The Cauldron of Rebirth

by Jesper Toad

47022405_1114438622053531_9021174249393487872_nThe Cauldron of Rebirth

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”

~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

 

She gathers them up, all the broken threads, frayed, unremembered, unraveled, placing every small bit of fiber into her great cauldron.  They spin and swirl in the immense darkness, remembering and forgetting what they were, dreaming of what they will be. At some point the spinning twists these fibers together into a new thread, a new life, to be measured and cut.  A new thread, vibrant with possibility, waits to be woven across the creation in a new pattern.  So it is with the world: nothing is ever wasted, nothing is ever lost.

Between Death and Life

It is an undiscovered country, the territory that lies between our final breath and whatever comes after.  No one has definitively returned from that great unknown to elucidate us. Everything beyond the shroud remains a mystery we are all destined to discover for ourselves, and we fear that at that moment of discovery we will find that we have attended to the wrong tasks, that our values were out of step with the larger narrative of which we are a part, that we have simply wasted the time of our incarnation, or that there is only nothing after life and we merely cease to exist.

But this lacuna between death and life is intolerable, and demands filling.  Various systems of belief—we call them religion and spirituality, although they are no more than variations in our theory on how the world works—have arisen to fill this narrative void.  Some of these points of view are based on observations of the natural world.  Others are dictated by angels, devils, and spirits.  None of them can be verified for accuracy.

Consequently, hold lightly any information on what happens in the afterlife.  No matter how much we fervently believe in the Gates of Heaven, the narrow sword-bridge of As-Sirāt leading to the Hall of Abundance, or the eternal return of reincarnation, they are metaphors for what comes after, not concrete realities.  That being said, what follows is the metaphor I have come to believe concerning the souls’ existence between death and life, and the happenings of that invisible, undiscovered county.

Every culture, every religion, every system of belief, posits an idea of an afterlife.  In the majority of them the spirits or souls of the deceased go into an otherworld that is tenuously connected to our concrete, physical world, and pass time in an existence that resembles the station of the deceased during life.  Usually this afterlife is idyllic, without pain, hunger, or suffering, although some cultures believe that the evil actions during an incarnation meet with punishment, and the good deeds merit reward.  Other belief systems encompass a return of the soul in a new body, sometimes within the family that they had left behind at the advent of their death.

The Eternal Return

The word reincarnation comes to us from the Latin, and means “entering the flesh again.”  The older term, metempsychosis originates with the Pythagoreans.  The notion in reincarnation was probably part of most ancient pre-literate human cultures, and it typical of the shamanic beliefs of hunting and gathering peoples (Mills, 1994, p. 18).  Beliefs systems that include notions of rebirth appear to have spontaneously arisen across the world, and have been document not only in India, but in East Africa, China, among the indigenous tribal peoples of North America, and in Europe, notable among the Greeks and the Celts.  Plato most probably believed in reincarnation.   Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor, writing about the Gauls in the first century, claimed that they believed that their souls were immortal, and that these souls would return after a number of years, reincarnated into new bodies.  Julius Caesar also attributed a belief in metempsychosis to the Celts.

The notion that the souls of the deceased would be reborn may have started with the observations of the seasons.  As the sun ran its course across the vault of the heavens the days would lengthen and shorten.  The world alternated between the warmth of summer, autumns cooling, the dark of winter, and the spring’s thaw.  In time with the changing seasons, seeds gave way to green shoots emerging from the soul, to stems and leaves and eventually flowers, to fruit, and again to seeds in an eternal agricultural round of life and dying.  The young of many animals appeared in the spring, and birds built nests and laid their many colored eggs, from which new life also emerged.  Fish, fowl, and four legged creatures proliferated, and during the warmer months fattened themselves to survive the oncoming winter, when many of them would perish.  Living close to the seasonal renewal of the land, the people of the past did not perceive themselves as separate from the world, but rather as a presence embedded in nature, following the same cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

Respiration is another biological observation that may have led to the development of the idea of metempsychosis.  The people once believed that the newborn drew the invisible, vital soul into a body with the first wailing breaths.  Respiration signaled that a body was ensouled, alive.   Upon the drawing of the final breath life fled, returning the soul back to its element, back into the air, the atmosphere, the wind.  These souls, then, were free to seek out new human bodies to animate.  Alternatively, in the case of the transmigration of souls, any animal or plant that breath imbues with life can house the soul (Wall, 1919, p. 584).  The relationship between the words spirit, respiration, and inspiration are intimately connected in this breathing in and out of the soul.  Additionally, folklore across the world contains descriptions of witches and other magical workers leaving their bodies by way of the mouth, like a departing breath, when they traveled in spirit form.

Many early cultures throughout Europe held to a doctrine of reincarnation, in which the soul returns after death incarnated in a new body.  With the encroachment of the Church, these beliefs conflicted with the tenets of Christianity, and eventually were disallowed and considered heretical. Current research suggests the founder or the Theosophist Society Helena Blavatsky re-introduced the doctrine of reincarnation in the west, where it becomes a part of the Western Mystery Tradition (Hutton, 2001, p. 20).  Later, Gerald Gardner adopts the notion of reincarnation into the cannon of contemporary witchcraft belief.  The Goddess Arrives (1940), a fictional novel in which we begin to see the elements of Gardner’s Wicca beginning to crystallize, concludes with a theory of group reincarnation that appears heavily influenced by the theosophy of Rudolph Steiner (Hutton, 2001, p. 223).  Later, Gardner (1954) lists reincarnation with the activities and beliefs of the Witches outlined in Witchcraft Today (Hutton, 2001, p. 206).

Summerland and Witchdom

The writings of early contemporary witches, such as Gardner and Valiente, propose that when shrug off our mortal coil we continue existence in an idyllic place with those people with which we had lived in our corporeal lives.  This Summerland, as it is sometimes called, is conceived as being located not above, as in the Christian and Islamic afterworlds, but somehow beyond or between, in a world that those of us incarnate cannot detect with our mortal senses, although Valiente (1973) suggests that psychically gifted individuals such as witches can visit that far realm in dreams and visions (p. 36).  As to the nature of the soul’s sojourn in the idyllic afterworld,   Rudolf Steiner (1913), the founder of Anthroposophy, taught that after crossing over in death the soul focuses upon the memories and connections it has left behind, reflecting on the most recent incarnation.

Personally, I hold that the location of all afterlives—Heaven, Hell, Summerland, or what have you—have their existence in the Imaginal Realm: that place that co-exists with the physical world of flesh and bone, a habitation of thought and emotion and mind that some occultists refer to as the astral.  Souls recently deceased dwell there for a time (decades if we are to believe Steiner) continuing an existence much like what they experienced in life.  Doreen Valiente’s (1989) experiences with altered consciousness and her encounters with John “Nicholas” Breakspear, a witch that supposedly lived in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, appears to parallel this notion of the disincarnate continuing their existence in the Imaginal Realm1.  During Valiente’s interactions, Breakspear refers to a place called Witchdom, located in the Inner Planes or Other World, and describes the delights of the sabbat, replete with music and dances (pp. 100-114).

