Archives For Caroline Kenner

[Terence P. Ward is one of our editors and talented weekly news writers. If you like his work and our daily news service, consider donating to The Wild Hunt. Each and every day, you will receive original content, both news and commentary, with a focus on Pagans, Heathens and polytheists worldwide. Your support makes it all happen, and every dollar counts. This is your community; TWH is your community news source. Donate today and share our link! Thank you.]

SILVER SPRINGS, Md. — Some experienced professional tarot readers will sniff at the idea of using a tarot app for divination, an idea that was explored by Wild Hunt columnist last month. Caroline Kenner, one of the people behind the Fool’s Dog suite of tarot apps, understands where they are coming from. Together with her husband Jason Linhart, an experienced programmer, she has worked to provide what she describes as simply an electronic tool to complement physical cards and professional readers.

Buckland's Romani Tarot iPad app title screen.

Buckland’s Romani Tarot iPad app title screen. [Courtesy Photo]

Kenner is no newcomer to the Pagan communities, nor to the arts of divination. She began her studies with Andras Corban-Arthen in 1984, and has been an organizer in the Washington, D.C. area for nearly 30 years. Among her other teachers stand Janet and Stewart Farrar, Sandra Ingerman, and Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. Kenner estimates that she owns 400 tarot decks, which she has been reading for decades. As a public relations professional, she has also worked to ensure Pagans are represented accurately in mainstream media coverage.

Many tarot apps available on the market have “programming shortcuts to shorten the time to market,” Kenner explained. However, the Kenners’ goal of supporting the art and the reading community represents a different approach. She brought her three decades’ experience as an intuitive reader to bear on the problem, and combined it with her husband’s programming prowess, as well as a magical spell designed to meld the two.

Linhart has, according to Kenner, been programming since the age of 11 and writing code for Apple products since before the Macintosh was first rolled out in 1984. “He could tell you the number and description of any card, but he couldn’t interpret them,” she explained. “He liked them because of the patterns,” an interest which has also led him to develop a successful line of sudoku apps.

When the couple decided to build better tarot apps, each of their skills were needed, but they also went out into the community for guidance. “We went to our reader friends,” she recalled, saying that after so many years in the community, “we had a million of those, and a thousand who read professionally.”

The couple hosted open houses for readers of all skill levels, inviting them to test, poke, and prod. Artist Helena Domenic was the first to sign on and agree to allow her work to go digital. The first Fool’s Dog decks came out in 2011. Two years later, Raymond Buckland’s Romani Tarot joined the suite. To date, 60 decks have been added.

presentation1

[Screenshot from Fool’s Dog website showing some of the available decks]

The curious may download the sampler for iOS or Android, and each full deck costs anywhere from 99 cents to $4.99 to purchase. That price range is intended to serve the community, Kenner said. Creators such as Domenic and Buckland receive royalties from each purchase, but the price is not so high as to discourage someone from trying out a new deck.

“Physical decks can run upwards of $30,” she said. “That’s a commitment. When I was reading, I would sometimes buy a deck I saw, but it really didn’t click with me. This is a lower financial commitment, and people can pick the decks that really sing to them to buy physically.” A links within the app is available to do just that. These links lead directly to creators’ own websites or to Amazon, making that next step an easy one to accomplish.

Fool’s Dog has also created some decks that had very small print runs, generally when funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and were never picked up by a major publisher.

Along with flexibility of price, there are other benefits in digital deck production. Deck creators aren’t stunted by truncated descriptions, nor are readers. The full text of a deck’s instructions are available unless the creator specifically doesn’t want that to be the case. In addition, there’s space for app owners to add their own meanings instead having to rely solely on the boilerplate.

Layouts are similar: a variety of common ones are built right in, as well as any that are unique to a particular deck. For example, the Zombie Tarot brings with it the “gravestone” layout that’s detailed in the physical instructions. As with card meanings, there is a free form option for layouts, which gives more flexibility than one might anticipate from a computer.

One thing computers do very well is remember information; every reading done through these apps are automatically added to a journal, and may be emailed. Readers can manually input a physical spread to send it to a client, as well.

The Kenners have taken pains to meld tarot and technology in ways never attempted before. Linhart started with a randomizer he developed more than a decade ago, and then added further randomization based on the timing of user actions such as tapping and swiping.

“When the user actions are timed to the nanosecond, the low order bits are truly random,” Kenner said. “This seamless interface between user and tarot program is very successful at opening the door to synchronicity.” Indeed, the apps allows for two different kinds of electronic shuffling, as well as deck cuts, to increase the random factors introduced.

