Welcome to My Garden

by Circe

I am – the morning dew.

I sparkle on the pure yellow sunflower

as its petals kiss the rays of the rising sun.

I am – the fragrant breeze.

I swirl among the deep red petals of the crimson rose,

wafting their scent skyward.

I am – the heat of the noon day sun.

The warmth feels like velvet along the sands of time.

I am – evening’s repose.

Jasmine, primrose and evening shade wait expectantly

as the purple haze descends over the horizon.

I am – the evening star – a moment in time. 

Shine in the dark and give a glimpse of light twinkling beyond the heavens. 

I am the Goddess.  Welcome to my garden.

—–A member of the local Pagan community, Circe has been exploring Wiccan and Ancient Egyptian Spiritual Paths since 1991 and currently teaches in the San Fernando Valley area.

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5 Books about Creating Sacred Space

  1. Bless this House : Creating Sacred Space Where You Live, Work Travel by Donna Henes (Ixia Press: 2018) ISBN: 0486818454.   
  2. The Witch’s Altar: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Sacred Space by Jason Mankey (Llewelyn Publications: 2018) ISBN: 0738757969. 
  3. Casting Sacred Space: The Core of All Magickal Work by Ivo Dominguez Jr., T. Thorn Coyle (Weiser Books: 2012) ISBN: 1578634997.
  4. Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston (Harmony: 1997) ISBN: 0553069160.
  5. Sacred Space: Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home by Denise Linn (Wellspring/Ballantine: 1995) ISBN: 034539769X.

Happy Earth Day!

by Morgana RavenTree

It began in the winter of 1969.  Television (at least in California) showed horrific images of seabirds, seals, and marine life covered in crude oil, dead or dying.  Humans trying to save them, finding ways to carefully clean off the oil and give them another chance at life.  Union Oil’s Platform A, offshore Santa Barbara, spilled 80,000 – 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the channel and onto the beaches from Santa Barbara County all the way down Southern California, and caused the closing of Santa Barbara Harbor.  For many years afterwards, I remember finding oil globs on Santa Monica and Venice Beaches.  Cleaning up Santa Monica Bay (for this and other reasons) took decades.

Popular lore states that this event inspired Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize the first Earth Day in 1970.  However, there was another environmental event in 1969.  In June the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio literally caught fire, polluted with oily wastes, chemicals, and debris the burning river also gave momentum to the nascent national environmental movement.

Earlier in 1968, Morton Hilbert and the U.S. Public Health Service organized the Human Ecology Symposium, an environmental conference about the effects of environmental degradation on human health.  Some say that was the true beginning of Earth Day.  Yet another version of the origins story is that at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco 1969, activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the earth and the concept of peace to be held on Spring Equinox 1970.  However, it took Senator Nelson’s efforts to name the day, set the date and issue a federal proclamation to make April 22, 1970 the first official Earth Day.  Nelson chose April 22nd because he envisioned participation by college students and didn’t want it to fall during exams or spring breaks, or conflict with any religious holidays.   There have been numerous efforts by agencies within the U.N. to move Earth Day back to Spring Equinox, but by now, April 22nd is firmly entrenched as Earth Day. 

The 20th Anniversary of Earth Day in 1990 was sponsored by two groups, Earth Day 20 Foundation and Earth Day 1990.  One was interested in obtaining funding from Silicon Valley and the other had a more “grassroots” focus, but Senator Nelson was the Honorary Chair of both.  Both groups also included many of the same people who had been instrumental in organizing Earth Day 1970.

Earth Day 1990 was when the event really went international: 200 million people in 141 countries are estimated to have participated in Earth Day events. 

Unfortunately, after the 1990 event stories soon circulated about the 152 tons of garbage left in New York’s Central Park the day after the event – leading to charges that people were just there for the free concert and didn’t give a cr*p about “the Environment.”

It was at this point that Earth Day became an annual event.  Between 1990-1995, Earth Day USA organized Earth Day events.  After the 25th Anniversary in 1995, Earth Day Network took over coordinating the event.

