Oak & Aconite Coven May Day 2022 Ritual

This is one of my favorite times of the year! I cheerfully wish those celebrating May Day / Beltane tomorrow in the Northern Hemisphere and All Hallow’s / Samhain in the lands Down Under wonderful festivals! May your Gods and Spirits gladden your hearts and guide you at this powerfully liminal turning o’ the tides (made all the more potent by a Taurus New Moon eclipse!). For me and for my Slavic forebears, early May marks the beginning of Summer (in the Serbian calendar, it’s the fixed date of St. George’s Day, May 6).

It’s a time of honoring the fructifying powers at work in the land; in particular, it’s a time of cultivating right relationship with the Fair Folk / the Fae / the Vile (pronounced VEE-lay) and demonstrating through your ritual actions that you know how to be a courteous and hospitable neighbor to Them. I’m looking forward to doing my solitary Walpurgis Night ritual tonight, where I honor the Lady of Elphame, and I’m giddily looking forward to celebrating May Day tomorrow with my coven that my dear friend Adam and I formed late last summer. After a winter gestational period of figuring out what to call ourselves and detailing our coven’s brand (yes, I have a background in marketing!), the name came quite suddenly last month while meditating on our Divine Patrons, Hekate and Pan: Oak & Aconite Coven!

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My Question to Christopher Penczak on Mystic Chat (Recorded 2/3/2022)

My friend Chris Allaun of the Chicago chapter of the Queer Neopagan spirituality group Fellowship of the Phoenix invited me to participate in his Zoom interview last night of acclaimed contemporary American Witchcraft teacher and author Christopher Penczak, and I’m glad I did. Here’s the link to the full 54-minute-long recorded interview. My question comes in at 38:31. Here’s the transcript of what I typed in the Chat and how Christopher Penczak answered:

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The Mantle of Brigid: An Imbolc Prayer for Protection

After stirring “in the belly” (what Irish Gaelic “Imbolg” literally means) of a fallow season, we undergo birth pangs to extricate ourselves from winter’s constricting force. Fueled by the Goddess/Saint Brigid’s sacred fires of hearth, head, and heart that warm, inspire, and heal; and cleansed by Her holy waters of renewal, we stand assuredly in Her might.

Let us pray:

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A Great Time Yesterday at Pagan Pride Milwaukee!

My Pagan art and jewelry Etsy business, Jackal Moon Designs, had a wonderful debut in-person at Pagan Pride Milwaukee, a day-long event held yesterday at Moose Lodge #49 (5476 S. 13th Street) in Milwaukee’s South Side. This was my first odyssey as a fully vaccinated individual attending an in-person Pagan Pride event since the pandemic began. (By way of contrast, Chicago’s Pagan Pride, slated for October 3 this year, will once again be an online event.) I had the immense pleasure of reconnecting with Wisconsin-based friends in the Pagan community I haven’t seen in at least 2 years, as well as meeting and networking with new-to-me individuals and organizations in the greater Milwaukee metro area.

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Reflections on Lammas and Text of My 2021 Ritual

The transition from July to August and the first 10 days or so of August are among my most cherished times of the year. The sight of Summertime abundance on displaybasketfuls of mulberries from my own front and back yards; and from local markets, piles of ears of golden non-GMO sweet corn from fields within a quarter mile of where I live; honeycombs and cranberries harvested from Wisconsin farms a short drive across the border; a profusion of luscious peaches, varieties of apples; blackberries; and even gooseberries from Michiganis a welcome treat for the eyes that never fails to lift my spirits and pivot my consciousness into an attitude of gratitude.

Even in the midst of a worrisome drought that’s affected my county since Spring, the Gracious Gods bestow an outpouring of gifts and it’s right and just to give Them thanks and praise. As I smeared organic blackberry preserves on my Lammas ritual leftovers of rosemary-infused bread loves that I sliced and turned into Serbian-style French toast for breakfast this morning for my family, I sighed with contentment. Life is more than good. And every day that I’m above ground is a very good day.

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Happy Belated World Tarot Day!

Preparations for today’s Super Full Moon Eclipse in Sagittarius got in the way of my celebrating this yesterday, but happy belated World Tarot Day and may all your divinatory readings bring you joyous journeys of self-discovery! I decided, after emerging from my overnight ritual/puja/vigil whose focus was spiritual protection during the eclipse, to do a Tarot reading: 6 cards to detail what the next 6 months have in store for me, post-eclipse. Here are my results.

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My Newest Gemstone Beaded Necklaces Available on JackalMoonDesigns Etsy Shop!