Wildwood Tarot app [Photo Credit: H. Greene]

Wildwood Tarot app [Photo Credit: H. Greene]

In 2013 The Wild Hunt reported the fact that there’s a spell built into the code to help pixels and intuition work better together. Ivo Dominguez, Jr. wrote that spell as a wedding present for Kenner and Linhart. His field of expertise can be as difficult as programming code for the uninitiated to understand, but he explained it in brief:

I performed a ritual to charge and empower a sigil created from the word “divination” plotted onto the magick square of the moon that is linked to the tarot app. There is a physical world version of the sigil on paper that is being kept in a safe place on an altar so long as the app is in use.

The resulting numbers are written directly into the app code, such that users never see it.

“Top-rated programming, top-rated spell work, and a way to help Pagan elders,” summarized Kenner. That last part is close to her heart, because she’s seen that those elders tend to be “magical people who often struggle with business and money.” The paying of royalties is one way to allow for more community support of their lifelong contributions.

“I’m worried about how many of us have led unusual lives that don’t necessarily add up to retirement funds,” Kenner explained.

Who is using Fool’s Dog apps? According to Kenner, quite a few people, including those young enough that they have grown up in the light of a screen, but also more experienced and professional readers. “People often use it while in transit,” she explained, such as while commuting to work while desiring to perform a daily or self-reading. It’s ideal for that kind of compact situation, she said, while the physical deck remains at home or in one’s purse.

It’s not, however, intended to replace a reader’s intuition with boilerplate, any more than someone with no experience can be expected to read a physical deck simply by referring to the booklet. “It’s a tool of empowerment,” Kenner said, “but it can never replace that rapport. It’s just a different interface.”

Donate to the 2016 Wild Hunt Fall Fund Drive

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

fortean_times_12856_12Steve Moore, an author and occultist who helped found Fortean Times, passed away earlier this month. Moore worked extensively with famed comic writer Alan Moore (no relation), who credited him with learning how to write comic scripts. The Strange Attractor journal, to which Moore was a regular contributor, has posted a moving tribute. Quote: “Steve was a warm, wise and gentle man, with a surreal sense of humour and an astoundingly deep knowledge that covered history, the I Ching, forteana, magic, oriental mysticism, martial arts cinema, science fiction, underground comics and worlds more. Steve was amongst the earliest members of the Gang of Fort, who launched Fortean Timesmagazine in the early 1970s, and later edited its scholarly journal Fortean Studies. He was also the author of a great many influential comics and short stories for publications.” What is remembered, lives.

510KxQLOMyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Anthropologist Murphy Pizza’s history and ethnography of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Pagan community, dubbed “Paganistan,” will be published by Ashgate Press in April. Quote: “The story of the community traces the formation of some of the earliest organizations and churches in the US, the influence of publication houses and bookstores, the marketplace, and the local University, on the growth and sustenance of a distinct Pagan community identity, as well as discussions of the patterns of diversifying and cohesion that occur as a result of societal pressure, politics, and generational growth within it. As the first ever study of this long-lived community, this book sets out to document Paganistan as another aspect of the increasing prevalence of Paganism in the US and contributes to the discussion of the formation of new American religious communities.” This will no doubt be required reading for many. You can find the Amazon.com listing, here. The hardcover is pretty spend-y, so you might want to await the paperback edition.

2014-03-15 08.46.12Sacred Space Conference board member Caroline Kenner has posted an overview of the recently held East Coast event at The Witches’ Voice. Quote: “2014 marks Sacred Space’s 24th year, an extravaganza of classes and rituals designed for an audience of intermediate to advanced magical practitioners. Each year, Sacred Space hosts national presenters as well as local teachers. This year, M. Macha Nightmare, Selena Fox and Orion Foxwood were our featured talent, and sponsored guests Jason Pitzl-Waters and Renna Shesso also joined us. We were delighted to welcome back Selena and Orion in particular: they both presented at the first conference of Sacred Space’s most recent incarnation, held in 2008. This year, we were able to give them a much larger and more vigorous audience for their teaching.” You can listen to the Appalachian Folk Traditions panel from Sacred Space here at The Wild Hunt.

In Other Pagan Community News: 

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

Patrick McCollum and members of HAF with the resolution.

Patrick McCollum and members of HAF with the resolution.