The research into folklore and the European witch trials by Ginzberg (1991), Pócs (1999), and Wilby (2019) suggest that the experience of the Witches’ Sabbat takes place while the practitioner is in an altered consciousness or trance state.  If we take a metaphysical view of these altered states of consciousness that includes experiences described as out of body, then where is the spirit traveling when it attends the nighttime revelries of the Witches?  From the metaphysical standpoint, we might locate Witchdom and the Sabbat in the Imaginal Realm.  The disembodied spirits traveling upon the wind recalls the narrative of the sabbat, with souls flying on straws, brooms, stangs, and goats to the great gathering of witches where they dance, feast, engage in acts of carnal love, and revel in the presence of the greater witch-spirits.

But the souls of the dead don’t stay in this idyllic epilogue forever.

Recycling the Materials of the Soul

My first experience with reincarnation was intense, and that intensity made a believer of me.  In my early twenties I attended a workshop in reincarnation at a local shop, facilitated by a woman who was a hypnotist specializing in past-life regression.  Personally, I was skeptical as to the existence of reincarnation, but I was taking the class so that I could make a more informed opinion.  The instructor began the workshop with general information that I was already familiar with, and then give us a pre-hypnotic suggestion before she started the work of regressing us into our long forgotten past lives.  I went under more easily than I expects, and found myself in a dark Elizabethan inn, with a low ceiling and the timbers painted black (a detail I would not discover was authentic until two decades later).  I was a pale thin young woman, with dishwater hair and hands that had seen too much work for their age.  It was late, and I was cleaning up after the inn had closed for the evening, when a man burst from where he had been hiding in the shadows and assaulted me.  I watched as the person I was in the past was ravaged and raped and left half-conscious on the floor.   This woman died the next morning: a broken rib had punctured her lung.  When the workshop facilitator brought us out of our altered states of consciousness I was in shock, although otherwise unharmed.  The experience had impressed upon me that some there was something to this concept of reincarnation.

The remembrance of this one life opened a floodgate, and I had several more experiences with recalling past lives.  One thing I noted, however, was that the past lives that I could recover were always fragmentary, and that the incidents remembered were always emotionally charged in some way: rape, the pain of childbirth, the intense wonder and anticipation of a child about to board an ocean liner, the shock of recognition, fear, devotion, anger, and regret. It was as if each of the lives remembers had eroded in some way, leaving only those moments welded together through the force of intense emotion.  This observation would prove integral to my understanding of the process of reincarnation as not a continuation of a discrete individual personality—the classic understanding of metempsychosis in the west—but rather a recycling of the imaginal divine stuff of which the invisible portion which composes each individual.  The remembered parts, recalled to the conscious mind of the individual through dreams, artistic creations, through trance work, and meditation, are those portions of our earthly experience that have been crystallized into the soul’s memory through an intensity of emotion.  All of the experiences of a life that are not fixed by emotion remain fluid, and forget themselves after a time in the otherworld, flowing together into some great sea of soul, punctuated in places by frozen experiences—triumphs and traumas—floating like ice in the ocean.  Some witches refer to this as the Cosmic Soup, with the soul losing its individuality as it breaks down and flows into this collective sea of soul, much as the physical body breaks down into chemical components that are recycled and reused.

In short, I believe our death ushers our soul into an imaginal spirit word, but I do not think that this existence is for eternity.  The souls spend time in this imaginal landscape, the stuff of the mundus imaginalis shaping itself to the memory of the discarnate individual.  The dead exist within this pleasant or miserable experience, reflected in and reflecting on their past incarnation, until they slowly forget themselves: the ego boundaries fade, releasing the contents of the soul into some great reservoir.  Witches hold the great Cauldron of Death and Rebirth as the image for this unknowable pool, deep in the mundus imaginalis.  In time a portion of the contents of this great cauldron of rebirth will be allocated to a new incarnation.  That portion includes some memory of the soul, including those experiences that have been frozen or crystallized into the soul material by intense negative or positive emotion.  These insoluble elements float free from one another, no longer bound together.  In time a new individual is formed from this soul stuff, incorporating material from multiple individuals, often including those insoluble elements.

“You belonged to us in the past”

What is it that draws the soul materials toward incarnation?  Perhaps it is these insoluble elements, soul-stuff knit together around moments of joy, love, grief, and terror, which are drawn toward one another and into the flesh to act out the next chapter of their drama.  Many cultures believe that their forebears reincarnate in their descendants, or within the same kin group.  From the perspective of a tribal people, this return of the ancestors might be seen as a favorable occurrence, preferable to giving birth to strangers or outsiders.  Feminist Archeologist Marija Gimbutas suggests that at Neolith subterranean Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum of Malta, a necropolis replete with the remains of thousands of individuals, pregnant women would sleep among the bones of the dead, hoping to allow the incarnation of one of the ancestors (Borg, 2001, p. 57; Noble, 2003, p. 72).  Many indigenous Native American tribes believed that the features of newborn children echoed those of some deceased grandparent (Krickeberg, Walter et al, 1968, p. 161, quoted in Varner, 2010, p. 77).  Some tribes believed that a single soul might reincarnate simultaneously in several descendants (Mills, 2000, quoted in Varner, 2010, p. 78).  Charles Leland (1892) reports it as an esoteric doctrine of death and rebirth among the Romagna witches.  When those of the Strega or witch families die, they reappear again, reincarnating in their descendants.  Leland tells us that this belief is known but rarely discussed outside of the witch families.  When any child is born it is examined for some sign that it is an incarnation of a deceased relative (pp. 244-248).

As mentioned above, this belief in the metempsychosis of the soul is woven into the cannon of Contemporary Witchcrafts.  Gardner, in the Meaning of Witchcraft (1959), informs us that reincarnation is a basic tenet of how witches understand the mysteries of life and death, and this belief in reincarnation extends into a conviction that those that have been a witch in a past incarnation will return as a witch, even if they have no conscious knowledge of that previous incarnation (p. 14).  Valiente tells us that many members of the witch cult—presumably individuals with whom she was personally acquainted—feel as if they have been witches in past lives.  The belief gives rise to the expression “Once a witch, always a witch” (Gardner, 1959, p. 14; Valiente, 1973, p. xvi).  Gardner himself records that the witches that performed his initiation said, “You belonged to us in the past. You are of the blood. Come back to where you belong” (Gardner, 1959, p. 11).  He later  reports that witches past and present believed that they would return to their own people to be among those that they had loved and who had loved them, and that they would “remember, know, and love them again” (p. 25).

