No, not THAT president, the President of Pagan Pride LA/OC, of course. This has been a very strange year. I am beginning to think of 2020 as the “Year that Never Happened”.
This year we have said good-bye to two past contributors to Pagan Pride LA/OC – Greg Harder, our former official photographer (see the September edition of Southland Pagan Press), and Linda Fox, our former Board member and President. Linda contributed so much to the continuation and expansion of this organization. Even after she stepped down as President and from the Board, she continued to contribute as a volunteer, a vendor at our swapmeet fundraisers, and most importantly, stuffing our ever-popular mystery bags for our live event. She will be greatly missed.
This would have been our 22nd annual Pagan Pride Day LA/OC at Rainbow Lagoon in the City of Long Beach, but in early Summer, we made the hard decision that we could not hold our live event this year. Instead, we decided to go virtual for the first time. While we do not have the energy and congeniality of a live event this year, going virtual has turned out to have a silver lining – Pagan personalities who would not normally be able to travel to our event are able to join us this time, thanks to Facebook Live and other social media outlets. This year, travel distance is not an issue. This means entertainers like Livia from the UK, Tommie Starchild, Orion Foxwood, Hexeba Theaux and many other can present workshops, ritual and entertainment for the first time. We have familiar friends returning this year, too.
We are also able to expand our program to two days this year – Saturday, October 24th from 10:00am to 9:00pm and Sunday, October 25th from 10:00am to 9:15pm.
This amazing event would not have been possible without our wonderful Board – Brian Ewing, the founder of Pagan Pride Los Angeles, Inc. and currently our Vendor Coordinator and Webmaster, Kimberley Berger, our Volunteer Coordinator, Tammye McDuff Kline, Press and Vendor Promotion. We can’t forgot Chaw Moon-Starwell, our outstanding Programming Coordinator, who made this program possible, and finally a special thank you to PashurBodyArt for designing this year’s beautiful artwork.
Check our website http://www.paganpridela.org for our schedule of events and don’t forget to check out this year’s commemorative tee shirts by Infinity Prints Unlimited. We hope you enjoy this new way to experience Pagan Pride Day 2020!
Morgana RavenTree is the current President of Pagan Pride Los Angeles, Inc.
A Crooked Path with Robert Ravnar – 10:30am Sat. October 24th
In this discussion we will touch on life’s ebbs and flows. The importance of the inner work, self love, self acceptance, and the maintenance of the temples that we ARE!
We will also be doing a brief path working to visit our inner temple and return with a help tool or friend to aid us on our journey.
Bio: Robert Ravnar is a practicing witch and healer and has been an active member of the Pagan community for the past 8 years providing healings, readings, and continues to share the knowledge he has attained thus far.
Conjure Basics an Introduction to Rootwork with Hexeba Theaux – 2:00pm Sat. October 24th
This talk covers what Hoodoo/Conjure/Rootwork is and whatit is not. How products are used (and what those products are.) Come learn whyall the powders look the same and how you would use powders, why some washes smell nice and others are pungent. This class will look at how to use Hoodoo Waters and Salts as well as how Wiccan Candle magic differs from Hoodoo Candle Magic. We will also cover some history of Hoodoo and Conjure and how they are similar and how they are different.
Paganism and Earth Centered Spirituality and Magic: An Ancestral Calling for a Current Need with Orion Foxwood – 11:00am Sun. October 25th
Orion Foxwood is a traditional witch, conjure-man and faery seer; and, the author of “The Faery Teachings” (RJ Stewart Books), “The Tree of Enchantment”, “The Candle & the Crossroads” and “The Flame in the Cauldron” (Weiser Books). Born with the veil in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia- he was exposed to faith-healing, root-doctoring, faery lore and of southern and Appalachian folk magic which he teaches in workshops and other forums. He is the founder of the House of Brigh Faery Seership Institute; and Foxwood Temple to pass on the traditional witchcraft of his elders. He holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services. Website: orionfoxwood.com.
Wards and Protection Spells with Hexeba Theaux – 2:00pm Sun. October 25th
One can never have too many protection spells in their magical arsenal. Protection is one of the “big four” in Hoodoo. The “big four” consist of magic used for Love, Health, Protection and Money. This class will focus on Protection. Do you feel the need to protect your loved ones? Is your child being bullied at school? Do you indulge in works that leave you feeling in need of protection? Do you just want to protect your home from negative energy? Whether you are keeping negative energy at bay, blocking access to your home, or raging full on war against an evil entity, this class is not to be missed. All of these conditions will be covered in this class.
