Blessings bright on this beautiful, summery (here in Chicago, we’re looking at bright sunshine and temps in the mid-80s again!) Beltane and Eastern Orthodox Easter Sunday! As my friend Szmeralda observed, “You’ve got double the magic!” in my household as dual-faith observances, begun on Friday, continue.
One of the central tenets of Traditional Witchcraft, in distinction to Wicca, is an emphasis on bioregionalism: leveraging the energy currents of the climate and seasonal changes that are specific to your area at a given time of year instead of relying upon a fixed system of seasonal rites, which may not reflect the conditions of your bioregion at all (Kelden 141-142). In my current climate and my specific locale (Chicago), the seasonal shift to Spring began pretty much at the month’s outset. Thus, I’m not waiting for the arbitrary date of the Spring Equinox to honor the Goddess Who, in Serbian culture, represents the new life and renewal associated with the concepts of dawn, reemerging/blossoming vegetation, clear skies, and fertility (of people, domesticated animals, and wild animals) that we associate with the season of Spring: Vesna.
As far as Sabbat celebrations go, Imbolc was always one of my favorites (I love liminal markers in the shift between seasons, especially between winter and spring), but the Imbolc of exactly one year ago, 2020, will forever be cherished in my heart as the most spiritually poignant one I’ve ever experienced. I had a moment of profound epiphany that any contemporary Polytheist, of any tradition, would recognize the same way I had: a moment of instantaneous transformation wrought from an encounter with an earthly avatar of a very Living Deity, a vibrant Holy Power Who will always command my reverence and devotion even though the Gods of the Celts have, largely, remained elusive to me despite my many attempts at reaching out to know Them. I know in my heart that in the second floor hospital room of Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois, an avatar of Brigid knocked on the door and asked to be let in to comfort my suffering mom. And she came on Imbolc Day: February 2, 2020.
I’m so thrilled to have the awesome folks at Chicago’s own Irish-American Heritage Center pass along this how-to video on weaving a Brigid’s Cross from newly harvested reeds. Blessed Imbolc!
Hail, Brigid, Triple Goddess of Poetry, Smithcraft, and Healing! May Her Holy Wells and Sacred Flames heal us, inspire us with creative visions, and endow us with courage!
I’m going to state my personal bias up front: This is an astonishing modern grimoire written by a personal friend of mine who is an extraordinarily talented Witch, artist, writer, and devotee of the Goddess Hekate: Jeff Cullen. In 2019, he approached me and announced that he was going to be developing the idea for Liber Khthonia into a book. In addition to consulting me in an editorial capacity to discuss the structure and content of the manuscript (I did copyedit the final draft), Jeff honored me greatly, knowing of my reputation in the Chicago Pagan community as a Priestess of Hekate Khthonia, by asking me to write the book’s Foreword! I was thrilled to do so and saw the entire undertaking of the publication of Liber Khthonia as fulfilling a vital need among the Goddess’ ever-growing number of devotees worldwide who have been yearning for just such a book to deepen what can only be called a devotionally anchored Hekatean Tradition of Witchcraft. The book, hot off the presses, is now available in a handsome hardcover edition that truly belongs on the library shelves of every Witch who adores the Queen of Witches!
Tonight is Christmas Eve for the Eastern Orthodox faithful whose churches adhere to the older Julian Calendar of reckoning the liturgical year. For my Serbian parents, the Advent fast is still being observed on this curiously named Badnjak Veće (the Night of the Oak Yule Log), and while there’s a sense of anticipation for the Nativity feast, tonight marks one more night of deprivation and meditation. Similarly, the offerings I am planning to give to La Santa Muerte Verde for tonight’s conclusion of my nine-night public devotional series of prayers to Her (I just know She’s going to love Serbian-style roast pork and our signature alcoholic beverage of heated rakija!) are going to have to wait until the morning light. The items are assembled, but shrouded with a white veil before my main altar to all aspects/robes of La Santísima. It’s a fitting way to contemplate the Mystery of the Bony Lady: Her energies and blessings on Her devotees are omnipresent, but only revealed at the proper time.
La Santa Muerte Verde can be petitioned for matters of justice both personal and collective, from winning a court case or settling other legal disputes to upholding Cosmic Order. In that sense, She is very much on the same frequency as the Egyptian Goddess Ma’at. Matters of social justice in this country that have been brought to the forefront of public consciousness (events from last year in particular) are definitely worthy petitions to bring before the feet of La Santísima. She is ever and always the Champion of the downtrodden and marginalized—those who in some way or another would find themselves drowning in the mainstream without Her aid. Let us pray.
Night time is the right time to literally sing the praises of my beloved La Santísima in my home temple space. With fresh flowers on the altar and jasmine flower incense burning, with a shot glass filled with top-shelf tequila, tasty dark chocolates, and sweet red apples before Her feet, I stand before La Santa Muerte Verde and publicly offer Her this prayer of praise on this, my seventh night of my novena in Her honor.
It’s night 6 in my public novena honoring La Santa Muerte Verde. As I rest and refresh myself, gearing up for the new week ahead, I give thanks and praise to the Bony Lady. Let us pray.
To the Glorious La Santa Muerte Verde, on this fifth night of my novena to Her, publicly thanking Her for granting me victory, I offer the following prayer: