Pagan Community Notes: Week of May 2, 2024

TWH – With the Beltaine season upon us, Patricia Woodruff sent us a reflection of the upcoming visit from summer spirits. She shares that her Slavic Lemko heritage is from the Carpathian mountains and she is following the spirit-initiated path of a Lemko Bosorka (shamanic witch.) Her broad knowledge base combined with in-depth cultural studies are providing groundbreaking new insights on the roots of Slavic Magic. She is the author of Woodruff’s Guide to Slavic Deities (2020) a shorter version of her Roots of Slavic Magic Book 1: Slavic Deities & Their Worship (2024).


In May or early June of 2024, you will be hearing all about cicadas in the news but they might not mention the Pagan connections.  You may also be overwhelmed with the sound of them “singing” since two different groups will be emerging at the same time.  Cicadas will spend a period of time underground and then emerge to mate.  This instinct is not fully understood yet, but scientists can tell that this year both the 13-year cicadas and the 17-year cicadas will emerge around the same time.  Their numbers are estimated to be in the hundreds of trillions or may even reach into the quadrillions!

This year’s emergence is mostly centered in Illinois but can also be observed (and heard) in the US states of Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, into Kentucky, and Tennessee, and a swath from Mississippi up through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, into Virginia and Delaware.

Bacchante, drawing, attributed to William Etty (MET, 41.96)

Many of us grew up hearing Aesop’s Fable with the industrious Ant contrasted with the carelessly singing Grasshopper, other variations are recorded featuring the singing cicada (or cricket).  The cicada is probably in the original telling with Aesop since these are known in Greece, whereas the retelling with the grasshopper was by a Frenchman who was more familiar with grasshoppers.  Researcher Dr. J.G. Myers attests to the antiquity of the tale based on its wide distribution.

In Macedonia, cicadas are perceived as bringing luck and wealth, much like grasshoppers in other areas.  Dr. Myers writes, “In a part of Macedonia when the peasants capture a cicada they bury it in the field, believing that disinterment after a sufficient lapse of time will produce money in its place.”

Cicadas are perceived as a sign of spring/summer since they don’t emerge until the soil reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit.  In warmer areas, they will arrive around the time of the Summer Solstice and the rise of Sirius, the Dog Star.  The chirping of cicadas can be used to figure out the temperature since the hotter it is, the faster they chirp.

The last time these two groups of cicadas emerged at the same time in Illinois was in 1803 and yet our ancient ancestors also saw this phenomenon in other parts of the world.  What they observed is that these insects can spend many years underground before they emerge again, just like the Ancestors in the immortal cycle of rebirth.  So of course, these insects were connected to the Ancestors and were a symbol of being reborn.  Like other insects, cicadas can be perceived as an embodiment of a spirit flying around.  This is why the word “bug” connects to the Celtic word for “ghost” and the Slavic name for a god, “bog” (pronounced boog).   Even in China, a custom arose between around 1000 BCE of putting a cicada amulet on the tongue of the deceased to help the immortal spirit separate from the body.

It was also observed that when cicadas come out of the ground, they apparently don’t eat (actually they do suck a little sap from small branches) but to the ancient Greeks they appeared to live on “dew and air”.  The cicada is sacred to the goddess of dawn by whatever name you use: Austeja, Usas, Eos, Aurora, etc, the Goddess that produces the dew.  The cicada is also a sacred animal of the young Lord of Light, Apollo, as well as Auseklis and the Latvian god, Ūsiņš.  Cicadas are thought to be deeply connected to the Greek Muses because of their singing and being so wrapped up in their inspiration that they forget to eat.  Cicadas are seen as the spirit of music and poetry.  Scholar Monika Kropej sees the cicada as possibly being connected to the Slavic deities of Vida and Vid (Vita and Vit/ Svantovit).

The goal of the emerging cicadas is to procreate, which is why the males generate that loud, shrill mating sounds to attract a partner.  Unlike crickets that rub their legs together, the sound is produced by a cymbal organ which produces a clicking sound. Between all of this, it connects the cicada to “singing”, music, erotica, sexuality, spiritual ecstasy, and spiritual realization.  The Greeks perceived these insects to be drunk on dew, and so they were connected with the god Pan, Dionysus, as well as the ecstatic bacchae and maenads with their chiming cymbals and tambourines.

Tweeted from Space Station [Courtesy NASA

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  NASA says we are in for a treat this weekend in our skies.  The Eta Aquariids will go through a burst of meteors.  This year’s eta Aquariid meteor shower promises an exceptional celestial display, boasting meteor rates of up to one per minute! Traditionally, the peak viewing window falls on the night of May 4 through the early hours of May 5. However, an unexpected outburst expands the prime skywatching opportunity from May 2 to May 6. We won’t see a similar burst until 2046.

Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, explains that many of these shooting stars originate from debris shed by Halley’s Comet approximately 3,000 years ago. As Earth intersects this ancient material, luminous streaks adorn the night sky. Occasionally, when our planet traverses dense clusters of this debris, it triggers a meteor outburst. The next anticipated occurrence of such a spectacle won’t be for another two decades.


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The Polk County Pagan Market‘s Beltane Festival 2024 – May 4, 2024, in Livingston, Texas. 


The Pagan Pop Up Market and Beltaine in the Park will take place next weekend in San Diego, California hosted by the Sacred Flame, an inclusive magickal community based in San Diego.


Circle Sanctuary’s Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) is one of America’s oldest and largest Nature Spirituality festivals. Since 1980, PSG has been bringing together Pagans of many paths and places to create community, celebrate the summer solstice, and commune with nature in a sacred environment.

Registration is now open for the 2024 Pagan Spirit Gathering, a national weeklong celebration of Summer Solstice, being held June 16-23 in south central Missouri, USA. This year’s theme is Resonating Radiance.

Pagan Spirit Gathering, also known as PSG, brings together Pagans of many paths and places to create and live in a magickal village community. The Gathering includes rituals, workshops, concerts, merchanting, bonfires, drumming, candlelight labyrinth, Pagan Leadership Institute, life passages programs, and other activities. Learn more & register.

The Delmarva Pagan Pride Festival will be offered June 30th, 2024 rain or shine at the Dover, DE outdoor Legislative Mall. This incredible day of classes, music, ritual, and shopping is offered to the community at no cost but we do encourage bringing a canned good donation for the local food bank which can be dropped off at the information desk. Please see our Facebook page for guest announcements and schedule releases. All are welcome, hope to see you there!

The Mystic South Conference announced that the sixth annual event will take place July 26-28, 2024! Mystic South is filled with workshops, educational abstract presentations, rituals, community building, and much more. With the backdrop of the grand city of Atlanta, be a part of our celebration of the diversity of the peoples and religious practices, both past and present, that make up the Southern US region.

The conference also announced that their tickets are on sale. Get your tickets now and, get some for your friends, your neighbors, or just some random person you met on the street!

Tarot of the Week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Joie de Vivre Tarot Uncommon Tarot by Paulina Cassidy, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: King of Cups

The next seven days are likely to encompass a focus on creative endeavors and the desire to express what is most passionately felt. There is also an emphasis on keeping emotions in check, making sure a balanced and compassionate approach is taken in exchanges with others.

Contrarily, too much internal focus is liable to result in being removed from situations and even emotionally withdrawn. However, personal emotional turmoil and upset has the potential to create drama with others.

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