Welcoming the Lunar New Year 4713 and the Kalends of Mars: Matronalia

It’s been a busy weekend for the Chicago Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Lyceum of Alexandria, one replete with two milestones: the re-launch of Isis-Seshat magazine, the quarterly issued journal for FOI members worldwide (I serve as the Executive Editor); and our first-ever public ritual, held last night, celebrating both the Chinese Lunar New Year 4713 (the Year of the Wooden Goat) as well as the Matronalia, the Roman Pagan festival honoring Juno as Goddess of Sovereignty; it occurred in ancient times at the onset of the Kalends of Mars (March 1). The evening was quite a departure from our usual public gatherings, wherein we enact a ritual chosen from the FOI’s official published corpus of liturgical texts for clergy training. Instead, Demetria, our Lyceum’s Priestess-Hierophant, and I devised a program comprised of short lectures (related to, in honor of the Year of the Goat, goat deities from around the world; astronomy and astrology; Taoism; the I-Ching; and Roman observances of Matronalia) broken up by the ritual activities of breath work, meditation, the blessing of seed packets, and a healing prayer circle we call the Pillar of Light, whose purpose is to channel energy for those not present who are in need of, and who have asked for, healing to enter their lives. Once the circle was opened, we celebrated with potluck feasting and cheerful conversations with the two newcomers who’d graced us with their presence; not only were they new to the Fellowship of Isis, but they were new to Paganism in general, so it was very pleasing to get to know them and receive their feedback that they found our gathering welcoming, informative, and heart-centered, which was music to my ears. Continue reading

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Sekhmet and the Ma’at of Letting Go: Reflections on My Sekhmet Ritual at PSG 2014

Editorial Comment: I am extremely pleased that the essay you’re about to read below has been accepted for publication in Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s forthcoming anthology on the goddess Sekhmet entitled Daughter of the Sun: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet. My essay is being published under my legal name and I will retain all copyrights to it. The book is being released next month; I’m so excited!


 

“Sekhmet and the Ma’at of Letting Go”

Just prior to leaving for the 2014 Pagan Spirit Gathering, held June 15-22 in Illinois, I had been seeing, due to its popularity among several of my friends, a recurring post on my Facebook News Feed—one that irked me.

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Eulogy for Deena Butta, 6/1/1950-1/27/2013

As much as I love writing for a living and writing for pleasure, the one writing assignment I dread ever doing again is crafting–and delivering–a eulogy. One of the great and terrible milestones of my life that I’m going to have to address with a series of blog posts, so irrevocable and lasting have been the profound spiritual transformations wrought by it, was the death, on January 27, 2013, of my dearest spiritual mentor in Chicago’s Pagan community, Deena Butta. Archpriestess-Hierophant of the Chicago-based Fellowship of Isis Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria, Deena touched the lives of so many people in her public priestessing ministry for over 35 years. Her widower husband, Ray Butta, asked me to write and deliver her eulogy the morning of her funeral, January 31, 2013. As we in the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community gear up for our 21st annual Goddess Festival, a public celebration of the Divine Feminine Deena founded and energetically prepared for every autumn–even leading up to her death–I wanted to honor Deena’s memory and legacy by publishing the eulogy I wrote and delivered at the behest of Ray. As we say in Egyptian Paganism/the Kemetic Reconstructionist path, “What is remembered, lives.” I will always remember and love you, Deena. Continue reading