The Mighty Dead

The Mighty Ones are occasionally mentioned in the writings of Wicca and Witchcraft, but rarely elucidated upon in such a way to bring about a clear understanding of their nature.   Gardner (1954) remarks the Mighty Ones briefly, suggesting that the Mighty Dead are a result of the evolution of the soul through myriad incarnations (Gardner, p. 16).  Leland’s (1892) research into Witchcraft in Italy encounters folkloric stories in which the souls pass through successive lifetimes as a sorcerer or witch, gaining in might with each successive incarnation (pp. 104-148).  After a number of cycles of death and rebirth these souls cease to incarnate and become powerful spirits, wandering the earth in the guise of mortals, or traveling on the winds (p. 244).   Wall (1919) writes that the Gnostics believed gnosis in some part entailed the remembering of past incarnations, and that those individuals that could recall lifetimes of past experience broke past the bonds of conformity and attained mystical powers (p. 585).  Some occultists believe that individuals become part of this cavalcade through acts of heroism or though great leadership.  However, I think it is more accurate to understand the road leading to this existence as a powerful soul independent of physical form is more in the nature of an evolutionary step, one that takes time and the accrual of experience through repeated incarnations.

The French historian Lecouteux (2015) finds evidence in European folklore supporting the belief that the souls of the dead live on as tutelary spirits, benefitting those with whom they have a positive relationship.  These invisible ancestral spirits sometimes find residence to specific locations in the landscape.  Over the centuries, the memory of such spirits may have merged with the belief in elves and local land spirits.  Medieval agrarian households regarded these spirits as potentially beneficial or baneful and approached them with veneration.  The Church demonized the in all such spirit, although they the belief in them lingers on in the world, serving as a connection between the human and numinous powers (pp. 59-61).

The end point of the souls’ evolution, if believe that we can evolve into spirits capable of slipping the fetters of death and rebirth, is beyond right and wrong, good or bad, or dark and light.  It is an immoral, immortal existence—like that of the fairy folk—no longer enslaved to social, religious, or even spiritual strictures.  These souls have entered into the company of the dii animals—“spirit gods,” or literally translated: “the gods-animal.”  This state of being is, in my practice, one of the objectives of Witchcraft: the practices of gaining the sight, the manipulation of spirament, and traveling in the spirit body prepare us for this existence independent of the physical body.

This musing upon the survival of the soul through cycles of incarnations or the evolution into a non-physical entity is not an idle exercise: this framework of belief allows us, as magical folk, to make sense of the strange events that we witness in the course of our crooked spiritual path.  At the beginning of my own journey, I encountered a being that I have only been able to make sense of by relating it to the idea of the Mighty Dead.  I was sitting and doing my level best to meditate when I was startled by a figure in a white robe emerging through the corner of the room.  I could make out no features: the cowl of the hood completely shrouded the face, and the overlong sleeves covered the hands.  So occluded was the figure that I could not make out even the sex of the visitor.  The spirit—for so it must be—glided silently across the floor to where I sat on the floor, back against a chair.  It came to a stop in front of me, grasped me with its hidden hands on either side of my head, and bending forward put its head in mine.  What followed was a blaze of white bliss that seemed to go on for hours, but was certainly only a few seconds.  The figure pulled its head out of mine and floated back to the corner, where it disappeared, leaving behind questions as to its identity and purpose.  I flatter myself by thinking that the intensity of my curiosity, fueled by studies into psychic phenomena and witchcraft, had caught this being’s attention; conversely, it may have been waiting for me to progress to a certain point in my development to receive whatever gift it placed within my boney skull.

Jesper Bio image

Jesper Toad is a Georgian and a Gardnerian initiate, and studied the Feri Tradition with T. Thorn Coyle. His personal practice of three decades blends elements of all these traditions, as well incorporating spiritualist, shamanic and depth psychological perspectives. Jesper can be contacted at jespertoad@gmail.com.
The Enchiridion Magistellus: A Visual Handbook of the Witches’ Art is a collection of eighty-four images blending concepts and practices drawn from several Witchcraft traditions and academic sources. Each image is shaped by the artist’s dreams, reverie, meditations, and journeys in the imaginal realm. This deck of cards serves as a visual lesson plan to the practice of Witchcraft. The Enchiridion Magistellus: A Visual Handbook of the Witche

s’ Art can be purchased at https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/the-enchiridion-magistellus.

Notes

[1] Mark Carter (2012) in Stalking the Goddess suggests that and the information gleaned from Valiente’s experiences consists of a composite of material that Valiente herself was familiar with from her own studies.  However, if we give credence to the existence of the Breakspear entity, engaging in conversation using elements with which Valiente is familiar with to present instruction makes a certain pedagogical sense.

 

References

Borg, V. P.  (2001).  The rough guide to Malta and Gozo.  London, UK: Rough Guides, LTD (p. 57).Carter, M.  (2012).  Stalking the goddess.  Alresford, UK: Moon Books.

Gardner, G. B. (1959).  The meaning of witchcraft. London, UK: Aquarian.

Gardner, G. B. (1954).  Witchcraft today.  London, UK: Rider.

Ginzburg, C.  (1991).  Ecstasies: Deciphering the witches’ craft (R. Rosenthal, Trans.).  Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Hutton, R. (2001).  Triumph of the moon: A history of modern Pagan witchcraft. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Krickleberg, W., Trimborn, H., Muller, W, and Zerries, O.  (1968).  Pre-Colombian American religions.  New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Lecouteux, C. (2015).  Demons and spirits of the land: Ancestral lore and practices ( J. E. Graham, Trans.).  Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. (Original work published 1995).

Leland, C. G. (1892).  Etruscan Roman remains in popular tradition.  London, UK: T. Fisher Unwin.

Mills, A. (1994).  Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit: Context, Distribution, and Variation in Amerindian rebirth: Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit.  Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A.  February 11-16, 2000.  Paper given at Survivial of Bodily Death, an Esalen Invitational Conference.

Noble, V.  (2003).  The double goddess: Women sharing power.  Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.

Pócs, E. (1999).  Between the living and the dead: A perspective on witches and seers in the Early Modern Age.  New York, NY: Central European University Press.

Steiner, R. (1913).  Life between death and rebirth: The connection between the physical and supersensible world.  Retrieved from on line 10/16/18 from https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA140/English/AP1968/19130310p1.html.

Valiente, D. (1973).  An ABC of witchcraft past & present.  Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing Company.

Valiente, D. (1989).  The rebirth of witchcraft.  Ramsbury, UK :The Crowood Press LTD

Varner, G. R.  (2010).  Ghosts, spirits & the afterlife in Native American folklore and religion.  Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press.

Wall, O. A.  (1919).  Sex and sex worship (phallic worship).  St. Louis, MO: C. V. Mosby Co.