On Monday in California a resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett was unanimously adopted by the State Senate. SCR-32 designates October as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month, and was backed by the Hindu American Foundation. Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum, who was honored by HAF in 2009 due to his work on behalf of minority religions, was invited to be a part of this moment, one that he called “historic.” McCollum added that “Pagans and Hindus have supported one another for equal rights and recognition and we stand together for a better world.” This is the first such resolution to honor American Hindus, and one of very few resolutions to honor a non-Christian minority faith in the United States. As State Senator Corbett says in her official statement, quote, “I am honored to represent constituents from many diverse backgrounds, including a significant number of Hindu Americans, California is home to a thriving community of over 370,000 Hindu Americans that enrich our state’s diversity and professional assets in fields as diverse as academia, science, technology, business, arts and literature.” You can see a picture of Rev. Patrick McCollum with Senate Majority Leader Corbett, here. Congratulations to our Hindu cousins!

COVR Award

COVR Award

The International New Age Trade Show (INATS) was held this past weekend, and the annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Retailers) awards were handed out. Pagan and metaphysical publisher Llewellyn Worldwide took home four COVR awards, including a First Runner Up award (Wicca/Paganism category) for Rev. Mark Townsend’s “Jesus Through Pagan Eyes” (reviewed here). The big Pagan winner of the weekend was author Christopher Penczak, who took home First Place awards for “Buddha, Christ, Merlin: Three Wise Men for Our Age” and “The Gates of Witchcraft,” a Runner Up prize for “Feast of the Morrighan,” and two awards for his spell coins. Penczak said he was “humbled and grateful” for the recognition he received. You can read more about this year’s COVR nominees and winners here, here, and here. For an insiders perspective of INATS, and the future of the occult/metaphysical market, I found this blog post very interesting.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Adocentyn Research Library

Adocentyn Research Library

The Adocentyn Research Library in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the process of building what they hope will be “the premier Pagan research center in the Western US,” have reached a new milestone. According to Adocentyn board member and co-founder Donald H. Frew, their online catalogue has surpassed 4,500 volumes, with far more volumes on-site and in the process of being catalogued. Quote: “There are over 6000 volumes currently on-site (plus hundreds of periodicals) with another 5000+ coming (plus ephemera such as correspondence, notebooks, etc.). Cataloguing takes time, but we have 19 volunteers helping us move things along. We will be opening soon.” This is exciting progress for the library, and you can keep up with the latest announcements at their official Facebook page. As I’ve reported previously, Adocentyn is in preliminary talks with the New Alexandrian Library Project (currently under construction) and other institutions in forming a Pagan Libraries Organization so that they can share information, and offer inter-library loans.

Blue plaque ceremony.

Blue plaque ceremony.

Last week’s Summer Solstice saw the dedication of a commemorative blue plaque at the Brighton, UK home of Dorren Valiente, called by many the mother of modern religious Witchcraft (you can read my previous coverage of the plaque here). Druid leader Philip Carr-Gomm, who attended the ceremony, said that this was a historic moment for more than one reason. Quote: “This is a first for Wicca and Paganism but this was also a historic moment for another reason – it is apparently the first blue plaque to appear on a council block.” The Centre for Pagan Studies has posted a video of the unveiling which I’ve embedded below. You can see additional coverage of the event at The Argus, which has also posted a video from the ceremony. John Belham-Payne, who inherited the bulk of Valiente’s Pagan-oriented estate, says he plans to open a museum in Brighton. Quote: “I’ve been contacted by museum owners in Salem but Brighton is the only place for the collection.”

In Other Pagan Community News:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Within the realms of Witchcraft and modern Paganism Raymond Buckland has long been seen as a trailblazer. Buckland was an integral part of the introduction of Wicca, specifically Gardnerian Wicca, to North America in the 1960s, and later, he was one of the first major figures within Wicca to embrace the idea of self-initiation and solitary practice. Buckland’s career boasts a list of firsts, and his literary career (over 50 books published) in turn set the stage for the boom in Pagan titles that would follow. Now, the beloved author and elder ventures into new territory with the publication of his Buckland Romani Tarot as an application for the iPhone and iPad.

Buckland's Romani Tarot iPad app title screen.

Buckland’s Romani Tarot iPad app title screen.

“The magic and mystery of the Romani people, or Gypsies, comes alive in The Buckland Romani Tarot! The Buckland Tarot clothes the familiar archetypes from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck with images of Romani people and culture. The Romani, or Gypsies, have always been fortune tellers as they traveled through the world, learning the wisdom traditions of every nation. Now expert diviner Raymond Buckland, half-Romani and the father of American Witchcraft, reveals Romani wisdom at the turn of the card. Beautifully illustrated by Lissanne Lake, the art of The Buckland Romani Tarot will enchant you.” 

