Archives For Invocatio

Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone

Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone

“I would call myself a priestess above all else, even before calling myself a witch. My life is about service to the divine, dedicated to the gods, to serving spirit and to healing others – I trained with quite an eminent psychologist apart from my witchcraft training. A lot of people come to Gavin and myself for healings and readings, and, within our group we do healing circles. It’s not ‘spellcraft’ as such, but more a form of controlled distance healing that any spiritualist would recognise. A spell is really a way of focusing psychic energy in a ritualised way. All ethical magic for us is about healing. We don’t do love spells, and we’re more likely to do a spell for physical healing or to help someone get a job or new home, rather than one for money. […] I feel fulfilled in what I do, and know my life has a greater purpose. I also have no fear of tomorrow; I know that the universe always unfolds as it should, and by serving spirit I will always be looked after by the powers that be.” – Wiccan Priestess Janet Farrar, in an interview with the Irish Independent.

Vivianne Crowley

Vivianne Crowley

“We are entering the astrological sign of Virgo, the sign of Our Lady of the Harvest. The Harvest Goddess is an important deity for everyone. Whether we live in the centre of a city or in the countryside, we are dependent on the crop cycle for food and life. Here in Brittany, the Celtic north-west of rural France, the grain in the fields around us has been reaped and threshed. The ears are ready to be transformed into flour and then bread; the stalks will provide animal food and bedding. The reality of humankind’s dependence on the natural world is all around us. The end of the grain harvest is a natural time for us to celebrate and to honor the harvest Goddess. It was a time when people could take a brief break from back-breaking work. Knowing that the grain was safely harvested, our ancestors could celebrate that there was food for the winter to come. The Harvest Goddess is the dark-skinned Goddess, who survived into the Christian era as the Black Madonna. She is the Goddess of those who farm and garden, who spend long hours outdoors and are burned by the sun. She is the Goddess of the ripened corn, Lady of the golden sun-kissed fields. She reminds us that life in the body and the natural world are as important as the world of spirit.” – Vivianne Crowley, on Our Lady of the Harvest.

Chas Clifton

Chas Clifton

“As I came out of the dry juniper and oak brush into the lusher creekside vegetation hawk flew low over me — an accipter, probably a sharp-shinned hawk. Its head turned, and it looked at me. It felt like a welcome, I thought. ‘Bullshit,’ I told myself, ‘it’s just cruising the riparian zone looking for lunch. I happened to be here, so it checked me out.’ Maybe the flip side of the New Animism — the focus on relationships between yourself and the other-than-human world — is that you cannot think that these encounters are All About You. The wild birds are always watching, and they do talk to you. And they talk about you. Several times I have had crows and Steller’s jayvs tell me something when I was hunting deer or elk — but it is up to me to act correctly on their information. Apparently our relationship is not yet perfectly harmonious. But if they would help me more, they would have something to eat. Isn’t that fair? What gets under my skin is when someone says something like, “My totem is Hawk,” because I want to know which hawk? There is a boatload of difference between a Cooper’s hawk and a Mississippi kite, for instance. (Oh well, they probably meant red-tailed hawk anyway, the pickup truck of buteos — large, useful, and ubiquitous.)” – Chas Clifton, on looking at, and listening to, birds.

Sam Webster (with Herm), photo by Tony Mierzwicki.