Her Hoodoo/Conjure products can be found online at CajunConjure.com as well as Lightweavers Academy in Citrus Heights, California, Crossroads in Shingle Springs, California and at The Open Eye in Clovis, California. For more information on classes and products please refer to www. CajunConjure.com, there you will find a schedule of upcoming Zoom classes, description of products and Hexeba’s Blog.
Growing Right Relationship with Self with Tommy StarChild – 8:00pm Sunday, October 25th
The art and craft of magic and witchery have become one of the fastest growing religious/spiritual practices over the last decade. Many books have been written on the subject of how to, and classes can be found all over the world. One thing that is often not found is the foundational practice vital to working the craft. “Growing Right Relationship with Self” will dip into this practice of fostering a relationship with self; who is self, and the difference between the ego-self and the authentic-self. We will take a look at the Spiritual, Mystical, and Magical steps of becoming a co-creator of ones reality, and how growing right relationship with self is the Spiritual step that is the foundation on which a sound magical practice is built.
Tommie StarChild, a spirit worker, witch, and an initiate in the Anderson Feri mystery tradition. He was born with faerie companions (Simms), gifted with spirit sight, and comes from a family of conjure workers. StarChild is also a teacher, presenter, published writer/artist, owner of My Authentic Self, and founder of Sacred Moon, Sacred Self – Temple of the Old Ways. He has over 29 years experience as a witch, over 16 years as a Feri initiate, professional spirit worker for the past 12 years, and has been an apprentice, for the past 10 years to present, at the House of Bright Faery Seership Institute with Orion Foxwood. Tommie StarChild has worked for the past 12 years to present – as a spirit worker, reader/spiritual counselor, intuitive and Reiki healer, and preforms services of conjure and witchcraft. Now the proud owner of Moonshine Magic, located in Julian CA. For more information you can go to MoonshineMagicJulian on Instagram, and/or, MoonshineMagic on Facebook (website is in production).
Other new faces include:
The Awakening of Consciousness with Evah Cerhus – 10:30am Sun. October 25th
Hermetic Mysticism in the Process of Creativity with Solar Greye– 1:00pm Sun. October 25th
The Foundation of Sense: Porto Rican Vodou with Jennifer Medway – 3:00pm Sun. October 25th
Magical Qi Gong with Rene Collins – 10:00am Sat. October 24th
In this workshop you will learn specific movements and healing sounds to assist you in your own personal workings regardless of your magickal background. Learn how to increase your Qi such that you can actually feel it in and around your body and learn to project it out. Learn the 5 elements of the Chinese system and how to connect them with the Western elemental system. Learn how to apply Qi Gong practices to develop magical health!! For 5000 years ancient Taoist Masters scientifically researched the nature of “Qi” or the Life Force. They were the first to understand how certain herbs, foods and specific movements helped cultivate Qi for health and longevity. One of the exciting elements of Qi Gong is its ability to assist in magickal operations. A practitioner, whether a witch, magician, conjurer, etc could use Qi Gong to summon greater amounts of life force. This surplus of energy could be used for charging a symbol or magickal object, building a cone of power, spell casting and chanting.
Note: Rene will also provide an exclusive Pagan Pride LA/OC video performance at 6:00pm Sun. October 25th
Rene Collins, a magickal practitioner for over 30 years,. He is trained in both Western and Eastern traditions and has studied Qi Gong and the power of the life force extensively. Rene is also skilled in martial arts, mysticism, and meditation. Rene Collins is a founding member of the Wisdom Council of the Starlit Well, offering Full Moon ceremonies monthly at Topanga State Beach for the last 5 years.
Awakening Your Green Wisdom with Julie James – 11:00am Sat. October 24th
Green Wisdom tells us that we are in relationship, at all times, with our Green cousins, plants and trees and mosses and roots. The Wisdom comes from the recognition of this relationship, a deeper understanding of how that relationship manifests, and how to further develop that connection, and interpret what we learn. In this class we will learn how to understand the “language” of plants and how to expand that relationship. Bring a few plants (edible or not, living, or freshly cut or dried or made into medicine or food—all of it works) to the class with you so as to put our work into practice right away!