Earth Day 2000 was the first time that Earth Day organizers used the internet as their principal organizing tool.  Kelly Evans, a professional political organizer, served as executive director of the 2000 campaign. More than 5,000 environmental groups outside the United States 183 countries participated.

Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed by the U.S. and some 120 other countries.  A key requirement of the agreement was enforcement of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by 195 countries at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in 2015. 

So here we are in 2021.  There are still online events planned for Earth Day, April 22nd, but if you prefer to observe it more simply, go for a walk.  Bring a plastic bag and gloves for collecting trash, a reusable water bottle (or if it’s a disposable bottle, refill it at every opportunity and carry it out with you).  Even if you’re in an urban setting, know that under the concrete Mother Earth is there, watching you.  Let’s not repeat the aftermath of Earth Day 1990 and the tons of trash.  Think about what the day means and which issues are most important to you.  Is it climate change?  Human population growth?  Extinction of non-human species? Science education, research, practical application?  Open your senses and feel the life around you.  Every patch of ground, plant, weed is a sign the earth is struggling to survive.  Join with your fellow humans and do your part to celebrate the day!

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day

http://www2.bren.ucsb.edu/~dhardy/1969_Santa_Barbara_Oil_Spill/Home.html

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/45-years-after-santa-barbara-oil-spill-looking-historic-disaster-through-technology.html

http://www.pophistorydig.com/topics/cuyahoga-river-fires/

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-04-24/news/mn-345_1_earth-day

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/14/the-santa-barbara-oil-spi_n_112605.html

Choosing a Magical Name – Practical Considerations

It is standard practice to choose a new name when one begins studying a new path or tradition. It is symbolic of the rebirth you experience – shedding your old skin and assuming the new persona. There are many sources for new names. The names of deities are always a source, though one should take care lest one absorbs some of the personality aspects of those deities. Figures from mythology, literature, fantasy are always popular, but make sure it is a name you can actually live with for many years, especially if you intend to use it as a “public” name.

Many people swear by meditation as a tool for finding a magical name. I have known several people who have meditated to find their names. In some cases, they didn’t understand the meaning of those names, because they were random syllables. Nevertheless, those types of names can be very powerful.

I chose my public name, Morgana, more than 40 years ago, after I saw the film “Excalibur”. The “RavenTree” part was added on a dozen years later, inspired by a personal experience involving a raven and a tree. I also added it because back in the ’70s and ’80s, “Morgana” or its variations, was a popular witch name and I needed something to distinguish it. So, you see, your name can evolve over time. I have more than one magical name. My coven name is known only to members of my tradition and must be kept private. I also have an Egyptian priestess name. Each name reflects a different part of my personality.

In looking for articles about magical names, I noticed a serious dearth of information about choosing non-Western magical names. If you know of any sources for non-European magical names, please let me know.

Here’s a short list of tips to follow when choosing your magical name.

  1. Avoid using “titles” like “Lord” or “Lady” until you check with other members of your tradition. Those titles may have specific meanings and you may or may not be permitted to use them. The same goes for “Mama”, “Papa”, “Queen” and similar titles. Make sure you are actually qualified to use them as part of a name.
  2. Choose a name you can actually pronounce, especially if it’s a name in a language you don’t speak. I once knew a witch who chose “Cerridwen”, except she pronounced it “Serridwen” until she discovered she was mispronouncing it, and then she didn’t like it pronounced with a “K: sound. Remember, it may not be pronounced the way you think.
  3. Try choosing a simple name, one you can live with. Say it aloud, over and over. There’s nothing worse that seeing a new practitioner tripping over their own name. Remember, your name can continue to evolve and you can add to it over time.
  4. If you use the meditation method and receive a name that sounds like random syllables, write it down and study it. Research its origins and possible meanings, and don’t forget about homonyms. The name may seem innocent written down, but when you speak it, it could have a meaning.
  5. Take your time. You’re going to live with your new name for many years, possibly a lifetime!

Good hunting!

The following links may assist you in choosing a magical name or combination of names.