Wilby, E. (2009).  Cunning folk and familiar spirits: Shamanistic visionary traditions in early modern British witchcraft and magic. Chicago, IL: Sussex Academic Press.

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The Sacred Stone

by Morgana RavenTree 2001

I Am beyond time, for me, past, present and future are all the same.

I Am without regret, for all things roll off my back.

I Am worn by the wind and the water, diminishing in size and shape, but my heart is solid.

I Am the keeper of secrets, jewels are hidden beneath my surface.

I Am a page in the book of eternity.

I Am the record of all that has been and the passage of time can be read within me.

I Am alone, but part of the world; always present, rarely noticed.

I Am the throne on which the Lady finds rest; step on my back, following in her footsteps.

I Am the Sacred Stone. I have been alive forever. There is nothing I have not been.

zen stones

Patreon Program

Pagan Pride LA/OC has two goals. We seek to increase tolerance of the pagan community through our free Pagan Pride Day festival and to support a thriving diverse pagan community.

We have launched our new Patreon program in pursuit of both of these goals. Patreon is a membership platform in which members support creators (musicians, podcasters, or free festival creators for example) financially and often receive perks in return.

This is where YOU come in! We would love to showcase what you are offering to our community. We have started with a small selection of perks (marked with * below) and hope to add the others as our content library grows. Check out these perks and let me know if you would be interested contributing. If you have a suggestion that isn’t on the list I would love to hear it. Simply comment here or hit me up on Facebook to chat about the program.

  • Printables – coloring pages, worksheets, recipes and spell pages *
  • LIVE Facebook – ask a witch, movie watch party, divination *
  • Pagan Craft – a “how to” video short on making pagan items *
  • Monthly give away *
  • Written rituals, deity devotionals, BOS pages
  • Recorded classes – PPD could come to you and record your intro class
  • Recorded guided meditations
  • Online rituals

Thanks for all of your support!
Kandy

HOW DOES A STORY MEAN?

Incorporating Storytelling into Your Rituals

By Morgana RavenTree, President of Pagan Pride LA/OC

One of my fondest childhood memories is of lying in bed, my father telling me stories at bedtime.  The stories were aimed at children, so not overly complicated.  He didn’t read the stories from books and frequently made up the stories on the spot, but he seemed to know hundreds of them.

Years later I became involved with folk music or Pagan festivals and there were often storytellers on the program.  Many of them stood in front of an audience and read from books.  Sometimes they read from their own stories, but only occasionally did I hear a storyteller not reading from a printed page.  There is nothing wrong with standing in front of a microphone and reading a story, but it was always more enjoyable when the storyteller was “off the page”.

6786381 - portrait of african storyteller giving a speech.I am not a professional storyteller, but I have used stories in rituals.  Telling stories can be an intimate exchange between yourself and your coven or group,  It can bring back that sense of wonder enjoyed by generations of people before television and other forms of electronic media became commonplace.  It also connects us to our ancestors.  Sitting around the hearth, telling stories about the gods and spirits, paying troubadours for tales of great heroics and romance were important elements of human culture around the world for thousands of years.

Based on my own experience, here are 5 tips for incorporating storytelling into your rituals:

  1. Choose an appropriate story.  Ancient mythology (of any culture) is a goldmine of source material for stories.  Folk tales, ghost stories, even non-fiction about your real life can be sourced.  Choose your theme carefully.  Stories told in ritual settings should convey an important life message.
  2. Memorize the story.  That’s right, you need to commit the story to memory.  That does NOT mean memorizing the details word for word.  The details aren’t important.  Strip the story down to its essentials – plot, characters setting are important, but exact dialogue between characters doesn’t matter.  The story must be internalized until you can tell it naturally, in your own voice.
  3. Practice telling the story out loud.  Speak out loud whenever you can – in the shower, while doing dishes or laundry or quiet moments when there are no distractions.  Again, don’t get hung up on the details.  Don’t be afraid of flubs, making mistakes or stammering.  The more you practice the more comfortable you will become.  You might need to leave out unnecessary plot details, combine characters, pare the story down to its essentials.  You can even alter plot details to make your point.  All stories evolve during the telling so don’t be concerned about that.  You can even tell your audience in advance that certain details have been changed, if that makes you feel better, or if a version of the story is already well-known.
  4. Use your voice.  Experiment with using different voices in a variety of tones.  Push volume not from the throat, but from the diaphragm.  Most rituals occur in people’s homes so you don’t need to project your voice, though if you are telling a story at a large gathering that may be more difficult.
  5. Use your body language.  Use facial expressions, hand gestures, stand up, crouch down.  If your audience is seated in the round make sure you turn slowly as you speak. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate.  You’re telling a story, not giving a lecture.
  6. Be fearless!  Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.  Your enthusiasm is the most important thing you can bring to the ritual.

Start with short, simple stories and you can build on them later as you become more comfortable.

Tell me a story.

Heathen Storytelling Podcast

by Rodney Basler of Hallowed Horn Kindred

Halldor Laxness, the Icelandic Nobel laureate for Literature, is said to have jokingly summed up medieval Icelandic literature in two words: “Farmers fought.” What this joke glosses over is what a truly remarkable contribution the Icelanders made to the history of world literature. In less than two hundred years between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, Iceland – a small, volcanic land and one of the poorest countries in Europeproduced an unprecedented explosion of writing. With a population that was less than 50 thousand people, they created unknown hundreds of works in their own language, many of them sadly lost to time and accident.

In their terse, simple style, the Eddas and Sagas describe a complex and violent world of shifting alliances and family relationships, where feuds can break out over petty disputes and rage for generations. With this detailed background, the sagas are dense with information, and can be confusing to the modern reader.

sagathingThe podcast Saga Thing has been “putting the Sagas of the Icelanders on trial” for over five years now, and is an entertaining and informative look at these tales in all their quirky glory. The hosts, John Sexton and Andrew Pfrenger, are both professors of Medieval Literature, who in their grad school days spent far too many evenings discussing sagas over pizza and beer. They are the literature teachers we all wish we had when we were younger engaging, funny, and if sometimes the pop-culture references fall a little flat, you are in on the joke, because they know, and you know they know, they might be a little too old for those jokes.

Each episode is split into two sections – first, they summarize the story and describe the characters, but they also put those characters into the larger context of Icelandic history and society, explaining their relations to major figures in other sagas or their connection to historical events. They then proceed to the Judgement section, where they rate the saga according to several categories: Best Bloodshed, Body Count, Notable Witticisms (the ability to die with an ironic joke on your lips was a prized trait to the Icelanders), and Best Nickname (and with nicknames like Ketil Flatnose or Thorgrima Witchface, this particular category can be hotly contested.) They then vote on “Outlawry”: which character deserves to be banished from Iceland altogether, and “Thingmen”, where the two take turns choosing one character they would wish to have as a supporter. Finally, they each decide on a completely subjective overall Rating for the saga.