Julie James is an herbal practitioner and educator based in Long Beach. She has worked with the healing plants for over 35 years, and is the owner/director of Green Wisdom Apothecary Supply and School of Herbal Studies in Long Beach. For more information, visit www.greenwisdomerherbalstudies.com Green Wisdom Herbal Studies, 2023 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, Ca, 90806, United States (562) 591-8700julie@Greenwisdomherbalstudies.Com
The Mystery of Death: A Traditional Witchcraft Classby Griffin Ced & Carrie Wolf of The Green Man Store – 12:30pmSat. October 24th
Dealing with Mortality is not something most people today spend a lot of serious time contemplating, outside of the occasional news of disaster, and the inhuman manner in which death is treated within our mainstream media entertainment arena. But to a Traditional Witch, the relationship with Spirit is foundational, and our practices and cosmology reflect the importance of the comings and goings of spirit. Many of our practices in life relate to a larger picture of eternity that includes the other realms and underworld, aka the Mound.
This class promises to address the subject from many contexts and bring what we consider a vital part of the Witch Lore that every “Craft” practitioner should be in possession of!
This is always an appropriate class during the Hallows Season Tide. But this year, probably because of the Coronavirus and the tragic loss of life we have around the world, and the constant reminder of how Death stalks us all running on all media, we feel it is even more pertinent than normal.
Our classes are candid and straight to the point, with a goal to pass insight and understanding on subjects often skirted within the witching world of these times. The background and root of this class is from a British Traditional Craft (non-Wiccan) perspective and approach for those on a similar path but also as information for those not on a path such as ours. We hope this information may bring everyone some insight and strength in facing this daunting subject. We shall be pulling from a Witch’s Cosmology and practices as they pertain to the Death Realm and Legacy. If we have time or if people prefer, we hope to also be sharing personal insights and approaches to this subject of Death and Death Mysteries from our experience as Witches, spanning decades of experience. Some of the material presented in this class may be received by some as challenging. But it is our hope that this class and approach bring insight, clarity and liberation into the depths of the vast Legacy that awaits us within our Witch’s Blood when opening to the greater mystery of eternity!
Lady Liberty in the pursuit of democracy with Tony Mierzwicki – 1:00pm Sat. October 24th
This talk is about using Lady Liberty in the pursuit of democracy. This just focus on democracy in general. Incorporating stuff about Libertas the Roman goddess of liberty, Helios and Apollo the Greek sun gods. ***
Tony Mierzwicki is the author of “Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment” and a primer reconstructing Classical Greek religion, “Hellenismos: Practicing Greek Polytheism Today”. He has contributed to various anthologies and has been featured extensively in print, online and broadcast media. Tony developed a fascination for ancient religions in the early 1980s, which led him to immerse himself into ceremonial magick in 1990. He has been running regular workshops and rituals recreating ancient magickal and religious practices in the United States and on the east coast of Australia since 2001. See the Authors Booth after this event. For more details see http://www.hermeticmagick.net.
Celtic Otherworld with Muertagh AnDoile – 3:00pmSat. October 24th
Join Murtaugh AnDoile in a short lecture on the Celtic Otherworld. Dive into the depth of Celtic mythology.
Murtagh AnDoile is an independent scholar and researcher. He is a Drui and elder of the Tuatha De Danann Tradition (NECTW) and the group, Nemed na Morrigna. He is the Director for the Pagan History Project (currently on hiatus). He has a degree in Anthropology with specialties in Religion and mythology, and has worked as an archaeologist for Brown University. Tagh has been involved in the Pagan movement since 1968 and celebrating 51 years in same. Contact: email@example.com.
TechnoPaganism: Disk of Shadows, Virtual rituals, online degrees with Ann Finnin Hosted on Zoom– 4:00pm Sat. October 24th
TechnoPaganism: Disk of Shadows, Virtual rituals, online degrees. The last thirty years have seen an uneasy alliance between modern technology and ancient pagan practices. Are the two really compatible? What are the challenges?
Ann Finnin has been in the Craft for 46 years. First initiated by Ed Fitch in 1974, she and her husband, Dave, founded the Roebuck Coven in 1976 which still meets today. Ann has initiations in at least a half-a-dozen magical systems and groups. Her first book, The Forge of Tubal Cain, was published by Pendraig Press in 2008. Her second book, The Journey to the Castle, is scheduled to be published next year.