Sam Webster

“To understand our importance to the world, we need to realize that we are something new. We are building a new religious way of life that is embodied, life affirming, and in harmony with the natural, non-human, World. Building a new religion is far more creative and revolutionary than merely resuscitating a survival of ancient days. That a religion can be at all created in modern times is a profound threat to the established authoritarian faiths around us. (Not so much to the ‘Foreigns’ and the Indigenous, with whom we have significant common cause.) Every effort to assimilate us to their culture, that of the ‘faiths’, will be made, including ignoring the simple truth of what we are. We Pagan folk practice a new religion, founded on the old, the foreign, and the indigenous. We combine all of the World’s spiritual inheritance into a open, inclusive mode of personal spirituality and communal worship that finds the Sacred in the non-human World as well as in ourselves. Our historical relationship with science, as with other cultures, places us in a unique position to help our species survive its greatest challenge ever: becoming adult. We who do this, we are Pagan.” – Sam Webster, on who’s Pagan.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“As I was thinking about the cycles of the year, I noticed that in seeing all the ways my work for justice felt ineffective and not enough, I hadn’t been taking time to reflect on what my harvest actually was for the past year. I had not allowed myself to take stock. My harvest is great. It includes: having a new book published, organizing a monthly vigil for those killed by police violence, spearheading discussions on racism and privilege in my community, making sure monthly devotionals happen, teaching, offering spiritual direction, increasing my level of health, scrubbing pots at the soup kitchen, enjoying our garden, spending time with friends… I’ve done a lot this year, and have even taken more time to inquire after what my heart and soul want. That latter, that deep contemplation and listening, are part of what is causing great dis-ease around the news that fills my twitter stream daily. My heart and soul are not satisfied. I want to be more effective in the help I offer.” – T. Thorn Coyle, on rethinking the harvest.

Rain Webster

Rain Webster

“Mine is an American Path. It is the path of a mutt who does not feel closely aligned to any particular ancestral experience other than my own unique American experience. I am mostly of European descent. I do have a bit of Irish in me, but I am also English, French, German, and Dutch, with a bit of Native American and who knows what else thrown into the mix. My family has never observed any traditions that could be identified as belonging to any particular ethnic group.  […] The point is, I value my American experience. It is part of who I am. I may have European ancestors, but my family has been in the U.S. for as long as anyone can remember. Our ancestors have mingled to the point where any ethnic identity we might have retained from the Old World (s?) has been lost. Why cling to Old World religions when my personal identity is in no way connected to the Old World?  Maybe it is just a matter of semantics. You call it Samhain; I call it Halloween. You celebrate Yule, while I light candles for the Winter Solstice. I make my planting and harvesting decisions based on the geographic zone in which I currently live. Those dates have differed, as I have moved from southern Illinois to Texas to Hawaii to North Dakota, and finally to Wisconsin where I now reside. I celebrate the Earth and Mother Nature when I turn the soil, plant the seed, pull the weed, and harvest the fruits of my labor.  I will continue to call things by the names that I have always called them. To do otherwise would be inauthentic to my personal experience. The only difference is, I now do these things with a distinct purpose in mind.” – Rain Webster, on forging a distinctly American Pagan path.

Donald Michael Kraig

Donald Michael Kraig

“I have seen various versions of “improved” versions of the Golden Dawn rituals and teachings. Ignoring the changes that are made for political reasons to try and give extra power to individuals, most (but not all) of the changes I’ve seen have one thing in common: they were created by people based on personal philosophical beliefs rather than an inner understanding of the teachings. One of my favorite examples of this is that some groups have changed the use of the word “Lord” in Golden Dawn rituals to “Lord and Lady” or “Deity.” On a superficial level I fully understand this. At the time the GD was founded, even though the Order was amazingly non-sexist in practice, the members still used a language that, following the practices of the time, was sexist. I am in favor of eliminating sexism. However, this change deconstructs the rituals, changing life-altering mystical symbolism into an English-only ritualized drama and, for that section, nothing more.” – Donald Michael Kraig, on why change is (and isn’t) good for magick.

Deborah Oak

Deborah Oak

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the core tenets of my practice as a Pagan psychotherapist.  Buddhism is currently in fashion in my profession,  mindfulness turning out to be just as useful (if even more) in creating emotional well-being as analyzing family dynamics.   Are there particular things that we earth-worshippers do that inform my profession?  Psychotherapy truly is more art than science, and it figures that many of us who are in the Craft have something to teach other healing artists of hearts and minds. This week one of my core tenets has me laughing. I believe, and try to transmit to my clients, that the world wants to be in meaningful conversation with us.  Once we accept this as true, and cock our ear towards it, the world will not shut up.  Under great distress, of course, it’s hard to listen to anything or anyone. Anxiety and fear can operate as mighty misfiring car alarms, drowning out any truth of the real threat or danger. The Buddhist gift of  mindfullness  is a damn fine tool for re-calibrating the human car alarm. But then what? That’s where I think we Pagans have something to offer. We know how to carry on mytho-poetic conversations with the world, and any rich conversation like that makes human life a hell of a lot more meaningful, if not more interesting.” – Deborah Oak, on listening, and receiving the message.