For the shorter stories, these two sections are both covered in the same episode, but for longer tales like Njal’s Saga, the Summary alone took 11 full episodes, plus a couple of side episodes where they discussed the Conversion in Iceland.

The very first episode is divided into three parts, and in it they describe the history and settlement of Iceland, the founding of the commonwealth, and its gradual collapse until the Icelanders accepted the rule of the Norwegian kings. They also describe the half-dozen different categories of saga, including the family sagas, the kings sagas, the tales of myths and legends, and even the “Þáttr” (‘Thattur), which were short stories, of which some 200 still remain.

The side episodes, called “Saga Briefs,” are shorter talks about single subjects, apart from the discussions of the sagas. They have ranged from explaining the customs and practices of dueling, to a history of the Vikings in Normandy under Rollo, to an interview with a professor of linguistics and runology discussing the history and uses of the runes.

The podcasts are very enjoyable and just the right length for a long commute. The format of “two funny guys chatting on a subject they are passionate about” is much more entertaining than one person lecturing at length. The website has extensive show notes for each episode, which can include things like illustrations, genealogies (terribly useful for understanding some of the more tangled family squabbles,) and Amazon links to a translation of the saga under discussion, so you can read it for yourself.

Samhain Food

by Alexis

10546559 - ripe pumpkin fruits isolated on whiteOctober is famous in the US for the excess of pumpkins being carved into jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pies, and candy being shared with the masses. Okay, so less pumpkin pies since that’s more a Thanksgiving thing, but pumpkin pies should be a year round thing tbh. Speaking of food, when one thinks of fall feasting, Thanksgiving dinner is the big thing that comes to mind for the average American. Samhain and holidays like it are the celebration of the final major harvest before Winter hits. The previous two dealt with grains and fruits. This one is all about the squashes (yum) and the meats, storing food for the winter months when it’s harder to come by. So, what’s in season for mid-Autumn?

  • onion (let’s be honest, onions are almost always in season)
  • sweet potatoes
  • persimmons (asian apples, like ours but better)
  • pomegranates (popular offering to harvest deities)
  • cranberries
  • cabbage
  • apples
  • pears (yeah…I didn’t know either)
  • beets
  • brussels sprouts
  • turnips
  • all the squashes
  • rutabagas (I have no idea what these actually are)
  • gooseberries
  • garlic
  • grapes (if you work with a deity who loves grapes, now’s your time)
  • jalapeños (surprised me, but chillin’)

There’s also meats. This time of year is when all the birds and mature farm animals get carved up because you can’t keep them all in your house with you and you need other sustenance to make your crops stretch. Cow, turkey, and pig are pretty popular right around now.

 

Magick! We all love magick, even if we don’t actively practice it. If you’re a kitchen witch, Samhain is a great time to stir some spells into your food. Nuts and seeds can be used in a blessing for a successful rebirth of the planet come spring. Rosemary can help with communication with the ancestors. Apples and pumpkins work for protection during the coming months. The best spells to cast with food during this time are to aid in divination and gain protection for yourself and your family.

 

Recipes

I have a few, but since my diet is all plant-based, I’ll leave some suggestions below for people that want something with not-plant things in it.

 

Colcannon

Ingredients:

1 lbs. russet potatoes

1 lbs. cabbage

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups mixed veggies (go wild with your bad self)

½ T + ¼ c+2 T olive oil (sorry, but keep the first one separate from the second two)

1 c soy/cashew milk

t/t salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes until tender. If you want them done quickly, cut the potatoes into small bits.
  2. Boil cabbage until tender, toss in the mixed veggies for the last few minutes with it if they’re coming from frozen, blanch 90 seconds if fresh.
  3. Heat a pan (or use the pot you used for the cabbage or something) over medium heat. Use the ½ T olive oil to cook the garlic until fragrant. We like a strong garlic smell. Clears the sinuses.
  4. If you haven’t already because you wanted to keep them warm (you forward thinker, you!), drain the potatoes and cabbage. Mash the potatoes, add in the remaining olive oil and cashew milk. Mix in the garlic and cabbage. Season to taste. Eat.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (chop off the top and cut the thing in half)

4 c vegetable broth

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ t cumin

½ t black pepper

½ t coriander

⅛ t chili/cayenne (optional)

t/t salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet and spray with a lil oil or something, but this is optional. Seed the squash and place on the sheet. I do it face down, but to each their own.
  2. Roast until squishy, it should take about 50 minutes. When it’s done, let it sit until you can handle it without burning off your fingerprints (they come back but it sucks).
  3. Plop everything else in a big soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the onion is cooked through.
  4. Scoop in the squishy squash bits (scoop it out of the husk with a spoon) and blend it all together*. Heat it through and season to taste before serving.

*When blending, you can use an immersion blender or a food processor or whatever you have available. You could even whisk if you don’t mind not having the onion blended, since it’s usually hardly noticeable when it’s thoroughly cooked anyway. The goal is to blend the squash with the broth.

 

Lentil-Stuffed Mushrooms (You can make this at the exact same time as the soup above)

Ingredients:

Stuffing*

1 c green or brown lentils

⅓ c yellow onion

2 small cloves garlic, minced

½ T italian seasoning

1 bay leaf

2 c water (you may need more)

½ t salt

1 ½ t black pepper

Shrooms

1 lbs fresh mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned

olive oil

1 t black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss mushrooms with pepper and just enough oil to coat. Put on a (preferably lined) baking sheet in a single layer, and make sure they’re all upside down (they need to actually look like cups). Set aside.
  2. Heat a good sized pot over medium heat. Add in the onion with a splash of water (not from the 2 cups from the ingredients) just to keep them from sticking.
  3. Cook the onions for 2-ish minutes, just until they’re sweating. Then add the rest of the stuffing ingredients to the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil, and then go straight to a simmer. Simmer for 35 minutes (no lid) until the lentils are tender. You may need to add more water if the lentils aren’t done but all the water’s been absorbed.
  5. While the lentils are simmering, stick the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be browned, but not dried out. You still need to stuff them and no one wants crumbly stuffed mushrooms.
  6. When both are done, scoop the stuffing into the mushroom caps. Top with any garnishes you like (some people seem to like sour cream) and serve.

*The stuffing is also good in stuffed cabbage, but I have a particular love of lentils. Lentils can be switched out for stuff like ground beef and cooking changes accordingly.

 

For the meat and dairy eaters!!

I didn’t forget about you, I promise. I don’t have any recipes for you, but I have meal suggestions. Try these:

Cheesy Potatoes, Beef Stew (Wiccan Sage (hubpages) has a great recipe for this), Meat Pies, Shortbread Soul Cookies (shape them like people), Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin/Apple Pie, Stuffed Cabbage, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spiced Cider.