Settling into the Dark: a nature meditation by Elizabeth TigerRose– 5:00pm Sat. October 24th
Come join Elizabeth TigerRose as she walks you through a wonderful nature meditation that will help you settle into the darkness of the wild. This mediation will go beyond reconnect you with natures and instead explore hidden unilluminated element of the green world we sprang from but now fear.
Elizabeth Rose is a High Priestess in the lineage of Tuatha de Danann, as well as one of three priestesses in our Lady of TriVia, which created public ritual after hours Agoura Renaissance Faire starting in 1985. She’s been engaged with meditation since 1972 and was trained as an MBSR facilitator in the first VA program to work with veterans using mindfulness techniques, in 2014. She is also an LCSW in both public and private practice.
Other Saturday Workshops with Returning Friends:
Workshop with Jymie Darling – 6:00pm Sat. October 24th
Workshop with Jenifer Morris – 8:00pm Sat. October 24th
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25TH
The Secrets of the Tarot with Georgia Ravenhawk & Lady Brenda – 12:00pm Sun. October 25th
Join Lady Brenda and Georgia for a peek into the secrets of the Tarot cards. Learn a brief history, symbolism and how the Tarot can change and enhance your lives. At the end of the discussion 5 people will be chosen to for mini readings by Lady Brenda. All attendees will be eligible for a 20% discount for our upcoming online Tarot class. We look forwards to seeing you and sharing our passion for the Tarot.
Lady Brenda is a professional Psychic and High Priestess of The Grove of the Green Cobra. She is also a published author of metaphysical books including: The Wings of Isis, Tarot Secrets, Reiki for Witches. http://www.ladybbooks.com
Georgia (Ravenhawk) is a longtime consulting Astrologer, professional psychic and Reiki Master. She teaches numerous classes online and is the author of three books, including Tarot Secrets, Reiki for Witches and Reiki, Crystals and Chakras.
The Red Bones: The Experience of Initiation with Jeffrey Albaugh – 5:00pm Sun. October 25th via Zoom
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. The images accompanying initiatory experiences–death, dismemberment, transformation, transition, and rebirth—appear reflected in the myths, rituals, and dreams of all cultures. This discussion with reflect on how we as Contemporary Pagans and Witches approach the notion of initiation. Is initiation as important as once it was? Should everyone be initiated? How does initiation change the initiate?
Jeffrey Albaugh is an independent scholar and educator. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre, and a Master’s in Depth Psychology. He has served on the Board of Directors for Cherry Hill Seminary, currently serves as Program Manager for the Conference on Current Pagan Studies, and is co-chair of the Pagan Studies Unit of the American Academy of Religion, Western Regional. He is an initiate of the Gardnerian and Georgian traditions and studied the Anderson Feri Tradition with T. Thorn Coyle.
OTHER SUNDAY WORKSHOPS WITH RETURNING FRIENDS:
Hermetic Mysticism in the Process of Creativity with Solar Greye – 1:00pm Sun. October 25th
The Foundation of Sense: Porto Rican Vodou with Jennifer Medway – 3:00pm Sun. October 25th
The Psychedelic Roots Of Religious Experience with Richard Merlin – 4:00pm Sun. October 25th
LIVIA: an exclusive Pagan Pride LA/OC video Performance– 12:00pm Sat. October 24th
Livia has been enchanting audiences with her magically-infused music, mystical melodies and distinctive lyrics since she started touring her debut album ‘Journey Of An Empath’ in 2014. Blending pop, rock, folk, latin, industrial and gothic sounds with elements of Pagan music and Wiccan mysticism, she has created her own unique brand of ‘magick pop’. In 2010, she was discovered by BRIT Award-winning producer Simon Ellis (The Spice Girls, Britney Spears) and is currently working on her new record due out next year. Livia developed serious anxiety, depression and OCD after experiencing severe bullying at school and has dedicated her career to highlighting mental health issues, writing songs with deep and diverse subject matter. When Livia performs live, she is joined by her Elemental dancers – a group of skilled performers and flow artists who represent Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Other Entertainment at Virtual Pagan Pride Day:
Rene Collins in an Exclusive Pagan Pride LA/OC Video Performance – 6:00pm Sun. October 25th
Druid Hospitality Ritual with Raven’s Cry Grove, ADF – 7:00pm Sat. October 24th
Raven’s Cry Grove, ADF has been serving the L.A. Pagan community with public rituals for 21 years. We are a group of about two dozen Druids who present eight rituals a year in the Northern L.A. area at the modern Pagan high days, plus Pagan Pride Day. We are a member grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship which is based on ancient Indo-European traditions expressed through public worship, study, and fellowship. Our rituals are primarily devotional in nature, designed to strengthen the Three Kindred (Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and the Shining Ones) through our remembrance, praise and offering.