Sarah Veale

Sarah Veale

“When we think of magic in the ancient world, we tend to think that what we today consider magic was, back then, simply religion. Certainly this holds true for things like worshiping many gods, divining the future, or other such activities. But there definitely was a subset of ancient practice that was considered to be against the grain. Those engaging in such practices go by many names:  magoi (a term used to refer to ‘Eastern’ holy men), pharmakeis (those skilled with drugs and potions), goetes (spiritual practitioners who engaged the dead), and epodoi (singers of incantations). But all had one thing in common: they were perceived as working against nature, and thus society in general. According to Matthew Dickie, this is the dividing line between religion and magic in the ancient world. One appeases the Gods in a socially sanctioned manner, the latter employs a special skill to bend the natural forces out of alignment […] Working with this model, it should come as no surprise that allegations of magic—i.e. engaging in socially deviant behaviour—were often targeted at those most marginalized in society. In fact, it was within these dis-enfranchised sectors where magic appeared to flourished most. Women, in particular prostitutes, were seen as experts in the magical arts.” – Sarah Veale, on love spells, prostitutes, and poison.

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!

James L. Bianchi

James L. Bianchi

Earlier this year, I reported on an emergency Pagan conclave in California to discuss proposed regulations by the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) relating to religious items allowed by incarcerated Pagans. This “Religious Property Matrix” would significantly change the way religious materials were handled, and Pagan prison chaplains wrote impassioned editorials both for and against the new guidelines. Now, James L. Bianchi of the House of Danu’s chaplaincy program, who called the initial conclave, has issued a press release on proposed revisions to the property matrix that address many (but not all) concerns voiced by Pagans. Quote: “Though the revisions in the proposed Matrix represent substantial progress, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that the spiritual needs of our people are accommodated as required by federal law, and that Pagans enjoy the same religious freedoms as other religious traditions as required by the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.” You can see the proposed revisions, here. Public comments on these changes are open until July 16th at 5pm, and can be sent to Timothy M. Lockwood, Chief, Regulation and Policy Management Branch, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Chalice & Blade

Chalice & Blade

From our “better late than never” department: Pagan band Chalice & Blade, which features songwriter and podcaster Mojo of The Wigglian Way, had one of their most popular songs, “I Hear You Calling,” featured on the US television show “Being Human” earlier this year. The episode “One is Silver and The Other Pagan” aired in February of this year, and is available for rental at Amazon.com for those who’d like to see it. As one might expect, the episode features a Wiccan coven: “In order to begin reconstructing a new life for herself, Sally seeks out Bridget, her old best friend. Bridget is unusually calm about Sally’s sudden reappearance as a flesh and blood human, which prompts Sally to ask a few questions. Bridget, it seems, has taken up with a local Wiccan group.” Due to the renewed interest in their music, Mojo, along with singer Wendy, have re-formed the band as a duo and are now playing gigs again. Chalice & Blade’s last album was 2006’s “Wild Hunt,” available at CD Baby. Congratulations to Chalice & Blade!