 

Make this Samhain/Last Harvest a great one! Skål!

 

Bio: My name is Alexis. I’m a 19-year-old kitchen witch and eclectic pagan of 4 years. I love plants and I’m majorly into food, so I create and try new recipes on a whim.

Sound is Healing

by Randalf
Love your Spirit, love your Mind, love your Body. In doing so, you have found one of the key paths to happiness.
32229146 - high resonance healing wordsMany say that meditation is the answer.  Meditation is not necessarily the answer to happiness and self-care, but it is an amazing tool for rejuvenating not just your mind (inner peace and emotional stability) but also your physical body. This is because meditation takes place in the mind and there is overwhelming evidence that our minds have the ability to make us physically sick or physically well. In fact, scientifically, meditation is found to provide physiological benefits. In this writing I am specifically speaking about vibrational medicine via meditation. Let’s look at some popular terms and definitions…
Definition
Sound Therapy: Lately a new kind of sound therapy, often called sound healing, has begun to attract a following. Also known as vibrational medicine, the practice employs the vibrations of the human voice as well as objects that resonate — tuning forks, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls — to go beyond relaxation and stimulate healing.Nov 24, 2005
Source – NYtimes
Definition
Sound Bath: Part meditation, part listening exercise, sound baths are healing musical performances played with Himalayan singing bowls, crystal bowls, gongs, biosonic tuning forks, shamanic drumming, and chanting. Participants lay on the floor in supported savasana (corpse pose) and let the waves of sound wash over them.
Source – author unknown
Sound is a great tool for achieving a deep meditative state. For some it might be soothing music; for others it might be white noise, or lapping ocean waves, or rain, windchimes, a babbling brook, or any combination of those. Once you are in that meditative state, you are open to receiving, and,  other sound can be introduced and taken in through subliminal processes. That is the method I myself use. In sound therapy you harness the positive effects of cosmic energy and channel it into your body’s own sensory network.
I’ve been performing this on myself for decades and now with better information available it is gaining acceptance.  Compared to ancient practices it is a relativrly new art becoming more and more popular everyday. Certification centers are even popping up. I think we’re onto something!  Those who are spiritually “Awake” are learning that we are not just flesh and blood, we are vibrational beings.
Tonal sound is vibration. Have you noticed how transformative music is? It can make us happy, or make us sad. That in essence is ’emotional’ transformation. Music is sound. It is the vibration of sound waves in different frequencies and wavelengths that create the different tones to make music.
Transformation, remember that. Now I tell you that transformation comes not only at the ’emotional’ level but also at the ‘celular’ level.  That’s right, sound has the ability to heal us at the cellular level! Vibration is a human component and sound vibration is a healing tool.
When I want to relax I play my flute, it is transformative to me. In fact it is a form of meditation for me. I seem to go into autoplay, completely clearing my mind and yet am still able to blow and execute finger positions in such a way as to create a pleasing sequence of notes.  I listen to the tones and I examine how it makes me feel. Such is, in essence, a form of “mindfulness meditation”.
To learn more there are books on the subject, or you can come to my workshop at the Pagan Pride Day LA Orange County on October 14th. My workshop will be a lecture covering the above-mentioned, the instruments, and also the effects of the different sound frequencies and how they affect the chakra system.
_______________
Bio
Randolf McDonald
Sound Practitioner for 22 years
Meditation coach
Voice coach
Musician: Flute – Percussion – steelpan
CD: Holistic Sounds

The Soldier’s Tale: A Short Analysis of a Dream of Initiation

by Jeffrey Albaugh

The experience of initiation invokes a shift in relationships and the individual’s way of being in the world, regardless of whether this experience is earned through the process of study and achievement and enacted in ritual, or occurs spontaneously through dreams or other liminal experiences (Eliade, p. 33 1964).  The follow account documents a transformational dream experienced by the author:

I am a soldier on patrol on the edge of the village, in that place where the cultivated fields give way to the wild.  A shallow ditch separates new wheat from a wall of trees.  A small grave yard is placed here, by the green fields, at the edge of human habitation.  I pace my patrol at dusk, and as I walk the perimeter I peer into the gloom beneath the eaves of the ancient forest. I can sense a threat, the eyes of the predator upon me, but I cannot tell from what direction the attack may come.

Suddenly, and before I can react, a great she-wolf, eyes blazing yellow, leaps from the underbrush.  Her teeth catch me in the throat, and with a great heaving snap of her jaws and a gout of blood, my head is severed from my body.  My body is merely meat, and the she-wolf settles into her meal.

But the head rolls across the ground, toward the grave yard, and the ground gives way to a great sloping decline descending into the underworld.  As the head rolls it sheds it mortality: hair scatters in all directions, the eyes roll from their sockets, and skin and muscle peel away, all lost on the journey downward.  The skull, now white and shining, rolls through the shadows until it comes to a flat place: here a circular labyrinth winds in great loops, the paths demarcated by a multitude of skulls, each gazing inwards toward the center.  My skull rolls inward, upon the meandering paths, rolling, rolling inward, until it comes to rest in the heart of the labyrinth.  I have come to the center, to the place where all the ancestors watch and witness.

The dream shifts.  I am myself now, no longer a soldier, and I am wandering through the avenues of an old style carnival with tents and side show attractions.  I stop at a puppet show, located to the left of me.  Before the curtain appear three poorly crafted puppets, each a skull with a hinged jaw and comically overemphasized eyes and teeth.  These three disembodied heads begin to sing a song about a soldier who met a grisly fate at the maw of a she-wolf.  The curtain opens and other puppets take the stage and act out the story.  After the curtain closes on the puppet narrative I resume my wandering through the carnival.

A short ways on and to my right fortune teller’s tent presents itself.  In front of the tent is a small table, with a tall brass candle in a holder and an eyeless skull perched atop a book.  As I begin to pass by the skull turns to me and begins to speak, relating the now familiar story of the soldier who lost his head to the she-wolf.  At the end of the skull’s narrative I awake.  The illuminated numbers on the clock read exactly 12:00.

Although I realized the importance of this dream, it wasn’t until later in my life that I could more completely acknowledge power and implications contained by the images.  Working with the text of this dream, I realized that the liminal elements–the motifs of death, transformation, transition, and rebirth in the underworld—all suggest an initiatory significance.

According to Jung, when we fall into a dream the first element presented to our dream senses is a sense or idea of place.  In this dream, there exists a juxtaposition between the domestic, signified by the cultivated fields and the distant township, and the wildness of the impenetrable dark and sinister forest, far from the safely locked doors and shuttered windows of the town.  In the opinion of the author, initiation into the mysterium pulls us into the space between the domestic, cultivated, safe folds and fields, and the untamed, unpredictable, and perilous wilds.  To be a initiate of the mysteries is to walk widdershins on the edge of things, eyes askew in both directions, within the perimeter of the shadows cast by the central fire burning in the heart of the community, but not so deep in the dark that our belonging to the community is obscured.  This is, I think, the nature of the esoteric practitioner, to hover near the margin of social norms, tight against the invisible membrane that divides the cultivated from the wild, the concrete from the imaginal, the manifest from the un-manifest, the wake from dream, and the seen from the unseen.

