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!

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