Glenn Turner (Photo: OaklandNorth)

Glenn Turner

The 2013 TheurgiCon, is coming up this Weekend, July 13th, at the Bay Area Thelemic Temple in Oakland. TheurgiCon was founded in 2010 by Glenn Turner, who also founded PantheaCon, and features discussions on Neo-Platonism and theurgy. This year, featured speakers include Don Frew (who provides a look at the non-Greek Hermetic texts), Richard Reidy (speaking on Iamblichus and divine possession) and T. Thorn Coyle, who will be talking about theurgy in practice. Quote: “Theurgists such as Iamblichus instructed us to work from gross to fine in our operations. But what does this mean? How can we best approach this? There is a simple formulation: Thought. Energy. Emotion. Matter. The contemporary magic worker can use these levels to gauge what is missing from her magic, uncovering how best to approach the Gods and any theurgic operation. This session will include discussion and a diagnostic meditative working.” This one-day intensive costs $40, and includes meals. You can read previous Wild Hunt coverage of this event, here.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 10.19.50 AMOn June 21st, a new book entitled “Cults and Criminals: Unraveling the Myths” was published, co-authored by Dr. David Oringderff, co-founder of Sacred Well Congregation, and “occult crimes expert” Don Rimer, who passed away at the beginning of 2012. The book claims to take you “beyond the hype” of occult crime. Quote: “There is likely no term that strikes holy terror in the western mind more than “Satanic Cult!” Most cults are not “Satanic.” Most criminals who commit horrific crimes, leaving satanic symbols, often in the victim’s blood, at the crime scene are not “Satanists.” This book takes you beyond the hype, hyperbole, misinformation, disinformation and urban legends of pop culture and mass media that suggest that all cults, cultic and occultic activities are inextricably intertwined with criminal activity. That is a fatally-flawed assumption. The truth is that most criminals are criminal and most cults are cults, and sometimes their paths cross.” The book makes it sound like it debunks the majority of “occult crime,” which would be a welcome narrative within law enforcement. Don Rimer was quoted in 2011 saying that “occult crime happens all over the world and it’s growing,”  so perhaps Mr. Rimer had a change of heart in the last years of his life? Anything is possible, and I certainly respect the work of Dr. Oringderff highly, so I’ll approach the book with an open mind.

 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!

Pagan Studies Journal The Pomegranate Releases New Issue: At his blog, editor Chas Clifton announces that issue 13.2 of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies is now available online. There are number of interesting pieces, including two free review articles, one from Tamara Ingels on shamanic artist Joska Soos, and one from historian Ronald Hutton entitled: “Revisionism and Counter-Revisionism in Pagan History.”

Good Hutton Pic

Ronald Hutton

“During the past few years, a series of heated arguments have broken out among Pagans across the Western world, but much more particularly in North America and Australia, about the historical context of modern Paganism. This has been provoked by extensive scholarly revision of the traditional portrait of that context, which has caused dismay and anger among some Pagans. Their reactions have in turn produced similar emotions among some of their co-religionists and professional scholars (the two groups often overlapping). This review essay is intended to clarify the issues that are being debated; to examine the potential for Pagans to write their own history; to look at points at which the arguments may have provided useful historical insights; and to suggest a likely outcome for the controversy.”

I can already hear the partisans regarding Hutton preparing their talking points, but I do hope everyone reads the article first, as Hutton attempts to explore the recent trends of revisionism and counter-revisionism in Pagan history, notes places where he has changed his thinking, and suggests a way forward for all parties. He also, if I may indulge my ego for a moment, name-drops The Wild Hunt.

For those not terribly invested in the ongoing debates regarding Hutton’s work, let me urge you to subscribe to The Pomegranate, as subscribers also get access to fascinating articles like: “Robert Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft: Feuds, Secrets and Mysteries in Contemporary British Witchcraft” by Ethan Doyle White,  “The Heart of Thelema: Morality, Amorality, and Immorality in Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic Cult” by Mogg Morgan, and more. This is the beating heart of Pagan Studies, and we should treasure the work they do.

Witch School International Welcomes New Leadership: Popular online learning hub Witch School International has named a new leadership team. The new team includes  Lindsay Irvin, Director of Operations, David Moore, President of Tarot College, and Chief Technician Mike Ferrell will become Witch School’s new CEO. Outgoing CEO Ed Hubbard praised Ferrell’s skills, and said that “he has a deep understanding of how the Internet works, as well as working with global members. He will also be able to implement the move into other forms of interface such as tablet and mobile. WSI, Inc. is facing a wonderful future; Michael is the individual who will lead that effort.” In addition, Rev. Don Lewis announced that he was stepping down as Chancellor  of Witch School, though he will still take an active role in developing content for Witch School in the years ahead.