My day job and my caregiving responsibilities have definitely been eating up my “spare” time as of late, but, thankfully, I was able to set aside a full workday (8+ hours) yesterday for the express purpose of creating new beaded gemstone ritual jewelry pieces to sell on my Etsy site, Jackal Moon Designs!

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Happy Earth Day, Earthlings!

No, I’m not writing this post from the perspective of outing myself as an extraterrestrial, although, to quote the character of Harry (marvelously played by Alan Tudyk) on the hit SYFY Channel series Resident Alien, “I hear they’re pretty cool!” 🙂

Earth Day: Cause for Optimism, Cause for Despair

Every Earth Day brings up a whole host of emotions for me: on the one hand, I feel gloriously optimistic and tremendously inspired by the passion of climate change activists, especially galvanized young voices on the vanguard of the movement such as 18-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her peers. There’s no denying that in the past decade or so here in the US, environmental, climate change, and habitat/resource conservation issues have definitely risen to the forefront of the collective consciousness, economically (feeling greater degrees of empowerment as consumers to align our shopping choices with our personal values) and politically (where these issues are, unfortunately, vehemently debated across party lines, of course). From the social justice angle voiced by BIPOC activists denouncing the overt, systemic racism behind decades-old policies of polluting communities of color and the sacred lands of First Nations Peoples to the more personal economic and health angles of looking to maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste in the home while opting for organic foods on our plates (and even growing our own produce), more and more people are, thankfully, thinking about and acting upon a desire to promote sustainability. (Today’s Google doodle, screenshot below, made me applaud and cry tears of joy!)

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On the other hand, since I aspire to live every day as Earth Day with my conscious choices, I also feel a world of despair weighing on my heart. The plain facts of the case are that we’re all crowding ourselves on an increasingly fragile planet with drastically shrinking resources. Our late-stage global capitalism exudes a rapacious appetite for destruction, laying waste to swathes of Amazonian rain forest with illegal logging (China can’t get enough timber) and drying up entire rivers in Chilean villages so life-giving water can be rerouted to corporate-owned avocado orchards (watch the Netflix documentary Rotten if you haven’t already; it’s a disturbing eye-opener of the ugliness in global food production). I seethe with rage. I feel sick to my stomach. I often cry in states of deep despair when I watch the YouTube videos of my favorite evolutionary biologist, Dr. Guy McPherson. In his ocean of data pertaining to mass extinction events and what he terms “near-term human extinction,” he soberly tells us that our efforts to save the planet, while stemming from noble intentions, amount to “too little, too late.”

That’s despair and tidal waves of hopelessness stemming from the macro level. At the micro level, to give but one example, when I see how my neighbors repeatedly throw litter around in my neighborhood (in front of one park in particular), often from their cars as they careen down my street at outrageously high speeds, I feel the heaviness in my chest and tightness in my throat that is the same visceral response I have to grief. Since the pandemic began last year, it’s routine for me to have latex-free disposable gloves in my purse or in my pockets, so I invariably make a beeline for the garbage I see strewn about and take the time to dispose of it in the closest public trash can I can find. But I can assure you I am grumbling very misanthropic thoughts under my breath as I do so! I think a part of me wants the human race to die off because we in Western societies have been, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution at least, such ungracious guests in our Earth Mother’s house! Like the brilliantly visionary Tool song “Aenima” informs us, “The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.”

It’s painful.

We live in very challenging times and it seems like we’re on the fast-track, collectively, to devolution, not the vaunted “progress” that our misplaced faith in technology as the ultimate savior tricks us into believing.

What’s a Witch to do?

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Book Review: Jeff Cullen’s Liber Khthonia (2020; Brujo Bros LLC)

I’m going to state my personal bias up front: This is an astonishing modern grimoire written by a personal friend of mine who is an extraordinarily talented Witch, artist, writer, and devotee of the Goddess Hekate: Jeff Cullen. In 2019, he approached me and announced that he was going to be developing the idea for Liber Khthonia into a book. In addition to consulting me in an editorial capacity to discuss the structure and content of the manuscript (I did copyedit the final draft), Jeff honored me greatly, knowing of my reputation in the Chicago Pagan community as a Priestess of Hekate Khthonia, by asking me to write the book’s Foreword! I was thrilled to do so and saw the entire undertaking of the publication of Liber Khthonia as fulfilling a vital need among the Goddess’ ever-growing number of devotees worldwide who have been yearning for just such a book to deepen what can only be called a devotionally anchored Hekatean Tradition of Witchcraft. The book, hot off the presses, is now available in a handsome hardcover edition that truly belongs on the library shelves of every Witch who adores the Queen of Witches!

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