Remembering Morda

Those who are remembered, live.

This morning I prayed with sadness and gratitude at my ancestor altar as I recalled many memories about my first spiritual mentor, the late Donna Cole Schultz of Temple of the Pagan Way and the Gardnerian coven, Temple of the Sacred Stones, here in Chicago. Had cancer not killed her on March 31, 2004, she would have been 80 years old today. Continue reading

Walpurgisnacht Chant

A blessed May Eve/Walpurgisnacht/Beltane to all who celebrate in the Northern Hemisphere, and a blessed All Hallowstide/Samhain to friends Down Under! Here is a little chant we used to do in my coven after the balefire has been consecrated and we danced around it to raise energy:

Walpurgisnacht

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Walpurgis Night, the time is right,

The ancient powers awake.

 

So dance and sing, around the ring,

And Beltane magic make.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

New life we see, in flower and in tree,

And summer comes again.

 

Be free and fair, like earth and air,

The sunshine and the rain.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

As magic fire be our desire

To tread the Pagan way,

 

And our True Will find and fulfill,

As dawns a brighter day.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

The Pagan powers this night be ours,

Let all the world be free,

 

And sorrow cast into the past,

And future blessed be!

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

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If you’d like to read about traditional witch lore regarding Walpurgisnacht and Germanic folklore, you’ll probably find this blog post I wrote to be of interest.

Hail, the Queen of Elphame!

The Pleasures and Treasures of Halloween Nostalgia

Like a lot of other Pagan witches in the U.S., I wholeheartedly celebrate both Halloween and Samhain, the former being a secular, cultural (and certainly, commercial) interpretation of the greater themes of mortality, ancestor reverence, and the celebration of the Witches’ New Year/the Third Harvest that find expression in ritual celebrations of Samhain (“Summer’s End” in Gaelic). October 31 has always been my favorite day of the year ever since early childhood. Continue reading

My Latest Paintings Will Debut at an Upcoming Exhibition on “Ritual”!

Hip, hip, HUZZAH! I received official confirmation that my two latest paintings, both painted on the same Saturday in February during a 9-hour spate of frenzied creativity, have been accepted for the Life Force Arts Center’s upcoming exhibition entitled The Creative Soul: Art, Play & Ritual. The opening reception for the exhibit is May 6, 7 – 10 p.m. If you’re in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, come on by and say hello! Better still, buy the artwork! This is the first time that my pieces will be for sale. Continue reading

“The Dark Side of the Early Modern Witch”: Thoughts on Robert Eggers’ Film, “The Witch”

One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.

–William Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned” (1798), lines 21-24

I judge the effectiveness and emotional relevance of a film, as I would any other artistic medium, by how much I keep engaging in dialogue with it long after my initial experience of it has ended. Is my overall curiosity not sated, but piqued, as a result of the cinematic experience? What elements–in subject matter, theme, mood, portrayal, technical composition–prompt me to seek discussion with others? Do I find that thoughts of the film, or my visceral responses to my emotional experience of it, intrude in my waking consciousness the following day? Do I want to see/reexperience the film anytime soon?

Robert Eggers’ 2015 directorial debut of The Witch, a 92-minute genre-bending historical/horror/dark fantasy film set in seventeenth-century New England (the subtitle of the film is A New England Folk-Tale), is going to be incorporated into my Top 10 list of all-time favorite movies–right up there with Kubrick’s The Shining (which Eggers acknowledged as a conscious influence on his filmmaking process for The Witch) and The Last Unicorn. It won critical acclaim at last year’s Sundance Festival. It’s even gotten an official endorsement from the Satanic Temple! 

My Bodacious Beau™ and I saw it last night, and when (mostly fellow Pagan) Facebook friends of mine saw my movie theater check-in post, they naturally wanted a succinct review from me afterwards. “Delightfully unnerving” was my two-word answer. And yes, it felt so good to come home to so many familiars afterwards! (Too bad I don’t have a black goat…not yet, at any rate!) Continue reading

A Lament for My Familiar

Death. I’ve been acutely reminded of its omnipresence in many ways lately. Seeing the low angle of the sun at this time of year has begun to trigger my seasonal affective disorder. My nightly cemetery walks have been tinged with greater pensiveness and even despair. It’s a gloomy, cool day here in Chicago as the Sun gets ready to enter the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio, herald of the mysteries of death and rebirth. I’m still processing the devastating news I received on Tuesday when I took my 11-year-old cat, Thor (a feral kitten rescue from Hawaii), to an emergency veterinary clinic for an abdominal ultrasound and other tests. My regular veterinarian had performed an X-ray on Thor to determine the cause of his misshapen stomach and elevated liver levels revealed from recent blood testing. The X-ray indicated a mass protruding from Thor’s liver–one so large it had actually pushed Thor’s stomach at a 90-degree angle. No wonder Thor’s lost 9 pounds in a little over two months. Was it a tumor? If so, could surgery be an option? I was referred to the emergency clinic, which is equipped with an advanced radiology department, to find the answers. Instead, the main veterinarian there stunned me with the diagnosis: advanced pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his liver and lungs. And then those horrible six words, laden with the iron weight of finality:

“There is nothing we can do.” Continue reading