Issue 2

Samhain 2011

In This Issue ...
3 5-10 11-14
Cover photo: “Babalon’s Forge” by Laurelei Black, © 2010

Editor’s Spark Festival Forum: Pagan Pride Day in the Midwest Festival Forum: Yuletide and Longest Night Sacrifice in Ancient Religion by Laura Britton Alchemy Astrology: Sidereal Reading for Samhain by Tim “KC” Wilkerson Moral Musings: The Golden Rule by Gwenhwyvar Victoria Michels The Golden Yule by Daun Fields The Continuing Adventures of Dragon and Bunny Sacred Sexuality: Symposium of the Hetaerae by Laurelei Black Vendor’s View: The Magic Candle, Indianapolis, IN

15-20 22-23

The Balefire is a quarterly publication of Asteria Books, Martinsville, Indiana. All of the writing and art in this publication are the property of the individual contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed in any form without the express permission of the copyright holders.


29 30 31-34



Also in this Issue ...
38-40 41- 42 Community Services: Works Gaia-

The Balefire is always accepting submissions of original writing in the form of articles, rituals, poetry, short fiction, and reviews. We are also continually open to contributions of photography and other artwork. Our topics cover the broad range of magical and spiritual experience within the Pagan and Occult communities, while retaining a clear focus on the manifestations of those communities in the Midwest. We welcome contributions to any of our regular features as well as any submissions related to a particular topic of interest to our readers. Topics might include: magical practices * spells * magical and spiritual traditions * ritual texts * reviews of rituals, events, and festivals * group profiles * Pagan children, teens, and families * polyamory * sacred sexuality * spiritual ecstasy * pantheons and Deity profiles * music and book reviews * sustainable living * ecomagic * community service * and so much more Our regular features include:  Vendor’s View  Community Services  Festival Forum  Rites of Passage (announcements)  Teen Retreat  Fireside Chat  Red Straps  Lifestyles of the Witch and Magus  Riding a Broom in the Bible Belt We are also willing to accept proposals for on-going columns, comics or art installations. To submit your writing, artwork or photography to The Balefire, please send .doc, .rtf and .jpg files to

The Red Straps: OZA’s Roots in the Vedic Dawn Goddess by Vorpal Bunny The Magic of Herbs: Immerse Yourself in Natural Healing by Paula Dorsen Hearth Witch: The Integrated Magical Home by Rhana T’Qayn Lifestyles of the Witch and Magus: Colleen Kelly A Smattering of Sabbat Lore Pagan Sun Day School by GiGi Hopkins Imminently Quotable: Samhain,Yule, Imbolc, Spring Equinox



53-56 62-67 69-77



Editor’s Spark
Oh, sometimes even a great project that nurtures our spirits will demand of us that we set it aside for a moment and TAKE A BREAK. So it has been with THE BALEFIRE. We came out strong with our inaugural issue at Beltane 2009, but without a solid base of contributors to keep the magazine going in the next publishing rounds, we needed to change our strategies and recruit some help. The recruitment has begun! We are very proud to welcome Gwenhwyvar Victoria “Caput Draconis” photo by Laurelei Black Michels to the editorial staff. Furthermore, Tim “KC” Wilkerson (“Alchemy Astrology”) and Paula Dorsen (“The Magic of Herbs”) have confirmed their columns with THE BALEFIRE, insuring that we will be able to bring you high-quality astrological and herbal lore with each issue. We still have room for you at the fireside. Our regular sections are designed to focus on the accomplishments of individuals, the work of groups, the offerings of merchants here in the Midwest; but we need you to nominate (or volunteer) for coverage. Have an area of expertise? A fantastic ritual? A poem or picture? Please share your magic! THE BALEFIRE is a special magazine, reaching a targeted audience. Who else focuses their material on the magical folk of our region? We KNOW you. We WANT to know you. You can keep up with us on Facebook now at

