The 22nd Annual FOI Chicago Goddess Convention: Going Forth by Day

You know you’ve been investing a lot of energy in public Pagan rituals when it takes you an entire week to replenish yourself! That’s always a delicate balance to walk: acts of service to your Powers and your city’s spiritual community while ensuring that your own personal reserves of energy don’t get depleted. And when you add the effects of a full moon total lunar eclipse in the mix, it goes without saying that you’re going to be living in what the ancient Chinese proverb refers to as “interesting times”!

Yet it was all well and good last weekend when the 22nd Annual Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Chicago Goddess Convention held sway in the city! The time-honored tradition of FOI clergy and friends/members of the Chicago Pagan community at large and representatives of other groups and traditions/Kemetic devotees/and curious seekers gathering together for a weekend of exchanging ideas, partaking of public ritual, celebrating, and welcoming the energies of transformation is alive and well.

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On Grief and Grieving

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness–
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way.

–Sylvia Plath, “The Moon and the Yew Tree” (1961, lines 17-22)

The more that I think about it, the less I believe what I experienced at 4:52 this morning was the ending of a dream. It was more of a spontaneous shamanic journey, the kind I’d had with disturbing regularity in the first two years of my brother Mark’s death. What I know for certainty was that I was in the Duat, and Sekhmet was next to me. She panted/grunted while scenting the air, Her lioness nuzzle awash in blood. Her pupils were massive, dilated, and gleaming like actual carnelian stones. Torch light either gleamed from behind or radiated from within Her. There was a wall behind us. We stood within a long, dark corridor. I knew unequivocally that Sekhmet protected me fiercely against evil entities that wanted to harm me. She fed on them. I was afraid–not of Her, but of where we were. I wanted out. And no sooner did I think that than did I feel myself being rapidly “plucked” upwards–in sheer nanoseconds. It was a jolting sensation, but I felt myself being pulled up out of the ground–even through my bed’s mattress!–before “crash landing” back into my body. I gasped and thrashed a bit–hitting my fiancé in the process–before sitting up and grabbing my iPhone from my nightstand. 4:52. Continue reading

Announcing the 22nd Annual Fellowship of Isis Goddess Convention in Chicago!

Calling all Kemetic polytheists, Pagans, Tameran Wiccans, ceremonial magicians, FOI members worldwide, devotees of the Neteru of the Two Lands, and friends! All are welcome to the 22nd annual Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Goddess Convention in Chicago! It takes place Saturday, September 26, 2015, at the ManKind Project Building, 1900 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (On-site registration begins at 9 a.m.) Mercifully, parking is free and abundant outside the ManKind Project Building–a rarity in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood! Huzzah!

Sponsored by the members and friends of the Chicago-based FOI Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria Mishigami; and the Iseums of Hathor-Neith-MahaLakshmi and the Rekhet Akhu; and the Dunsmuir, California-based Lyceum of Karnak; as well as by Chicago’s Life Force Arts Center, this year’s Goddess Convention is dedicated to the Great Ennead of Holy Powers. The Main Liturgy to be performed is the Priesthood Alchemical Drama of “Uranus, Coming Forth by Day”–the sixth ritual in the late Lady Olivia Robertson’s FOI clergy publication, Sphinx: Goddess Myths and Mysteries.

It was deliberately selected not only for its themes of redemption and rebirth–ones that are very relevant in a strife-ridden world where many people are coming to consciousness about stepping up their service to their Powers and the planet as the latter continues to undergo great upheavals–but because it is solely oriented towards the Neteru of Egypt. The performance of this Main Liturgy is a sacred reclamation of “Isis” as a Holy Name of a Great, Ever-Living Goddess–not a besmirched, degraded, and hated name inaccurately assigned as an acronym to depict the egregiously evil deeds of terrorists fueled by a vicious Abrahamic zealotry. There is an urgency behind this reclamation; we love our Goddess in Whose Name our Fellowship is derived and anchored, as we love and adore all the Children of Shu and Tefnut. At this time of the Autumnal Equinox in North America, when energies are focused on giving thanks for a successful harvest and on preparing for the darkness to come, we honor the Powers from Whom manifold blessings flow. The Powers that sustain us. The Powers that light our way through the Duat.
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Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Virgo!

Fellow Virgos, it’s time to cash in our karma coupons! The Big Daddy of our solar system, Jupiter, has officially entered our Sun Sign (in the 1st House of Self) and will remain there for the next 14 months! Make the most of this auspicious period and welcome Jupiter’s blessings of abundance, joy, expansion, vitality, well-being, and just plain ol’ good luck! It seems we’re way overdue for this outpouring of benevolence–the past two years have been pretty rough, eh?–so who better than the planet dubbed the “Great Benefic” to bestow this cornucopia of goodness in our Sun Sign of the Bona Dea, the nurturing Earth Mother! Boom-shakah-lakah!

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A Ninefold Kemetic Worldview, in Honor of the Holy Ennead of Heliopolis

Circle Sanctuary’s 35th annual Pagan Spirit Gathering gets underway this weekend, and I’ll be presenting two Kemetic-themed workshops/leading group rituals there for the second consecutive year. In my preparations for one of the workshops, a Kemetic Reconstructionism 101 primer aimed at an adult audience of mostly eclectic Pagans and perhaps (hopefully!) a smattering of Reconstructionists from other traditions (Hellenismos and Heathenry, for the most part), I thought it would be useful to fully articulate not just what Kemetic Reconstructionism is, but what it most decidedly is not: Tameran Wicca, which, I suspect, many people in the audience will be coming from as a frame of reference. After delineating what strike me as the most crucial distinctions between the two Egyptian-oriented traditions, I devised what I’m calling a Ninefold Kemetic Worldview; it appears below.

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R.I.P., My Cousin Kristina (1971-2015): Death and the Negation or Affirmation of Meaning (Or, Why I Hate Cancer)

During my four years of a self-imposed exile/major Underworld initiation on the island of Oahu (translation: a military marriage that uprooted me from everything I’d cherished in my life prior), I used to teach literature and writing at the undergraduate level…mostly to active-duty military personnel working on attaining their bachelors’ degrees between deployments. Honestly, it was a Kafkaesque arrangement–I never in a million years would have seen any of it coming. But happen, it did.

And I made the decision to teach for a variety of reasons: first, I wanted to work in a way that would actually put my advanced education to use, as well as share my immense love for literature in the English language and help people become critical thinkers and more effective communicators; second, the nature of the work was very time-consuming–my classes were five-hours-long each–and I was desperate to spend as little time alone while my then-husband was sent off to war (let’s just call it “Operation: Enduring Bullshit” because these were the Bush Years and the Orwellian motto of “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” was very much en vogue) because otherwise the depression and anxiety I felt in my empty Navy wife house in Pearl Harbor were just too overwhelming (I attempted suicide twice during those four years); and third, I wanted to better acclimate myself to the strange subculture of life as a military dependent in which I found myself, and I thought the best course of action would be to simultaneously “give back to the community” whilst trying to gain a better understanding of living within it–its plethora of rules, its penchant for acronyms dropped into casual conversation with dizzying speed, its organizational structure rooted in hierarchical, phallocentric thinking. Much alien. Very Kafka. Wow. Continue reading