Software studio The Fool’s Dog, who partnered with Buckland on this app, specialize in iOS tarot applications and have been producing a line of high-quality tarot apps which includes John Matthews’ and Mark Ryan’s Wildwood Tarot. Founded by developer Jason Linhart and shamanic healer Caroline Kenner (who also helps organize the Sacred Space Conference), the duo strive to bring the world of virtual tarot reading to new levels. For example, the app features a state-of-the-art randomizer for drawing the cards designed by Linhart, while Kenner uses her 40 years of card-reading experience to “frame the app, decide what features were important, and how best to translate the divinatory experience into pixels.” But can you do an accurate, personal, reading with a virtual tool? Kenner says that you can, and that the app can be “spookily accurate.” She attributes this accuracy to very special wedding present:

“I attribute this to the spell Ivo Dominguez, Jr. encoded into “junk” code, which is included in every app.  Ivo’s spell was a wedding present from him and his husband, Jim Welch, both of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel.”

Raymond Buckland

Raymond Buckland

As part of the promotional rollout for the Buckland Romani Tarot app I was able to conduct a short interview with Raymond Buckland about this new project, what his thoughts are regarding tarot apps, and what his future plans are.

Why did you decide to pursue making a tarot “app” at this time? Have you used other tarot applications? Why was this the right time for you to do this project? 

“I am fairly new to the Apple world and am somewhat in awe of all that is available, especially the variety of apps. I was somewhat surprised to see tarot decks presented that way but, on looking at one or two, could appreciate how this could be a very useful presentation. It means you can do a reading very privately on an airplane, in a waiting room, or just about anywhere, without having to find room to spread out cards. It struck me that my own deck could certainly be offered, along with these other decks. It was, perhaps, the “right time” in that apps are still relatively new and this is a wonderful way to offer the deck, basically, world wide.”

Do you think a tarot application can work just as well as a physical deck, or do they, in your mind, work in different ways? Some readers place a high value on the physicality of the tarot deck, so I’d be interested to hear your views on tarot and tarot readings in a virtual realm. 

App screenshot.

App screenshot.

“I do think they work in slightly different ways, though both effective. The app I would view as a convenience form of reading. As I said above, it can be used virtually anywhere. But for a truly in-depth reading, I personally would prefer the physical touch, the “feel”, of the cards themselves. Yet it is probably all a question of what you get used to. I am sure that readings of both types are equally valid, so far as results go.”

The tarot deck being adapted is your Buckland Romani Tarot. What is your relationship with this work today, over a decade since its initial release? Are there any specific qualities about this deck that you think suit it for this new digital format? 

“This is a deck of which I am extremely proud. Lissanne Lake (the artist) interpreted my ideas and pictures of the cards to perfection. Consequently I use these cards myself and have done since their first introduction. The “color” of the Romani/Gypsy lifestyle together with the actual coloring of the cards makes this deck especially suitable for the digital format, I feel. The cards are eye-catching and attention-holding; important for a divination deck.”

Finally, is this just the beginning in terms of you exploring ways to adapt your work for an age of social media sites and mobile devices, or is this more an isolated experiment? Have you any plans for future projects like this?

“We have to move with the times. I have a number of my books available on Kindle and other e-readers. I would very much like to see my Alchemy Deck & Book as an app. I have put out a DVD (Witchcraft: Rebirth of the Old Religion) and a couple of CDs. As I get back the rights to works that have gone out of print, I am definitely looking to offering them in a newer format. Yes, I am most certainly exploring ways to adapt my work. One of the joys to this new digital age is the ease with which so many things can be brought to so many people around the globe.”

The Buckland Romani Tarot is available now at the Apple app store. The Fool’s Dog is currently working to port their tarot apps to Android devices and hope to have something on Android before the end of 2013.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

There are times when you just can’t get to the computer for several hours per day to blog, one of those is when you’re trying to pack and engage in a cross-country move. This week I’ll be pulling up stakes and moving from the Midwest (Milwaukee) to the Pacific Northwest (specifically, Eugene, Oregon). But don’t despair! While I’ll be driving through Montana with my wife and two cats (two, upset, angry, cats), The Wild Hunt will be featuring a wide assortment of vibrant, challenging, and innovative voices from within (and occasionally from without) modern Paganism while I’m gone. Here’s the run-down of The Wild Hunt’s amazing guest bloggers!

