level, many of us will be highly challenged by not being able to feel grounded. The bigger threat, though, especially for people with a preponderance of Earth Sign planets in their charts, is FALLING PREY TO DELIBERATE DECEPTION FROM OTHERS. This can range from contending with liars and cheaters in interpersonal, especially romantic, relationships to being hoodwinked by misleading language in contracts, etc. DO NOT MAKE ANY MAJOR DECISIONS OVER THE WEEKEND. Pisces likes to cast spells of illusion on the unwary. Keep your BS detectors fine tuned and at the ready!

Continue reading