The initial statement of place that begins a dream is coupled with in introduction of the dream figures, or dream protagonists.  The apposition between the edicts and structures that society values and the laws of the wild are further reflected in the dream figures of the soldier and the she-wolf.  Not unlike an officer of the law, the soldier patrols the margins of the village, protecting and upholding the social and cultural structures that hold the community together.  He holds back the seemingly unpredictable and savage wild, lest it ravages and destroys the elements that comprise the structured civilization contained within the safety perimeter.  The soldier cannot breach the boundary without taking with him the elements that create the very domesticity and culture that he so zealously guards.

It is the she-wolf that unexpectedly breaches the barrier, initiating the exposition of the dream, tearing apart the static relationship between the wild and domestic, the beast and the soldier.She leaps and snuffs out the human life, bringing with her action the terror of the unknown, a red flush of murder, and the taste of fear.  However, she is only following the demands of her own nature: she must feed, perhaps she hunts for her pack or her offspring, or she defends her own territory from the encroachment of a perceived enemy. Her wildness, her savagery, and the in-human laws she follows leads her to disregard the boundary that separates the domesticated from the feral. Depth psychologist James Hillman might suggest that this dream beast is a manifestation of a familiaris, a soul-brother or soul-doctor that has an understanding of the laws that govern the night, the pale, the wild, and the underworld (Hillman, 1979, p. 105).  This spirit animal in this dream is the guardian of the wild, walking on the margin of the forest, just as the soldier is a guardian of his domestic world.  She is the feral initiatrix, and the soldier the initiand.  Her attack initiates a change in status of the soldier and serves as a transformational passage between the worlds of the wild and the town.

However, the attack upon the soldier is not the climax of this story.  As initiatrix, the she-wolf opens wide the life to new possibilities and the culmination of this dream, the peripeteia, is the rolling descent into the labyrinth and the confrontation with the ancestors.  This boundary crossing, and the power of the hot red fountain of sacrifice, activates the liminality of the space between.  The ditch between the cultivated fields and the dangerous gloom beneath the trees gives way, and a portal to the underworld yawns wide, swallowing down the soldier’s noggin.  As the head rolls down into the underworld it experiences a further dissolution: the fleshy bits wear away until all that is left is the immortal, enduring skull.  The lasting image in this dream is of the soldier’s skull in the center of a great labyrinth of skulls, the focus of the empty gaze of many ancestors.  The mythologems of death, dismemberment, and the descent into the underworld, and communion with the spirits or souls of the mighty dead are all a part of the cannon of shamanistic initiatory experiences (Eliade, pp. 33-34, 1964).  In such an initiation the individual has made the ultimate sacrifice of the self.  This notion of the self, this persona or mask, tears asunder exposing to the initiate the truth of who they are, and who they are not, beneath the narrative of personality they have woven for themselves.  Once revealed in this manner to themselves, they must endure the scrutiny of those that have gone before.  This is ecstasy in a very literal sense of the word—to exist or be removed outside of oneself—and this transcendent experience forms, in my experience, is the ultimate aspiration of our magical and esoteric practices.

This shift into a second locale is significant.  The labyrinth occurring in this dream is a circular unicursal figure based on a seed pattern that consists of a central equal-armed cross-shaped component with four seed points: seven circuits or pathways are formed by connecting the terminal ends of the cross and the points, creating a mandala-like figure with a hidden fourfold demarcation.  The labyrinth’s path leads both to and from the center where the soldier’s skull sits enthroned.  These meanderings of path can be viewed as a metaphor for the digestive process, like the coiling serpentine path of the intestines.

The soldier’s circumambulations of the labyrinth lead him closer to the goal of psychic development of the self (Jung, 1961, p. 96).  The soldier in the dream narrative has died, his meaty physical part of his being devoured by the she-wolf, the identity obliterated with his face, and interred in the spiraling bowels of the underworld; these are the transformational elements if an initiation—the destruction of the old body and way of being and the resurrection of the individual within a new, previously unrealized center of power (Moore, 1990, p. 6).  The latter part of the journey, within the curves of the labyrinth, the soldier’s journey is witness by the empty gaze of the ancestors, and eventually he take his place among them, in the center of the circle.

The final stage of the dream narrative, the lysis, concerns itself with the resolution or result of the dream story (Jung, 1960/1974, P. 81).  The third shift of location occurs, and the dream self is strolling along the un-natural sights and sounds of a carnival.  The atmosphere of this location is full of the strange and the bizarre; a liminal, between-place civilized people sometimes dare to stray to catch a peep at the macabre, titillating, and frightening.  English gains the word carnival from a circuitous route from the Latin caro, or flesh, and is related to the word incarnate—and, appropriate to this dream narrative, disincarnate.  Carnival once was a time that the community came together to eat quantities of meat.  During Christian times this occurred as a preparation of fasting before Lent; in pre-Christian times carnival may have been celebrated with a sacrifice, and a sharing of meat with the divine (Walter, 2014, p. 26).  Within this liminal place related to the eating of flesh, the main narrative arc of the dream is twice repeated twice, as if to emphasize the importance of the dream, each time with fewer images involved.  The initial dream presents itself with a cinematic quality, like most visual dreams.  The first of the subsequent retellings uses visual puppets and a chorus of macabre puppet skulls, and is told to amuse an audience of children.  This retelling is amusing, theatrical, and the blood and gore of the wolf attack is artistically buffered and minimalized.  The third and last of the retellings is completely oral, relying only on words to convey the narrative, and all the while the animated skull relating the story is supported by a book, a thing of paper and words that long outlives the author.  There seems to be a process here relating to the action of the dream, and how the story will be remembered in the context of time as the narrative of transformation to be related at the time of carnival.

Storytelling, in either waking or dreaming life, reflects the soul’s deepening of experience and revealing of unconscious elements to the conscious mind, all in the service of creating a increasingly structured and consolidated identity (Moore, 1990, p. 5).  Part of my process of working with the material and text of a dream is to write it into a specific poetic form.  I find the restrictive meter and rhyme required for some styles of poetry often condenses the dream to its figurative and argumentative core and clarifies the central archetypes, constructs, and constellations of the dream narrative.  The narrative style of this dream text appeared most suited to a ballad form, including alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter, and an alternating A-B-A-B rhyme scheme. The last stanza of the ballad the soldier’s skull imparts a vital message, encouraging us to engage the world not as a collection of end products, but by experiencing, submitting, and being aware of the transformative journeys of the soul.