July 14thBrendan Myers

Dr. Brendan Myers, Ph.D. is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the subject of ethics and philosophy, environmentalism, Celtic and European mythology, folklore, society and politics, and spirituality. They have been used as inspirational and educational resources by college professors, social activist groups, interfaith groups, Celtic cultural associations, and even humanist societies, in many countries around the world. Brendan’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, podcasts, and radio shows (including America’s NPR). He is the 2008 recipient of OBOD’s prestigious Mt. Haemus Award for recent research in Druidry.

July 15thElysia Gallo

Elysia Gallo is an Acquisitions Editor at Llewellyn Worldwide, the oldest and largest independent New Age publisher in the United States. She acquires books for publication in such topics as Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, magic(k), herbalism, and the paranormal. She lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband and two cats.

July 16thCat Chapin-Bishop

Wiccan since the late ’80s, Cat Chapin-Bishop has also been Quaker since 2001. Cat’s essays have appeared in Laura Wildman’s “Celebrating the Pagan Soul”, “The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies”, the Covenant of the Goddess newsletter, and “Enchante: The Journal for the Urbane Pagan”. In addition to her work as a Wiccan HPs, Cat is the former Chair of Cherry Hill Seminary’s Pastoral Counseling Department, and she currently serves on the Ministry and Worship Committee of Mt. Toby Quaker meeting. Cat and her husband maintain Quaker Pagan Reflections, a blog dedicated to exploring the connections between Pagan spirituality and Quaker practice. They reside in Northampton, Massachusetts, where they attempt to live peacefully in the midst of chaos.

July 17thLupa

Lupa is the author of “Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic” and “A Field Guide to Otherkin”. She’s also the co-author of “Kink Magic: Sex Magic Beyond Vanilla” with Taylor Ellwood, and a contributor to the “Magick on the Edge” anthology and “Manifesting Prosperity: A Wealth Magic Anthology”. Additionally, Lupa works as an associate editor, layout tech, and nonfiction publicity/promotions manager for Immanion Press/Megalithica Books. Lupa uses the term pagan for simplicity’s sake, though more accurately she describes herself as a totemist, an animist and a pantheist. She has been studying pagan religions and magical topics for twelve years and practicing for ten years. Currently she is developing and training in therioshamanism.

July 18thJohn Morehead

John Morehead is a researcher, writer, and speaker in intercultural studies, new religious movements, theology and popular culture. He has an M.A. degree in intercultural studies from Salt Lake Theological Seminary which included a thesis on Burning Man Festival. He also has an avid interest in aspects of pop culture, particularly myth and archetype as well as the social, cultural and religious dimensions of fantasy, sci fi,and horror. John lives in the greater Salt Lake City area with his wife and two children. Be sure to check out his excellent TheoFantastique blog!

July 19th Caroline Kenner

A longtime Washington D.C. activist in in feminism and environmentalism, Caroline Kenner now uses her skills to advocate for modern Pagans. In 2006 and 2007 Kenner called pan-Pagan rallies in Washington D.C. to demand religious freedom and equality. The 2007 rally was particularly auspicious as it celebrated the recently-won right to place the Pentacle, equivalent to the Cross, Star, or Crescent, on military grave markers. The event united several large Pagan organizations working to establish Pagan military chaplains and the approval of other specific Pagan symbols worn by Pagan and Heathen veterans. In addition to her activism, Caroline is a graduate of The Foundation for Shamanic Studies‘ Three Year Program in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing. Caroline also holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.S. from Boston University. She has practiced shamanism since 1989.

July 20th Chas Clifton

Chas S. Clifton has been blogging since 2003, when he converted his Pagan magazine column, “Letter from Hardscrabble Creek,” into a blog. A widely published Pagan writer, he is the author of “Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America”. He also edits “The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies”.

July 21stJames R. French

James R. French has been interested in Magick and Paganism since adolescence. He is an Adept of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn and a Reiki Master. (Mr. French wants us to understand that “Adept” and “Master” are titles within these respective lineages. They do not necessarily indicate anything beyond that.)

July 22ndThorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle is a magic worker, mystic, musician, and author of “Evolutionary Witchcraft” and “Kissing the Limitless.” She teaches internationally. Her blog can be found at yezida.livejournal.com or http://www.thorncoyle.com/musings.html.

