Ave, Magna Deum Mater! The Rites of the Goddess Kybele, Then and Now

Go to the Phrygian shrine of Cybele, to her groves

Where the voice of cymbals sounds, the tambourines rattle,

Where the Phrygian piper sings with the deep curved pipe,

Where Maenads wearing ivy throw back their heads,

Where they practice the sacred rites with sharp yells.

Where they flutter around the goddess’s cohort:

It is there we must go with our rapid dances.

–Catullus, Poem 63 (circa 60 BCE)

When we think of the Ides of March, naturally, our minds as postmodern Westerners turn to thoughts of the assassination of Julius Caesar in the year 44 BCE (Before Common Era). But the ancient Romans left us a far greater legacy than the anniversary of a sordid murder. This time of year was a very holy one in the Classical Mediterranean world. Aside from celebrating the Feast of Anna Perenna, the Goddess of Timekeeping, on the banks of the Tiber River and in a sacred grove between the Flaminian and Salarian Roads, the ancient Romans kicked off a multi-week Festival in honor of the Great Goddess Kybele (Cybele), a Phrygian Mother and Mountain Goddess/Lady of the Beasts as well as order-upholding Goddess of the Polis, She Who was known for Her ecstatic Mystery cult (featuring Her slain and reborn consort, Attis) and for granting the Romans victory in their demoralizing and horrendously protracted Punic Wars (264 – 146 BCE) against the Carthaginians. Continue reading


The Pleasures of Painting During Piscean Transits

Virgo me has been really loving the spate of benevolent planetary aspects involving Venus, Mercury, and Neptune in Pisces and the trine to Jupiter in Scorpio. (For an in-depth look at the month’s transits (applicable for all signs), read my post I published on Saturday.) Yesterday’s exact conjunction between Venus and Mercury in Pisces kicked off a frenzied spate of artistic creativity: I did three paintings from start to finish in less than 24 hours, a new record for me! Huzzah! Continue reading

Broadcasting the Mighty Dead: Thoughts on My Magick Radio Chicago Interview and the Legacy of Lady Olivia Robertson

Last September at Chicago Pagan Pride, I came across an old acquaintance in the Chicago Pagan community whom, I discovered, runs a weekly AM radio show (streamed online via Que4.org) called Magick Radio Chicago. I was asked about the idea of consenting for an interview with other Chicago Fellowship of Isis members to discuss the organization and our thoughts on Chicago’s Pagan communities (I prefer the plural term because the scene is highly fragmented). I tucked the show host’s business card into my pocket and told him I would get back to him in a few weeks…which turned into four months, when he, to my surprise, attended the La Santa Muerte workshop I hosted at Alchemy Arts bookstore last month and he brought up the idea of the radio interview again. The show’s host, named Drew, was under the false impression that the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community, which is comprised of active members grouped into autonomous and individual Lyceums, Iseums, and Temples, had a “senior officers” roster akin to the leadership found in esoteric initiatory traditions ranked in one sole group, but we don’t as our sense of organizational structure is very different (and much more minuscule). It’s really my Archpriestess-Hierophant friend Demetria (who heads the Lyceum of Alexandria-Mishigami) and I serving as the “mouthpieces” for the tight-knit stellium of small groups. Hence it was she and I who sat in the control booth for the live radio broadcast of episode 127 of Magick Radio Chicago on Saturday night, February 10. Continue reading

I’m Going to Be Teaching a “Fundamentals of Astrology” Workshop at Maiden Bedlam on March 3!

Chicagoland peeps! I hope to see you on March 3 at my friend Juli’s Pagan-owned and operated metaphysical shop, Maiden Bedlam (in the northwest suburb of Elgin), on March 3 from 1-4 p.m.! I’ll be teaching a three-hour “Fundamentals of Astrology” workshop, which includes me doing participants’ natal charts and incorporating them into class discussion. Continue reading

People of Prayer: A Call for Submissions for the Spring 2018 Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

Seeking Submissions for the 2018 Spring Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “People of Prayer”–Deadline: Friday, March 30

If meditation is the act of listening to the Divine, prayer is the art of speaking. It’s an under-discussed topic in Polytheistic and theistic Pagan communities, which is unfortunate, as it really is the most basic component of establishing and sustaining a devotional relationship to one’s Patron Deity or multiple Holy Powers. Many people who “come home” to a Pagan spiritual path may have an aversion to prayer because they associate the practice with the undesirable (Abrahamic) religion of their upbringing, but there are ways to overcome the negative perceptions and conditioning related to former religious experiences so that one can have a thriving, judgment- and distraction-free prayer practice that sustains the spirit. Those are the issues I’d like to explore in the Spring 2018 issue of Isis-Seshat journal, a quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis that is open to contributions from all theistic Pagans, Polytheists, animists, shamans, spirit-workers, and related practitioners besides FOI members (clergy and laity). Continue reading

How Death Crashes Our Assumptive Worlds: A Dispatch from the Frontlines of Grief and Spiritual Crisis

Very sad and shocking news was relayed to me as I was about to get ready to shower and start my morning: my dear friend Kathryn, on whose behalf a multi-state healing prayer circle kicked off last weekend in preparation for her grueling cardiac surgery yesterday, died late last night. Apparently, the full moon eclipse energies ushered her out of this world and into the crystalline Otherworld of Caer Arianrhod, where Kathryn can journey to her ancestors and to her Brythonic Polytheist family of the Children of Don. Continue reading

My Year-Wheel Tarot Spread for 2018

Happy New Year, gentle readers! My time-honored tradition of casting this 13-card Tarot spread for myself as a forecast for the year ahead has continued unabated since 1989, I just realized. I was in high school at the time and used the Marseilles deck that was gifted to me by my now-late uncle Milan; it was my very first deck. If you’re familiar with that deck, you know how challenging it can be to study the meanings of Minor Arcana cards that aren’t Court cards; with little pictorial symbolism to go on, I went straight for memorizing the meanings of the numbers, wincing every time I would come to draw a Five card, irrespective of the Elemental suit, and rejoicing at the Aces, Sixes, and Eights. Continue reading