In Love, Laughter, & Illumination ~ Laurelei Black Managing Editor

m. you'll find an unrivaled selection that is geared to meet the needs of practitioners from all paths. ritual supplies and handcrafted oils and soaps that you won't find anywhere else.)  Pen-Pal for Soldiers (year long)  Gaia’s Pantry (year long)        Time Ideas Services Skills Money Goods Or places to hold events Jan Deferbrache (Director) Phone: 317-357-8801 www. Indianapolis. Mon. candles. The Magick Candle 203 S. to 7 p. Whether you're looking for eclectic clothing or items that are key for your magickal workings. IN. jewelry. 4 .m. We offer a unique array of gifts. 46219 Phone: 317-357-8801 Hours: 10 a. IN. Audubon St. .  Valentines for Vets (February)  Indianapolis Masquerade Ball (March)  Stars & Stripes for Vets (July)  Gaia Works Birthday Bash (July)  Thanksgiving for Vets (Nov)  Gaia's Closet (year long)  Kyle Oak Cleanup  Holidays for the Homeless (Dec.gaiaworksinc.Gaia Works Inc. incense. an historic district east of downtown Indianapolis. books both used and We're a unique store nestled in the heart of Irvington. herbal items.Sat. This region includes Illinois. Ohio Valley Regional Coordinator: Jill Medicine Heart ohiovalleyrc@yahoo. Press Release — to educate and inform neighbors and communities Upper Midwest Regional Coordinator: Gregory Michael Brewer Website: http://www. Pagans celebrate the autumn’s harvest. LordShiningStarr1@yahoo. index. Kentucky. in each area where a Pagan Pride Day event occurs. and Wisconsin.html Sponsored by: Pagans In Touch Bloomington Event Benefits: MidWest Food Bank Chicago Sept. pagansatthegate@yahoo. network. South Dakota. Ohio. and educate 2. Normal IL Event Organizer: Illinois Bloomington October Debbie Spensley.) Event Organizers: Gregory Michael This region includes Indiana.Festival Forum: Pagan Pride 2011 All over the world. windchild26@gmail. At the very minimum. 2011. auttumnleaves@yahoo. debbiesp@gmail. Public Ritual — to celebrate. Louis New Event coming in 2012 Event Organizer: Julia Maupin thesacredkitchen@gmail. Food Drive — to gather donations for those in need at harvest time 3. 11:00-6:00 PM. 17th 2011. Iowa. Circle of the Spirit Tree Website: http://chicagopaganpride. and declare their pride in Pagan Pride Twila York twilayork86@gmail. Pleasant Home (217 Home Ave. Anderson Leathra. North Sponsored by: Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride. these three things will happen: 1. Oak Park. and Tennessee. revel together with their local communities. Michigan. Lord 5 . Noon to dusk.

org. Bottom right: Zahara and Mayan Ruins entertain audience (Used with permission of CPPD) 6 . 11 am to dark. oyapal@yahoo. Iowa Des Moines Event Organizer: Website: Des Moines PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Iowa Pagan Alliance Kentucky Covington August 28.webs. Nightwind. lunarprayers@yahoo. Broadripple Park Event Organizer: Tom Jones. 2011. 2011. Bonnie Campaniello.indypaganpride. DD. Goebel Park. Indy PPD Facebook Page Sponsored by: Indianapolis Pagan Pride. Website: Jeanette Stingley. rhccbonnie@yahoo.Opposite: Morgan Tom Jones with Indy PPD’s food donations. (Used with permission of Indy PPD) Indiana Indianapolis September 24. Covington Event Organizer: Rev. 10 to Covington PPD Facebook page Covington PPD MySpace page Sponsored by: Robin's Hood Community Center Event Benefits: Welcome House of Covington Kentucky Covington PPD — Bottom left: Vendor’s Website: http://covingtonppd. dad@nonmainstream. Top right: Witchy hats for sale. jstingley@fuse.

Lexington September 17. 2011. 10 to 6. Green Spiral. The Lion's Club Lansing September 24. Detroit PPD Facebook page Grand Rapids September 17. Cedarsong Grove ADF Event Benefits: Capital Area Humane Website: Sponsored by: Cindy B. Pleasant Event Organizer: Website: http://www. silver_gr@comcast. Valhalla Park Event Organizer: Carrie Zay. Louisville PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Kentuckiana Pagan Community Fellowship Event Benefits: Dare To Care Food Bank Michigan Detroit Event Organizer: Susan Morgan.mpppd. Website: http://www. carrie.grandrapidspaganpride. Grand Rapids PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Sanctuary of the Winds Kalamazoo September 3. mavery@iglou. Humane Society Animal Rescue League. & PFFM 7 . Sponsored by: Mid-Michigan Pagan Website: http://lexpaganpride. UU Church of Lexington Event Organizer: Coragus. Waterfront Park. Website: http://paganpridedetroit. Richmond Hills Park Event Organizer: Shell 10 to 6 Event Organizer: Anna Pecora. 11 to 7. coragus@hotmail.bravehost. 2011. grppd_michigan@yahoo. cerridwyn@rocketmail. MidMichigan Food Bank Website: http:// www. 2011. mza- Sponsored by: LexCUUPS. kalamazoopaganpride Sponsored by: Michigan Pagans Event Benefits: Loaves & Fishes. Brown-Forman Amphitheater Event Organizer: Mike Avery. Degarrin Event Benefits: Catholic Action Center Louisville October Website: www. PaganPrideDetroit@live. 2011.zay@gmail. 10 to 6. 11 to 6.lansingppd.

2011. the children’s altar (left). Minnehaha Park Event Organizer: Wendy Seidl. and a fae altar (right).org Sponsored by: Twin Cities Pagan Pride The Twin Cities’ PPD featured a labyrinth with many altars built throughout. Joy Zeidan photographer) 8 . (Photos used with permission of TC Website: http://www.Minnesota Twin Cities Metro September 10. Shown above are photos depicting the entrance to the labyrinth (top). 10 to 6.tcpaganpride. TCPaganPride@PlanetSeidl.