Pagan Pride LA/OC Presents: Pagan Pride LA/OC Presents a Community Ritual Pagans United for the Safety and Strength! by Griffin Ced & Carrie Wolfof The Green Man Store7:00pm Sun. October 25th
We call upon all Pagans form all paths and practices to unite as ONE! In unity we stand in out Power for Strength and safety in these uncertain times. As a majorly diverse community, we or the Pagan Path hold many different practices, beliefs, form of faith and traditions. We are of all colors, creeds, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. So let us then, with the power of our magics and ways, be an example of how a diverse county seems bent on division. For our safety, our strength, for our children and their Legacy for the future, let us secure our ways in the sanctuary of each other’s solidarity!
United we are Strong. Divided we are our ways are vulnerable. May the Blessings of our Gods and Ancestors bring us guidance and wisdom. SO mote it be.
Griffin Ced is the Witch Father of the family line and Tradition of Ced. Hailing from Britain, Griffin comes from a mix of Hertfordshire Village folk, Romany Gypsy, Essex and London breeding. The Witchblood was passed onto him across the veil from his Great-Grandmother. He was raised with Spiritualism and good old fashioned British Craft, into which he was initiated in Essex back in 1975. After much trailing, he fell in love with California, making LA his home for the past 27 years! Griffin has been teaching Traditional Craft and leading public rituals for over two decades and is committed to Community-building for the future of our people. To this end, Griffin, as the Manager of The Green Man in North Hollywood, has helped create the magical experience people have come to love with that store. As well as at Crones Hollow in Salt Lake City, where, together with Rita Morgan, the Dame and Mother of the Ced Line, for over the past 25 years, they have lead the oldest running coven in Utah. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrie Wolf Ced is the current Witch Mother and Dame of the Ced Tradition. She is also one of the owners of The Green Man Store. A self-described “recovering catholic”, Wolf was born with the Sight which runs in her family lines. Her desire to hone that ancestral gift led her to seek personalized training, which eventually led her to the study of witchcraft. In pursuit of that study, she found her way to the Ced Tradition, learning from Griffin Ced and Rita Morgan Ced and honing her craft. She was initiated into their EarthHaven coven in 2009, and was initiated into the Ced Clan in 2015. The mantle of Witch Mother and Dame of Ced was passed to her directly from Rita a few months before Rita’s death in 2019.
In 2010, she and her family members Jill & Joe Weiss opened The Green Man Store with the desire to build a pagan community, and brought Griffin Ced in as Manager. There she makes incense & oil blends, and crafts custom spell candles & mojo bags for customers and coveners alike. She is often found working with Griffin on classes, workshops, special events, and rituals for the pagan community, which has grown and flourished at the store. Outside of coven and store, Wolf is an animal lover and an accomplished Horsewoman. Horses, dogs, and cats all share in her life. A wolf lover for obvious reasons, she is a patron of Wolf Mountain Sanctuary for rescued wolves. Wolf is an avid reader and loves the works of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. She has a wry humor, a quick wit, and a sharp tongue that is almost always planted firmly in cheek.
Other Rituals at Virtual Pagan Pride LA/OC 2020:
Sound Healing Ritual with Havalah – 10:00am Sun. October 25th
In this photo essay, we pay tribute to the late Greg Harder, Pagan Pride Day’s official photographer in 2015 and 2016. A longtime member of the Pagan community and supporter of Pagan Pride, Greg will be missed deeply by all who crossed his path.
The Pacific Circle Revival mission is “Bringing the pagan community together, in nature, for an enlightening, spiritual, and educational camping experience enjoyed by pagans and their families at Summer Solstice.”