July 23rdSannion

H. Jeremiah Lewis, also known by his religious name Sannion, is a Greco-Egyptian polytheist who has been actively honoring the gods since around 1993. He has lived all over the country, including Alaska, Nevada, New York, Montana, Washington and Oregon (where he currently resides), and has worked the standard assortment of odd jobs that every aspiring author needs to get by with. Mr. Lewis divides his time between an insanely intense religious practice, writing, research, helping to organize the activities of Neos Alexandria, and directing the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. There isn’t much time for anything else.

July 24thPeg Aloi

Peg Aloi is a Pagan and a scholar who works in both the academic and popular arenas. She is a writer on Paganism and the media for Witchvox, is the co-editor with Hanna E. Johnston of the new volume “The New Generation Witches: Teenage Witchcraft in Contemporary Culture” (Ashgate, 2007), and is currently co-authoring a book with Hannah titled “The Celluloid Bough: Cinema in the Wake of the Occult Revival”.

Please give all of them a warm and hospitable welcome, I’m certain they will all contribute something special to The Wild Hunt. The gods and my new DSL service willing, I should be back to my regular posting schedule by July 25th. Make sure to keep things respectful and polite in the comments while I’m gone, the assorted hells hath no fury like a vacationing blogger who has to log in to a WiFi spot in Idaho to engage in some blog moderation.

MagickTV has posted video coverage of the pre-inaugural “Ritual of Unity and Blessing” in Washington D.C. that I reported on earlier this month. This includes an hour-long video of the ritual itself, and interviews with the organizers.

Above, the ritual.

Above, the interviews.

Thanks to MagickTV and Ed Hubbard for providing this first-hand coverage of the event. While I know it’s somewhat fashionable to poke fun at the Witch School folks, they really deserve a hats-off for their efforts to provide Pagan journalism with some first-rate source material. Be sure to also check out their recent coverage of the Livingston Parish win. If you have a YouTube account, I highly recommend subscribing to MagickTV’s channel.

Inaugural fever is heating up in Washington DC, and millions of people are expected to be on hand for Barack Obama’s inauguration. Since all those people won’t fit into (or weren’t invited to) the 10 official balls the Obamas will be attending, several lobbies, special interest groups, and private citizens are throwing their own bashes (with varying degrees of fabulousness).  Unsurprisingly, Pagans, who overwhelmingly supported Obama in the election, are getting in on the action. The day before the inauguration, a group of Pagans and magical/spiritual progressives will be gathering at the Jefferson Memorial to do some cleansing spell-work (and since these are Pagans, have a drum-jam).

The Washington, D.C. community of magical and spiritual progressives will join together on Monday afternoon, January 19th, at the Jefferson Memorial Plaza to sweep the town clean and welcome President-elect Obama and his administration to the White House. The Ritual of Unity and Blessing is organized by a triumvirate of native Washingtonians, one of whom is the great-granddaughter of slaves, one the great-granddaughter of slave owners, and one the daughter of a populist New Deal Congressman.  The ceremony will begin promptly at 2pm with a Witches’ Broom Dance, intended to cleanse Washington of the malfeasance, deceit and partisanship of the last eight years.

The main organizers of the event are Pagan activist Caroline Kenner (who organized the Veterens’ Pentacle win rally), Wiccan Priestess Katrina Messenger, founder of Connect DC, and Caroline W. Casey, founder of Coyote Network News. The main ritual will culminate in the charging of an obelisk-shaped crystal (like the Washington Monument) that will be dropped into (“sacrificed to”) the Tidal Basin so that its energies can “broadcast” over the festivities on the 20th. For more details check, here, after January 9th.

Speaking of the Washington Monument, obelisks, and broadcasting energies, some of you might be interested to learn that there will be an official Masonic Inagural Ball (the first ever, or at least the first one ever publicly announced) taking place on January 20th.

While other inauguration balls are costing $125-$500 or more per ticket, we’ve arranged for an evening with some amazing food, a great DJ, and brotherhood, all for $65 per ticket, we’ve also included an incentive to help pay the baby sitter, couples may go for just $120 a piece. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Masonic Foundation of the District of Columbia.

I know there has been something of a mini-renaissance of younger people (and sometimes esotericly-inclined practitioners) joining up with the Freemasons in recent years, so this might be a good way to attend a ball and do some networking (cash bar though, pity). I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before considering the rich history of Masonic US Presidents.

If you have any information of any other Pagan, esoteric, occult, or magical events taking place over the inaugural weekend, feel free to plug them in the comments.