A Devotional Ritual for Nephthys to Bless and Protect the Dead

This past Saturday at World Tree Healing, I led a workshop on “Loving and Serving ‘Dark’ Deities.” It was a well-attended workshop and for the first hour, I engaged the participants in a series of discussions based on the following prompts:

  • How has staving off criticism from mainstream religions made Paganism afraid of its own shadows?
  • How do you help outsiders to your tradition distinguish between “darkness” and “evil”?
  • Has anyone ever had an experience of invoking Dark Deities in a group ritual context and then been castigated for invoking Them?
  • How is the function of the Trickster valuable to a society? Who is devoted to Trickster Gods?
  • In his Manifesto for his powerful Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey has declared: “We call an end to the pretense of respectability.” What are your thoughts on this? What do Pagans lose by attempting to claw their way to the interfaith table, begging for scraps of acceptance from Abrahamic religions?

It was a great discussion that appeared to make two people with Abrahamic allegiances very uncomfortable, so they left after I had announced that we’d be taking a short break before our ritual to Nephthys would begin. Good riddance, I thought. I certainly didn’t want the miasma, or spiritual pollution, of their presences to spill over into my devotional ritual to my Patron Deity. The major risk of hosting a public Pagan ritual is that you never know what kind of people may show up, especially folks with overtly hostile ideologies (read: patriarchal monotheists) who attend solely to destabilize the gathering, which is why I absolutely favor doing private ceremonies in the company of fellow devotees I can vouch for.

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Holy Powers, Holy Places, Sacred Spaces: A Call for Submissions for the Summer Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

Seeking Submissions for the 2016 Summer Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “Holy Powers, Holy Places, Sacred Spaces”–Deadline: Friday, July 8

From the mystae of ancient Greece walking the sacred way from Athens to Eleusis to celebrate the Mysteries of the Goddesses Demeter and Persephone, to modern pilgrims (Polytheist and Pagan as well as Roman Catholic Christian) in Kildare, Ireland, tying clootie rags on the hawthorn trees flanking holy wells to transmit their prayers to Brigid, to Brazilian Umbanda practitioners tracing the ponto rescado (sacred sigil) of Pomba Gira Sete Encruzhiladas with gunpowder or corn meal in the middle of a three-way crossroads in a cemetery, the association of Holy Powers with Holy Places is a natural one in the human brain hardwired for religious devotion. Whom do you honor, and where? Do you have narrative experiences to share of journeys to sacred sites? How were you transformed by your visit? What does it mean to demarcate Sacred Space at the outset of a ritual? Those are the issues I’d like to explore in the Summer 2016 issue of Isis-Seshat journal, a quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis open to all theistic Pagans, Polytheists, shamans, spirit-workers, and related practitioners besides FOI members (clergy and laity). Continue reading

The Spring 2016 Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal Is Available

Hot off the presses…and shipping around the world! I serve as the Executive Editor of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis, and I literally have five copies remaining for sale in the limited print run for this full-color, 80-page (printed on 80-lb. glossy stock paper) Spring 2016 issue, whose theme is “Worlds Beyond: Mapping the Soulscapes Encountered in Ritual.” It pleases me greatly that once again, an Isis-Seshat issue has been birthed thanks to a global effort of FOI members and friends–theistic Pagans, Polytheists, and Spirit-Workers of all stripes. Rituals are the beating hearts of our devotional practices and I am excited about the perspectives offered by 14 contributors on this theme, representing countries as remote as Australia and Greece, with Ireland, England, and the USA thrown in for good measure. Continue reading

Our Gods Are Not Vending Machines

I was relieved to have recently been unfriended on Facebook by a woman who didn’t like my response to her questions in a post she’d tagged me in. This woman–let’s call her Rachel–announced that she was going to embark on a quest of “serious magic” to not merely land herself a lover, but a life partner “willing to put a ring on it.”

“So for the working I plan on doing,” Rachel wrote, “I’ve been doing some research on which goddess to call upon. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following: Frigga, Freyja, Erzulie Freda, Astarte, and one Slavic goddess whose name I can’t pronounce. Anna, who should I go with? What do you think?”

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