The 25th Annual FOI Chicago Autumn Equinox Goddess Convention Is Less Than a Month Away!

On Saturday, September 22, the 25th Annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Autumn Equinox Goddess Convention will convene, for the second straight year, at the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore (Skokie) in the Skokie Banquet Room. On-site registration begins at 9:00 a.m., the doors officially open at 9:30, and several hours of workshops (details below) precede the performance of the Main Liturgy, set to begin at 5:45 p.m. CDT. This year’s Main Liturgy is “The Mystical Awakening of Scorpio and Kundalini,” honoring the Divine Shakti and Shiva, the Egyptian Goddess Selket, and the fixed stars in the constellation of Scorpio.

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The scorpion-headed Selket, One of the Powers honored in this year’s Main Liturgy for the annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention.

 

The Day’s Workshops and Performances

The $50 registration fee (if paid by September 8; it’s $60 at the door) treats one to a slew of workshops that precede the late afternoon’s Main Liturgy. Currently, this is the roster of speakers and topics:

Rev. Demetria Nanos: “Ma’at and Kundalini: Star Lore, Serpents, and Magic of Scorpio, Libra, Ophiuchus,” “Kundalini and Gods of Yoga in American History and Culture,” and “Mantra, Vidya, and Sound in Spiritual/Magical Practices”

Rev. Vincent Hawkins: “The Mystery of Evil,” “Prosperity Magic”

Aura Chapa: “Polytheistic Influences in ‘Steven Universe'” and “Hellenic Intersex Mysteries: The Mysteries of Agdistis and Hermaphroditus”

Martin Barba: “Western Tantra”

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Tantra puja, (c) Martin Barba 2018. Used with permission. Visit martinbarba.com to learn more about Martin’s decades-long history of teaching Tantra.

Edward Farnham: “Himalayan Singing Bowls: A Cascade of Healing Sound”

Christine Zenino: “Healing the Past, Present, and Future with the Akashic Records”

I’m giving a talk and leading a mini ritual dedicated to the goddess Selket. Additionally, there will be a group Ancestor Shrine activity and a group talisman-making workshop, where participants can choose from making Vedic tattwa-based, ancient Egyptian hieroglyph-based, or Norse bind rune-based talismans.

The workshops run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a lunch break that lasts from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Workshops resume at 2 and last until 5:30, giving FOI Main Liturgy officiants (c’est moi) a chance to garb themselves accordingly before the rite begins.

 

Vendors and Silent Auction Items Too!

Fellowship of Isis Chicago is pleased to welcome the following metaphysical vendors and groups and artistic organizations supporting our 25th Annual Autumn Equinox Goddess Convention:

 

There will be dozens of unique, esoterically themed items (Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist ritual paraphernalia in particular) up for grabs in our Silent Auction, all of which are new and have been kindly donated by vendors and conference participants. From phurbas to bronze Deity statues to jewelry, there’s going to be something for everyone!

 

Save $10 off Registration Now Thru Sept. 8 via PayPal

Early registration can be accommodated via PayPal: email $50 to Demetria Nanos at hail_isis@yahoo.com using “FOI Convention” in the Notes field. Alternatively, you can mail her a check in the amount of $50 with “Goddess Convention Registration” in the Memo field to:

Demetria Nanos, FOI Chicago, 1465 N. Leavitt Street, Chicago, IL 60622.

Questions? Call or leave a message at 773.684.9219.

 

Champagne and Chocolates Reception at the Hotel, Friday, September 21

All Goddess Convention participants who are available are welcome to meet at the hotel at 8 p.m. the night before the Convention for sparkling wine and conversation. We’re calling it our “Sweet Reunion with Health and Wealth.” We’ll also be having a guided meditation and oracle session.

 

Meet Us at Chicago Pagan Pride in Oak Park on September 9!

If the end of September is too long to wait to come say hello, stop by our Fellowship of Isis Chicago booth at Chicago Pagan Pride, which is held Sunday, September 9, at the lovely and historic (and, I might add, haunted) Pleasant Home in Oak Park. Pagan Pride runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Chicago Pagan Pride, 2013, when I co-led the Main Ritual with my friend and ritual partner, John Harness. Photo (c) Tomas Griddle, 2013. Used with permission.

 

Let’s Make It a September to Remember!

From my birthday on the 8th to Chicago Pagan Pride the following day to the 25th Anniversary Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention on the 22nd, September is going to be an action-packed and wonderfully memorable month! Come join me in Sacred Space to help celebrate!

Blessings! / Seneb-ti!

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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Inanna’s Ascent: A Fellowship of Isis Chicago Imbolc Ritual

She is rising, She is rising
From the pit.
Come, we will go to Inanna,
We will sit in the lap so holy,
Inanna is ascending, Inanna is ascending
From the pit.

–Lady Olivia Robertson, “Space Magic: Oracle of the Goddess Inanna” (From the FOI Clergy Booklet, “Urania: Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess”)

In the Chicago-based Fellowship of Isis Lyceum to which I belong, we have a lovely and emotionally impactful way of commemorating the descent of the great Sumerian goddess Inanna at our annual Samhain ritual as well as Her ascent at our Imbolc gathering. Continue reading

Announcing the FOI Chicago Public Yule Ritual

The Fellowship of Isis Chicago’s Lyceum of Alexandria-Mishigami (note: Mishigami is the Ottawa First Nation’s term for Lake Michigan, literally “Great Water”) invites one and all to its public Yule ritual on Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the Life Force Arts Center in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., we’ll convene and present newcomers with an Introduction to the Fellowship of Isis (FOI) and briefly survey its nearly 40-year history as an esoteric organization dedicated to championing the Divine Feminine as embodied in the Great Egyptian Goddess Isis.

The Yule ritual itself will begin promptly at 5 o’ clock. There will be a brief introduction on the cave as a symbol of the Holy Mother and various Deities associated with caves, light, and winter. Homeric and Orphic Hymns will be recited. Additionally, special rituals will be held for Teutonic Gods and Goddesses honored at this time of year, with a lighting of a Yule log and Old World wassailing. December 19 is also the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas the Wonder-Worker in the Eastern Orthodox Church, so He will be acknowledged with storytelling and an exchange of holiday gifts–fear not, the Krampus will surely be honored as well! (Let us all give the Krampus His due!)

 

Our Yule altar last year.

Our Yule altar last year.

The Main Liturgy to be performed is the 7th ritual from the late Lady Olivia Robertson’s Dea: Rites & Mysteries of the Goddess booklet: “Winter: Star Rite,” which honors the Goddess Rhea and various celestial Divinities. Rhea is a Goddess of the Drum, so bring your handheld percussion instruments, from drums to tambourines to sistrums! The Liturgy will conclude with the Lyceum’s time-honored tradition of the Pillar of Light prayers for those in need of healing.

 

"Rhea" from the 1895 "Manual of Mythology" by Alexander S. Murray. Public domain.

“Rhea” from the 1895 “Manual of Mythology” by Alexander S. Murray. Public domain.

After the liturgy, there will be ample time for feasting together! To that end, please bring a potluck dish or beverage to share.

A suggested donation of $10 per person helps defray rental costs. However, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

We hope to see you there!

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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A Smashing Good Time at My Set Ritual Yesterday at Chicago Pagan Pride

With the exception of the Bears’ loss to the much-hated Packers in Soldier Field during the season opener, yesterday was a perfect day. The 2015 Chicago Pagan Pride event held at the historic Pleasant Home in Oak Park, Illinois, drew a record 500 attendees. And roughly 20 of those folks joined me at my 1 p.m. workshop and devotional ritual to honor the Great God Set.  Continue reading