Each year, we have a different theme and the focus of our presentations, altars and experiences vary within the theme or other activities on site. In 2019 at PCR, we had the second year of setting up for our directional altars/sacred spaces around the road that encircles Bandido campground. That year we added Toad, Snake, Crow and Rabbit on the various directional altars. The altars were set up early on Thursday while we set up camp. When the registered campers arrived on Friday, our opening ceremony included a walk around the site with stops at each altar.
We are always delighted to greet the resident crows and rabbits at the site, but it was not long after the altars were set up on Thursday that we saw a Black Bear at one of the trashcans. Later in the evening, we saw a doe and fawn. It was Friday evening after the campfire that I noticed something moving in the dark, when we put the light on it, there were little toads hopping about. On Friday we sighted a rattlesnake at one in the of the campground and then we saw one at the other end.
While some of these might have been a bit startling, there were no negative interactions with the humans, we just caught sight of the wonderful variety of non-human residents of the Angeles National Forest all in one weekend. This is a beautiful example of sympathetic magic, by honoring these creatures, they came to greet us.
We hope you will join us at our next Summer Solstice camp out, our confirmed dates for 2021 are June 25-27. Registration online will be open soon, to keep updated, please join our email list.
Holmes was acting out. He was running around like a maniac clawing at everything in sight, just being a little shit. I decided it was time to do more than just yell at him (which never does any good with a cat, anyway), so I figured it might be time to do a ritual for Bast, the Egyptian cat goddess. At the time, I was studying Egyptian magic. I set up a simple Egyptian altar with a representation of the Goddess and set up offerings of kibble and milk. I offered these to the Goddess and said Praises for Her. Suddenly, Holmes appeared in the bedroom doorway glaring at me, except he didn’t have the eyes of my beloved cat. No, his eyes glowed with an eerie light and I knew that he was manifesting the Goddess. He walked straight to the altar, stopping for a moment to look up at me. He then bent down and began to drink the milk. The thing is, Holmes never liked milk. He had never drunk it before, but I realized it had to be the Goddess who was consuming the milk through him. He drank all of the milk and then took some bites of the kibble, looking at me again and rubbing his cheek on my knee. He then turned around and walked out the door. After that, his behavior changed much for the better.
Several years earlier I went on a backpacking trip with the Sierra Club in the undeveloped backside of Catalina Island. It was summer, and I hadn’t brought a tent, because I like to look at the stars when I sleep outside. I woke up that night because I felt something touching my foot. I looked up over the edge of my sleeping bag and there at the foot of my sleeping bag stood a boar, one of the many that run wild on Catalina. She looked at me, I looked at her, and I felt an immediate connection to this animal. I didn’t feel any fear and we simply stared at each other for a while, before she made a little grunting noise, turned around and disappeared Into the night.
Not long after (this was in the 1980s), while I was living in an apartment building in Westwood, I heard the sound of a crow or raven cawing outside. This went on for several days and nights. I finally figured out that the bird was in a very tall tree growing outside my building. One night, the bird perched on the edge of my balcony. Again, we made eye contact and the bird “spoke” to me. It visited me for 3 nights, before disappearing. It was at this time I added “RavenTree” to my public magical name.
I do not believe that our Spirit Animals stay with us for our entire lifetime. In the 80s and early 90s my spirit animals were the boar and the raven but over time that seem to change. In the very late 90s and throughout the Aughts, I acquired a new spirit guide – the red panda. I first encountered her during a guided meditation. I saw a creature that looked very raccoon-like, but wasn’t a raccoon because its fur was red. I didn’t recognize the animal, but later I checked a book I had of all mammals of the word. I flipped through the book and found a picture of a Red Panda and knew that was my Spirit Animal. My Red Panda has guided me through my experience learning a new tradition, studying, teaching, setting up my own coven and continuing practice.
The fact she isn’t a flesh-and-blood animals is irrelevant. She continues to guide me. I encourage everyone to look back on your life and think about the animals, both “real” and “spirit” that have influenced your own life and growth on your pagan path.
Morgana RavenTree is the current President of Pagan Pride LA/OC and has practiced various magical paths over the past 38 years.
How does a child of Diaspora find her ancestors? How does she connect with her ancestral culture when it exists on another continent she has never, and possibly will never, visit?