Witch School circa 2007, Rev. Don Lewis is in the center, and incoming WSI CEO is second from the right.

Witch School circa 2007, Rev. Don Lewis is in the center, and incoming WSI CEO Mike Ferrell is second from the right.

“Some people are asking if I will still be Chancellor of Witch School. The answer to this is no. This last year has necessitated many changes, and I have found that I cannot effectively be Chancellor of both Witch School and Chancellor of the Correllian Tradition. Witch School is independent of the Tradition with widely different duties best handled by Michael and Lindsay. I will however continue to be highly involved with Witch School. I will be continuing to provide content for Witch School, Tarot College, and Magick TV, and I am very happy in that role. In particular I have spent much of the last year working on the long-anticipated Correllian video lessons which will be making their debut soon, and which I feel will be a revolutionary development in their way. I am also working on a variety of other instructional materials for the future.”

As for Hubbard, who with the Rev. Don Lewis helped shape Witch School, he will, quote, “act as a support consultant, to ease the changeover to new leadership.” He will also remain active in the Pagans Tonight Radio Network. We wish them the best of luck during this time of change and transition.

Pictures from Patrick McCollum’s India Trip: For those of you who enjoyed my article about Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum participating in the Kumbh Mela, the Patrick McCollum Foundation has started to post photos of his experiences there.

Patrick McCollum participates in a blessing at the Sangam.

Patrick McCollum participates in a blessing at the Sangam.

Patrick McCollum and H. H. Puja Swami Saraswati set an example on how to restore the beauty of the sacred Ganges River by personally mucking trash.

Patrick McCollum and H. H. Puja Swami Saraswati set an example on how to restore the beauty of the sacred Ganges River by personally mucking trash.

“We must be the example of what we want to see.  If we want our brothers and sisters to honor our planet, we cannot walk on flower petals and drink milk and honey.  We must instead choose the filthiest example of what we want to change and get down in the mud and clean it up.”Patrick McCollum, in a statement to Indian press about mucking trash in the Ganges River.

For more updates stay tuned to the Patrick McCollum Foundation blog and Facebook page.

In Other Community News: 

  • Coru Cathubodua Priesthood and Solar Cross Temple are hosting a devotional blood drive at this year’s PantheaCon in San Jose. Quote: “Every three seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Coru Priesthood and Solar Cross are hosting this blood drive as an act of kinship, hospitality and devotion to our community and to the Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty, prophecy, and battle. We encourage all people to donate the gift of life, whether in the name of your own deities, the Morrigan or without devotional intent.” Interested parties should register, here, and use the sponsor code “PCon.” More here.
  • The excellent Invocatio blog announces that the Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity (NSEA) has launched their new website, AncientEsotericism.org. Quote: “The website is designed as a one-stop resource for pretty much every thing you might want to study in antiquity. (Seriously, the amount of things we have collected in one place is massive!) Even more, it is hoped that through the contributions of others working in the field the website will continue to grow.”
  • CAORANN, Celts Against Oppression, Racism, and Neo-Nazism, have issued an official statement of solidarity with the Idle No More movement. They also counsel non-Native/Indigenous/First Nations peoples against appropriation or hijacking the movement from its primary focus. Quote: “We urge our members and supporters of CAORANN to support Idle No More if their conscience leads them to do so. But we ask that non-Natives attend Idle No More events to support the Indigenous people, and to follow their guidance – to be there in solidarity, not to try to lead, and to listen more than they speak. We stress that this is a movement led by Indigenous women, and we are committed to making sure that remains the case.”
  • Ethan Doyle White at Albion Calling has posted the most recent interview with Pagan Studies scholars, this time with Caroline Tully. Quote: “Most Pagan Studies scholars seem to be in disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, religious studies, theology, history and archaeology. I didn’t go to university in order to be a Pagan Studies scholar specifically, but to study ancient pagan religions and to compare them with modern Paganism.”

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