The Soldier’s Tale

The soldier with his sword unsheathed

Upon the field of green,

His death he knew would be ungrieved,

That much had been foreseen.

 

But plowed he forward through the field,

‘Tween bone yard and the chase,

Not knowing that the trees concealed

A beast both vile and base.

 

Ancient and grizzled, rolling eyes,

Great chops of yellow’d gnash,

No sooner soldier did it spy

From the shadows did it lash.

 

It lept at him from out the dark,

The howling hulk a blur.

Dire fanged death it struck its mark,

In throat its teeth interred.

 

The soldier’s cry a crimson flood,

His beating heart it ceased;

The horrid beast engorged by blood

Plied red jaws to the feast.

 

It gobbled flesh and snap’d the bones—

Consuming all it could—

It left the head to roll alone

And slunk into the wood.

 

His grinning face it peeled away,

All aptitude had fled.

Toward the near necropolis

The soldier’s noggin sped.

 

With each turn the flesh unknotted:

A corps perdu!  Atone!

Eyes, brains, lips, and tongue outwitted,

‘Til all that’s left was bone.

 

He rolled into the charnel home

Between the mourning stones,

A whitened skull with polished dome

Bereft of cries or moans.

 

Into the catacombs he fell:

His ancestors await,

That he might find a place to dwell

In honor of his fate.

 

The labyrinth, it welcomed him:

Of kindred skulls built round,

In seven circuits twisting grim,

Within the core path wound.

 

He took his place within their rank,

The center occupied,

His truth amid the dim and damn’d

Enshrined and beautified.

 

O traveler, the secret seek,

The mizmaze walk and hear

The dogged lipless soldier speak:

“Engage your path and never fear!”

 

The experience of initiation invokes a shift in the relationship with the world.  In this dream the soldier has thrown off life, been thrown out of time and space, and rolls into a moment of eternity.  Like the Buddha, he has transcended life.  However, in the lysis of the dream, his lives on in the world in the story told at carneval.  As Campbell remarks in the Power of Myth, the Bodhisattva, an individual whose being is illumination, and maintains an awareness of his or her relationship with eternity, does not withdraw from the world, regardless of the horrors that it might hold, but instead regards the horrors as a manifestation of the spirit of the world, the animus mundi (Campbell, Moyers, & Flowers, Ep. 2, 1988).   Engaged in the game of life, these theophanies are experienced as aesthetic, beautiful, wondrous things, regardless of all life being filled with hate, sorrow, and greed.

 

References

Campbell, J, Moyers, & B. Flowers, B. S (Ed). (1988).  Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: Ep. 1 The Hero’s Journey.  Initial broadcast June 21, 1988 on PBS.

Campbell, J. (1949).  The hero with a thousand faces.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Eliade, M. (1964).  Shamanism: Archaic techniques of ecstasy. Trans., Willard R. Trask. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Hillman, JH. (1979).  The dream and the underworld.  New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Jung, C. G.  (1961).  Memories, dreams, reflections.  New York, Ny: Random House.

Jung, C. G.  (1974).  On the nature of dreams.  In R. F. C. Hull (Trans.), Dreams.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.  (Original work published 1960).

Moore, R., Gilette, D.  (1990).  King, warrior, magician, lover: Rediscovering the archetypes of the mature masculine.  San Francisco: Harper Collins.

Walter, P. (2014).  Christian mythology: Revelations of pagan origins (J. E. Graham, Trans.).  Rochester, VT.: Inner Traditions.  Original material published 2004.

 

JeffreyJeffrey Albaugh, and independent scholar and educator.  He holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre, a Master’s in Depth Psychology, and has been a profession teacher for over thirty years.  He has served on the Board of Directors for Cherry Hill Seminary and is currently Program Manager for the Conference on Current Pagan Studies and Pacific Circle Revival.

His current teaching project is The Seminar of Dreams, a weekend seminar that enhances our understanding of the nature of dreams, teaches tools to unlock their content and invite their wisdom into our lives.  More information on the Seminar of Dreams can be found at Https://www.facebook.com/Seminar-of-Dreams-266017100852203

 

Bringing the Art Contest to PPD

Tart contest winnershe Pagan Pride LA/OC Art Contest has been a great addition to our Pagan Pride event since 2014. We love seeing local artists show off their work to the community and the shirt sales have brought PPD closer to breaking even annually. This year we are going to try something new and bring the art contest to Pagan Pride Day!

Instead of having artists submit their work in August and have online voting we will extend the deadline to September and have the voting at Pagan Pride Day! Each qualifying submitted piece will be on display and everyone can vote for their favorite either online or in person. The first and second place designs will be featured in our 2019 Pagan Pride Day. The physical prints will be auctioned or raffled at our 2018 Pagan Pride Day.

Join our Art Contest Event on Facebook to keep up to date. Also help us spread the word by inviting your artist friends!

All original art entries should be:

   * Crisp Black and White or Grayscale 10×10 jpg images

   *  Include the words, “Pagan Pride LA/OC 2019”

*  Possible to convert to a transparent background for T-shirt printing

You must be the creator of the art that you submit. Your art must be your own original concept and not a copy of anyone else’s copyrighted material. You are solely responsible for any infringement on copyrighted materials. The artist retains all copyrights to their artwork as it exists without the words “Pagan Pride LA/OC 2019”. By submitting your art you are granting us a non-exclusive perpetual license to reproduce images of this piece as submitted for promotion and/or profit. Only one entry per artist, please.

 

Trance Guide to Mystical Place

by Laura Morgan

Enjoy this guided meditation to bring you a mystic place in which rests the key to your own magical gifts.

68115620 - silhouette of a woman sitting outside, starry night backgroundAs a Hypnotherapist, I use the tools of Hypnosis and Therapeutic Guided Imagery to guide my clients in creating positive changes and growth in their lives. Using these modalities to explore the realm of the subconscious mind, negative patterns, habits, and beliefs can be uprooted, released, and replaced with positive new thoughts and beliefs. Creating new neural pathways brings about transformation, healing, and empowerment from the inside out. I desire to guide you to connect with your own divine nature and inner wisdom to manifest freely the prosperous, healthy, happy life you desire.

My Hypnotherapy and Therapeutic Guided Imagery practice is rooted in the belief  that each and every person is an important piece of the Divine. We are all seeking and heading towards balance, peace, and inner knowing so that we can better share our gifts and talents with the world. In addition to Hypnotherapy, I have been exploring and studying healing, yoga, and the metaphysical realms for 30 years, and this has brought me to the understanding that Love and Compassion are the strongest healing forces in the universe. Daily I seek to align and anchor myself and my work in this. I am dedicated to helping others by providing a safe, trustworthy space in which learning, healing, and happiness can blossom forth.

Laura Morgan

Learn more at  lauramorganhypnotherapy.com