My parents were born in Indonesia when it was a colony of the Netherlands. After Indonesian independence, in the early 1950’s, they, my brother and their extended family all left the only home most of them had ever known and migrated to the Netherlands, the “homeland” most of them had never seen. They found it difficult to adapt to a cold (in more than one way) country and after I was born, immigrated to Massachusetts, then California. Growing up in Southern California, there were no other Dutch-Indonesian (“Indo”) families where we lived. My parents told me stories of growing up in Indonesia, but for the most part, they wanted me to be “American”. English became our primary language and in school I absorbed “American” history and culture. The strongest connection to the culture into which they had been born was food. My mother cooked mostly Indonesian food for my father, but even then, she made separate “American” food for me. The only time I ate Indonesian food was for special occasions, when we would go to “Little Bali” restaurant in Inglewood for “Rijstaffel”, an Indonesian feast. It was not until I was in college, visited my grandmother in the Netherlands, and collected her recipes that I learned to appreciate Indo food. For a while I was really into cooking Indo food, but I discovered that my friends did not like it (or maybe they just did not like my cooking), so I stopped gradually. It has been several years since I have prepared any Indo dishes. Meanwhile, I ate Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino and other Asian foods, but neglected my own food heritage.
At several recent Pantheacons, I attended workshops on Hoodoo and Conjure paths that have become popular. Rather than studying those paths, it awakened in me a desire to learn more about the Pagan cultures of my ancestors. Although my ancestors were both European and Asian, my Pagan practice has always been European-origin Wicca (with a detour to Ancient Egypt). At one of the Pagans of Color caucuses I expressed my desire to connect with my own ancestral Indonesian culture, but did not know how to start, as my most recent Indonesian ancestors were Muslim. One of the other attendees recommended that I do “ancestor work” and try to connect with more distant ancestors. After thinking about it, I realized I did not have to go back that far. My mother had told me that her grandmother was a “witchdoctor” who lit candles for spirits. I doubt she was a “witch” in the European sense of the word. It was more likely that she was a practitioner of folk-magic. She died when I was 2 years old, so I am not her reincarnation, but my mother often said I was very much like her.
I want to reconnect to pre-Islamic Indonesian culture (the islands of Indonesia were once a hub of Hindu-Buddhist culture) using my great grandmother as a bridge. As the Balinese never converted to Islam, I looked to Balinese culture for clues as to how the pre-Islamic culture of the rest of Indonesia would have been. I know enough about Balinese culture to know that great feasts are prepared for the gods (or in this case, my ancestors), but after they have eaten the spirits in the foods, it’s the people that eat the food. I feel that before I can call upon and commune with my ancestors, particularly with my great-grandmother, I need to show them that I am serious about pursuing this and honor them as they deserve.
This long explanation is leading up to this: during the pandemic, I suddenly found myself mostly homebound for three months. That is when I decided to re-learn how to cook Indo foods. I have an added complication. For health reasons, my doctors do not want me to eat red meat (and by “red meat” they mean mammals), empty carbs (white rice, white potatoes), and restrict sugar and saturated fat (which includes coconut). Dairy too, but that doesn’t really figure in Indo cooking much. I started with some simple dishes – “frikadel” (a meatloaf made with potatoes), “sayoer lodeh” (vegetables in coconut cream) and “atjar” (pickled vegetables). I have had to make each dish several times, each time trying to “perfect” the recipe. For the frikadel, I had to replace ground beef with ground turkey and mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes (higher in fiber and nutrients). It smelled and tasted like my mother’s frikadel but was disturbingly pale. I think I will need to make it one more time and mix the soy sauce into the loaf instead of pouring it on top in an effort “darken” the loaf.
My adventures making cheese started a while back with a group experience to make Ricotta for Imbolc. Making cheese is simply the process of separating curds from whey. This is done with either rennet (an enzyme) or acid. Aged cheeses are more complex and usually separated with rennet. Luckily, fresh cheese can be made with milk, a pot, a cheese cloth, and some acid.
Bring milk (and salt if needed) to a gentle boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. The milk type and mixture will vary by the recipe.
Add the acid
Let it separate
Drain into cheese cloth
Process according to cheese type.
No really, it is ENTIRELY that simple. Check out the provided links to great simple recipes above and begin your cheese making adventure. If we ever get to gather again you will impress the heck out of your friends!
In my opinion, the BEST thing to do with fresh ricotta is to serve it warm, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with cracked pepper and a bit of shredded parmesan. Seriously. The best!
If for some reasons you any left, try out these awesome ricotta recipes.