Belly Ballot “African Baby Names

Bindrik “Choosing Your Witchcraft Name

Thuri Calafia “Choosing Your Magical Name” May 5, 2009

Dana Corby “The Rantin’ Raven: On Choosing a Magical Name” June 4, 2016

Patti Wigington “Finding Your Magical Name” April 28, 2019

Emma Kyteler “Beautiful Witch Names: Choosing A Magical Name

Silver Ravenwolf “Choosing a Magical Name

— Morgana RavenTree

Morgana RavenTree is the current President of Pagan Pride Los Angeles, Inc. (aka Pagan Pride LA/OC).

5 Books about Names

Books about (not necessarily) Magical Names:

Andrews, Ted, The Magical Name: A Practical Technique for Inner Power (Llewelyn Publications: 1991)

Andrews, Ted, The Sacred Power in Your Name (not about magical names, but can be adapted for that purpose) (Llewelyn Publications: 1998) ISBN9780875420127

Himes, Mavis, The Power of Names: Uncovering the Mystery of What We Are Called (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers: 2016) ISBN-13: 978-1442259782 (also available as E-Book) Name (not about magical names, but can be adapted for that purpose)

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans & Independent Thinkers of All Sorts Who Are Curious about Names from Every Place and Every Time

McFarland, Phoenix, The Complete Book of Magical Names (Llewelyn Publications: 2002)

Spring Always Keeps Her Promises

Inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s “Primavera”

Blow as ye will, North Wind,

Keep us within our shelters.

Do your worst but know ye this:

Spring Always Keeps Her Promises…

Threaten me, North Wind.

Blanket my world with your cold white mantle.

Chill me with your empty ranting.

I will heed you not for I know

Spring Always Keeps Her Promises…

You are weakening, Old Man Winter.

Your icy blasts are segueing to warming zephyrs.

Your white cloak is melting to a new, softly petaled,

vari-hued shawl laid at my feet.

I knew you would fade and die,

for I know that once more the world

would sing, dance and rejoice

Because, you see,

Spring Always Keeps Her Promises…

— Shulamit

Shulamit was a late comer to Wicca, having discovered this was her calling 30 years ago. She never even knew what Wicca was about and when a good friend thought she would be open to learning about it, it was like a puzzle piece snapped into place and she never looked back. She joined a coven shortly after and when that group dissolved after several years, she received training into another Wiccan tradition and is still on that path. In her youth, she performed in a dance company presenting music and dance from Eastern Europe/Central Asia/Middle East and now when not involved with her present coven, her passions are needlework and her son.

What’s in a Name?

“The name we give to something shapes our attitude to it”

~Katherine Patterson~


What’s in a name? Plenty. Your name is a symbol. It’s an access point to you. When someone calls your name, or even says your name in conversation, they are using a symbol that accesses you.

But which you does your name access? After all, you have many sides to your personality. Sometimes you’re a loner, other times a chatty Cathy. Occasionally you might be moody and most times chipper. Sometimes you anger more easily than others. So when some accesses you via your name, which version of you are they going to get.

Which version they get depends a lot on which version of your name they use. Most names have more formal and more diminutive versions. For instance, you might be Susan, Sue, or Susannah. Each version of the name has a different elemental makeup, and can contribute a lot to your personality in the moment.

For instance, Sue has the components air and water. The sound “ssssss” in Sue is air.    Magically the element air relates to communication, thinking, dreaming, and enlightenment. The “oooh” sound, the second part of Sue, is water. Water relates to feelings, emotions, passion, and the subconscious. So when someone calls you Sue they would access parts of your personality that relate to air and water.

Susan, on the other hand, has two air sounds (in the two letters “s”), water sounds in the “u” and “a,” and an earth component in the letter “n.” Magically the element Earth relates to stability, certainty of beings, order, and solidity. So if someone calls you Susan rather than Sue, chances are that they’ll access parts of your personality that are a little more solid, stable, and practical.

Names also affect us based on archetypes that already exist in the world. For instance, if you associate the name Susannah with the song that goes, “Oh, Susannah, don’t you cry for me …” your personality might reflect the attributes of that song. Or if you were named after actress Susan Sarandon, you might take on aspects of her on or off-screen personas.

Names are incredibly powerful. Knowing someone’s true name has power in the magical world, which is why practitioners often refuse to reveal their spiritual names (names they have chosen or were given for use in their spiritual practice).

