Ave, Magna Deum Mater! The Rites of the Goddess Kybele, Then and Now

Go to the Phrygian shrine of Cybele, to her groves

Where the voice of cymbals sounds, the tambourines rattle,

Where the Phrygian piper sings with the deep curved pipe,

Where Maenads wearing ivy throw back their heads,

Where they practice the sacred rites with sharp yells.

Where they flutter around the goddess’s cohort:

It is there we must go with our rapid dances.

–Catullus, Poem 63 (circa 60 BCE)

When we think of the Ides of March, naturally, our minds as postmodern Westerners turn to thoughts of the assassination of Julius Caesar in the year 44 BCE (Before Common Era). But the ancient Romans left us a far greater legacy than the anniversary of a sordid murder. This time of year was a very holy one in the Classical Mediterranean world. Aside from celebrating the Feast of Anna Perenna, the Goddess of Timekeeping, on the banks of the Tiber River and in a sacred grove between the Flaminian and Salarian Roads, the ancient Romans kicked off a multi-week Festival in honor of the Great Goddess Kybele (Cybele), a Phrygian Mother and Mountain Goddess/Lady of the Beasts as well as order-upholding Goddess of the Polis, She Who was known for Her ecstatic Mystery cult (featuring Her slain and reborn consort, Attis) and for granting the Romans victory in their demoralizing and horrendously protracted Punic Wars (264 – 146 BCE) against the Carthaginians. Continue reading

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My Book Review of Gordon White’s “The Chaos Protocols: Magical Techniques for Navigating the New Economic Reality”

Sane and Magically Sound Advice for Turbulent Economic Times: A Book Review of The Chaos Protocols by Gordon White (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2016)

By Anna Applegate (c) 2017

It would be my earnest guess that most magical practitioners looking to add a book on success/prosperity magic to their occult libraries probably aren’t interested in learning about macroeconomic trends in the process. That’s a shame. Fortunately, Gordon White’s unique tome, The Chaos Protocols: Magical Techniques for Navigating the New Economic Reality, bridges the realms of this-world economics and otherworldly magical skill-building techniques (cultivating relationships with spirits of the dead, for example, or forming alliances with morally ambivalent trickster deities to effect changes in personal wealth-building) with some wildly practical advice in beating the system to develop one’s career as well as further one’s spiritual evolution. Chaos magic furnishes the toolkit for working in either scenario. Continue reading

More Halloween Nostalgia and Musings

Here we are in the United States, having another weekday Halloween experience. As much as I have absolute gratitude for my job and the manifold blessings it brings, I honestly wish I were at home now…daydreaming (in terms of the day’s planetary transits, the waxing Pisces Moon is squaring dour Saturn, making this an ideal day for daydreaming and otherwise not being “productive”), preparing for tonight’s great Samhain Sabbat ritual experience, greeting trick-or-treaters that may be diurnally marching around or pushed in strollers by their caregivers around my cul-de-sac…and just plain old nostalgically musing about the beloved Halloween experiences of my happy 1980s childhood. I wrote about the pleasures of Halloween nostalgia last year, and I find that once again, events in the here-and-now–even a frenzied morning commute into Chicago’s Loop that had my arms overburdened with Halloween treats to bring into the office and share with colleagues–invariably pluck the invisible strings of a mental tripwire, sending me smiling along for yet another journey down a pumpkin-laden Memory Lane.

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My Experiences at Green Spirit Festival 2017

No matter how dedicated we may be in our service to our Deities and spirits, and the communities in which we live and serve, I find that it’s good to periodically take time out for a spiritual battery recharge. It’s all the better when that experience can be accompanied by a drastic change of scenery, one that squarely situates you in Nature’s nurturing bosom for a few days, allowing you to simultaneously connect with unfamiliar/non-ordinary terrain and with your own inner resources of flexibility/willingness to endure hardships, physical strength and stamina, and the commitment to be fully present in the moment. Those are the reasons why I like camping (in “primitive” conditions) so much, and why I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend this year’s Green Spirit Festival in southwest Wisconsin. Sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, this annual festival affords community celebrants the chance to create an intentional Pagan village for a three-day weekend, attuning to the land and nourishing the body, heart, mind, and spirit with educational workshops, nature walks, communal rituals and home-cooked meals, at least one handfasting, a major mugwort harvest, a concert from Celtic folksinger and comedienne Celia, Tailteann/Highland Games, a candlelit labyrinth meditational walk at night, and joyous socializing with members of your Tribe that you’d be hard pressed to connect with in person at any other time of the year.

This year’s Green Spirit Festival occurred from Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30. It was the spiritual battery recharge experience I was seeking and so much more. It’s taken me a full week to process my experience internally and to integrate its manifold benevolent effects spilling forth, Ace of Cups style, into all aspects of my life, giving me added reason to give profound thanks not just for this Sabbat season of Lughnasàd, but for the Sacred Time of celebrating my Kemetic Gods’ birthdays in that liminal period known as the Epagomenal Days in the ancient Egyptian calendar, that which divides the Old Year from the New.

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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!