My Experiences at Green Spirit Festival 2017

No matter how dedicated we may be in our service to our Deities and spirits, and the communities in which we live and serve, I find that it’s good to periodically take time out for a spiritual battery recharge. It’s all the better when that experience can be accompanied by a drastic change of scenery, one that squarely situates you in Nature’s nurturing bosom for a few days, allowing you to simultaneously connect with unfamiliar/non-ordinary terrain and with your own inner resources of flexibility/willingness to endure hardships, physical strength and stamina, and the commitment to be fully present in the moment. Those are the reasons why I like camping (in “primitive” conditions) so much, and why I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend this year’s Green Spirit Festival in southwest Wisconsin. Sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, this annual festival affords community celebrants the chance to create an intentional Pagan village for a three-day weekend, attuning to the land and nourishing the body, heart, mind, and spirit with educational workshops, nature walks, communal rituals and home-cooked meals, at least one handfasting, a major mugwort harvest, a concert from Celtic folksinger and comedienne Celia, Tailteann/Highland Games, a candlelit labyrinth meditational walk at night, and joyous socializing with members of your Tribe that you’d be hard pressed to connect with in person at any other time of the year.

This year’s Green Spirit Festival occurred from Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30. It was the spiritual battery recharge experience I was seeking and so much more. It’s taken me a full week to process my experience internally and to integrate its manifold benevolent effects spilling forth, Ace of Cups style, into all aspects of my life, giving me added reason to give profound thanks not just for this Sabbat season of Lughnasàd, but for the Sacred Time of celebrating my Kemetic Gods’ birthdays in that liminal period known as the Epagomenal Days in the ancient Egyptian calendar, that which divides the Old Year from the New.

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Hymn to Hekate

“Hymn to Hekate”

(c) A. Applegate 2017

 

We give greetings to fair Hekate,

Mighty monogenes--sole child of starry Asteria and the Son of Eurybia.

Titaness of the Threefold Realm of Earth, Sea, and Sky,

Revered above all the Ancient Powers by Olympos-dwelling Zeus Himself.

With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice

Hekate Khthonia,

Mistress of the Underworld surrounded by swarms of spirits,

And open the ways to the dreaded realm of Thy majesty,

O Brimo,

That we may claim our rightful power in service to Thee.

 

With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice

Hekate Krataiis,

Strong One of the Wine-Dark Sea,

Who birthed death-dealing Skylla,

And open the ways beneath the waves,

O She-Wolf, O Sea Wolf,

That we may draw into the depths of our being

Unending praise of Thee.

 

With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice

Hekate Soteira,

Queen of Angels, Savior of the World-Soul,

And open our ears to receive Thy counsel in the Music of the Spheres.

Hidden Hekate, fair of face,

Mighty Hekate, Lady of Power,

Lead us through the crossroads at the behest of Thy grace,

In our magical endeavors,

Help our workings to flower.

In heartfelt devotion,

We kneel before Thee,

Goddess Incomparable!

Io, Hekate!

Hekate altar

My Hekate altar is the heart of my temple space. Photo (c) A. Applegate 2017.

Rite of Her Sacred Fires: Annual Global Hekate Devotional Ritual

While many practitioners of alternative spiritualities associate the full moon in May by annually commemorating the Wesak of the Buddha, I choose instead to light fires of welcome for my Patron Deity, the Goddess Hekate. Since 2010, the Covenant of Hekate has issued a global summons of Hekate devotees to participate in its annual Rite of Her Sacred Fires, which always occurs during the full moon in May.  Continue reading

The Autumn Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal Is Now Available!

As the Executive Editor, I’m very pleased to announce that the Autumn issue of Isis-Seshat, the quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis (FOI), is now available! Eighty pages–the longest issue to date–of stunningly beautiful (each issue is printed in full color on 80-lb. high-gloss paper stock) and theologically provocative essays, poetry, prayers, and original artwork from Polytheists (Kemetic devotees and others), Pagans, international FOI clergy, and U.S.-based artists delve into the subject of navigating “Dark Nights of the Soul.”   Continue reading

The Heart of Anatolia: Folk Dancing at the Annual Turkish Festival in Chicago

What a lovely way to spend one’s lunch break in The Chi, especially with this welcome return of hot summer weather! Chicago’s annual Turkish Festival is underway and lasts through Saturday, September 6. Daley Plaza is transformed into a cultural showcase of the best of Anatolia, from tasty foods to bazaars filled with handmade crafts from Turkey. I loved seeing the dancers: the 5-minute video footage I took from my iPhone camera came out really well; I published it on YouTube.

The dancers are lovely, their costumes exquisite, and I like that I have co-ed footage as well as men’s-only and women’s-only dances. Watching the choreography of the women’s dance gave me delightful goosebumps. I instantly thought of the Goddesses Kybele and Hekate. Fittingly, as I meandered around the bazaar afterwards, I found and wound up purchasing a ceramic pomegranate vase. It’s going on my Hekate shrine when I get home from work! In the meantime, enjoy the dance footage!

A Fiery Start to Wep Ronpet

“Sekhmet the Healer” stained glass by Chicago artist Thom Lausch, now hanging in my living room’s east-facing window. This gorgeous piece was my birthday gift from a dear friend who also happens to be the Executive Director of the Life Force Arts Center of Chicago, where Mr. Lausch often exhibits (and sells) his work. This is my photo; please do not use it without my permission.

If any of my coworkers happen to be reading this, they’ll learn in advance that I plan on calling in a sick day for work tomorrow, as my kidneys are in extraordinary pain. The infection I was diagnosed with last Monday has only worsened with the antibiotics regimen I commenced that day. I was hardly experiencing any pain when I saw my primary care doctor; by the following morning, a dull thud in the middle of my back morphed into a screaming, burning pain that’s only gotten worse in the course of the week.

When I’m in the midst of ritual activity, my body takes a back seat to corporeality, if that makes any sense; instead, an involuntary process of readying myself to be a fitting receptacle for engaging Powers and spirits overrides whatever biological processes I might otherwise find to be more pressing concerns (e.g., hunger, fatigue, having to relieve my bladder, etc.). Given that all last week had me in rounds of devotional rituals during the Epagomenal Days, I dismissed my kidney pain and the regimented schedule of antibiotics and other meds as inconveniences to be dealt with at a later time.

The night of July 31 witnessed the most frenzied activity and invoked many a fiery correspondence: the Blue Moon would  wind up overseeing my participation in the Polytheist Day of Protest Against Daesh, wherein I unleashed a doozy of a curse with the aid of a variety of Deities I invoked from the Fertile Crescent as well as Egypt and Greece—Nebet-Het (whose birthday was celebrated in the fifth and final Epagomenal Day; She is also my Patroness), Sekhmet, Set, and the Triple Hekate I honor at both the night of Dark of the Moon as well as Full Moon: Hekate Khthonia, Hekate Brimo, and Hekate Phosphoros. The vessel for my curse was my workhorse of a massive cast iron cauldron and the roaring fire it contained; the fire was comprised of a base of rubbing alcohol (91%) and epsom salts, to which I added my own urine, cactus quills from Texas, asfoetida, and powdered ague root and leaves. Continue reading