If you want to change something about yourself or your world, you might take a closer look at your name. Maybe it’s time to insist that others call you Susan rather than Sue, or maybe it’s time for a name change altogether. Or, you could keep your name as is but find some new associations for it. If you like a particular character in a movie or book who has your same name, start mentally linking your identity
and name with that character.

Tammye McDuff is the editor and senior reporter for Hews Media Group, covering 25 of the Gateway Cities. She is the publisher and founder of These Curious Times News and executive producer for TCTN Interviews which debuts on PARAflixx March 2021. Born and raised in South East Texas, she learned the secrets of herbs from her grandmothers, learned to draw down the moon from her great grandmothers back porch and danced in the forest with the Fae. She is a student of High Magick and Theosophy, with some good ole fashion common sense mixed in.

Artist’s Corner: Brigid

 “Brigid” 

by Matthew DeHaven 

(acrylic and pencil on canvas)

One of the most revered Goddesses from Ireland, Brigid was also known as Brid, Brighid and Bridget. She is often depicted as having the triple aspect of maiden, mother and crone. Here I have painted Brigid in her youthful form as Brigid symbolizes new beginnings, fertility, and the stirrings of spring.  She  is also known as a fire Goddess and is the patron of blacksmiths, farmers, musicians,  poets, and healers. Brigid’s sacred day is celebrated on February 1st, known as Imbolc, with bonfires and offerings at wells and springs throughout Irish countryside.

For more information on the Goddess Brigid, visit https://mythologysource.com/brigid-irish-goddess/

To view more of my paintings go to  www.stonehengeblue.com

The Reader’s List: 5 Books

5 books that all Pagans should read. Most are written by non-Pagans. People who are new to Paganism often make the mistake of reading only Pagan authors, but it’s important to get a balanced perspective by reading more scholarly works. All of the following books are in print and most are available in ebook and audiobook forms as well. Happy reading!

Prof. Rosalie David, OBE, Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt – Professor David has achieved world renown for her pioneering work in investigating mummies using non-destructive techniques. She is Director of the KNH Centre for Biological and Forensic Studies in Egyptology at The University of Manchester. 

Prof. Kaba Hiawatha Kamene  Spirituality Before Religions – Professor Kamene is recognized as an internationally acclaimed, Pan-African Historian.

Prof. Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants – the author is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth  – the late Dr. Kramer was the world’s foremost Assyriologist and Sumerologist. This collaboration with the late Diane Wolkstein, a professional storyteller and performance artist, celebrates the oldest known literature – hymns in honor of the Goddess Inanna.

Dean Radin Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe (recommended by Jean Duranti) – The chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) turns a critical eye toward such practices as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis.

Finding Your Own Paths

By Jeanne McLaughlin

Finding our own paths has always been important, however never more so than now, IMO.  I believe that faith and spirituality are what’s going to get us thru these trying times, and if you don’t have those… well, good luck! The criteria for finding one’s own path hasn’t changed, fortunately, just the importance of doing it now.  

My best advice is remain open to new ideas, learn as much as you can about practices or spiritual beliefs that you respond to, question things freely – especially spiritual leaders (if they can’t take questions, personally, I’d run!!), and most of all be willing to rethink your beliefs from time to time.

Me, I was raised Christian, changed to Witch/Wicca at age 47; 4 years later, Shaman felt more comfortable, and these days I go by Medicine Woman.  All are interchangeable to me – what’s important at the end of the day *to me* is the four directions and the five elements.  I care about Mother Earth and hold her sacred. I am passionate about supporting animal rights. I adore Nature in all forms – these things I have in common with most Pagans.  Yet I don’t do rituals or spells, I’ve never belonged to a coven or group, and I don’t really give a damn what others do.  I simply hope we all get along. The one thing I can say without question, is “Yes, Virginia, there *is* a Santa Claus” – and “Yes, you can bet your ass that magic exists in many glorious and wondrous forms.  Never ever doubt that.  Find it in your own ways, whatever resonates with you.  And, don’t ever let anyone tell you magic doesn’t exist.  They’re simply wrong”.