VisionWeavers Coven Cleveland PPD — (above) Kenny Klein and friends were among an extraordinary entertainment line-up in Cleveland. 2011 Noon to 6 pm. 1789 Lancaster 43068 Event Organizer: Cynthia Hartline. Aradia's Garden and Labyrinth of Light Coven. Cleveland PPD Facebook Page Sponsored by: Kindred Spirit Sponsored by: Event Benefits: Mid-Ohio Food Bank Dayton September 10. UU Spirit Apothecary.Ohio Cleveland August 27. sheila. Eastwood Metropark Event Organizer: Sheila Blancard. 2011. NE OH Witches Network. 2011. (All photos used with permission of Cleveland PPD) Columbus November 12. Website: Donna Seemuth. fitness and personal expression. Sponsored by: Dayton Area Pagan Network (DAPN) Event Benefits: The Food Bank 9 . 12pm .org http://groups. Matthew Stewart. (below left) Grecian ritual featured the power of the serpent. Website: http:// Website: http:// www. Bedford Square Event Organizer: Melissa Stewart. 11am . (below right) Hooping for fun.10pm.

10 to Website: Event Benefits: Saving Paws No Kill Shelter Madison October 1. Lakeview Park. jannzei3@yahoo. sscmaus@gmail.Serpent Mound (Peebles area) October 16.U. Serpent Mound PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Circle of Mother Earth North Dakota Fargo August 7. Mimosa. Westside 10 Sponsored by: Northern Lakes Temple. Tennessee Knoxville/East Tennessee September Nashville PPD Facebook page Wisconsin North East Wisconsin (Appleton/Oshkosh) July 23. Angel's Wish Fargo PPD — Main ritual (Photo used with permission of Fargo PPD) South Dakota No events at this Website: Facebook fargopaganpride Event Benefits: YWCA Cass County and Dorothy Day House of Hospitality kaetppd/. Middleton WI Event Organizer: Jessica Rev. Website: http:// www. beckiekuipers@gmail. 2011. Circle Sanctuary. thorne_crossroads@yahoo. Memphis PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Memphis Pagan Pride Association Event Benefits: Friends For Life Nashville Event Organizer: Nightwind. Menasha Event Organizer: Sharon Website: http:// Beckie. Lindenwood Park Main Shelter Event Organizer: AzureStar. cerea_@hotmail. Heather Garrett rubyrosewater@yahoo. Serpent Mound Park Event Organizer: Tom "Singingcrow" Website: http://mappd.meetup. Knoxville PPD Facebook page Sponsored by: Event Benefits: Second Harvest Memphis September 3. Jefferson Park. Levitt Shell. Michael Sims (Beorn). Overton Park Event Organizer: Cerea.webs. Noon to Midnight. Website: Website: http://www. 4 to 9. 2:30 to 5:30. Church Event Organizer: Thorne Crossroads. sharondawn@live. Sweetwood Temenos Event Benefits: Second Harvest Food Bank.memphispaganpride. ancientpaths. 2011. Jeff. 2011.. 10 a.nashvillepaganpride.

There will be a potluck feast following the ritual. and Pagan alliances will be hosting events both small and large to commemorate this ancient festival of light. spiritual sanctuaries. 17th. etc.wildoniongrove. need for directions. 18th.shtml ) directly on the website! Yule Goat Decoration (photo by Ludmila Pilecka) Illinois FriendGathering Celebrates Winter When: Dec. Directions: Friend Gathering is a semi-private group. 2011 Where: Chicago. and the Spring and Fall Equinox. At THE BALEFIRE. so feel free to bring a contribution (no glass containers. please) . Please contact us ( Yule/Winter Solstice in Honor of Odin When: Dec. now you can RSVP (http:// www. Also. we will also be gathering food donations for the Chicago Food Repository. As contact. make merry and hold vigil as we wait for — and welcome back — the sun. we hope that you find cheer and comfort in the long. celebrate. Illinois Location: 3148 N Lincoln Ave in Chicago TIME : 2-7pm Details: Please join us as we celebrate Yule/Winter Solstice. We meet the Saturday before the actual holiday. 2011 Where: Chicago-Land. The group is open to men and women. but that won’t stop the nation’s hardiest Pagans from coming together to camp. The Deity of the occasion will be Odin.Festival Forum: Yuletide and longest night The weather will most certainly be frightful in the Midwest on the year’s longest night. Illinois Location: PineManor in Chicago-Land TIME: 4pm . 11 .shtml ) with any questions. CUUPS groups. dark night as you pass the hours with friends both old and new. open circles. NW Sub.10:30pm Details: Friend Gathering is a group of friends who gather together to explore and celebrate the four main solar holidays of the year. Phone: (773) 307-2128 Website: http://FriendGathering. Throughout the region. We welcome people interested in joining us to make application to participate and receive a password to access our site as a guest. adults and youth and range all spiritual paths. We meet to nourish our souls and bodies and create a deeper relationship with the coming season while we enjoy an increased sense of community. The Summer and Winter Solstice. magical

Many American families drink a mulled.wildoniongrove. French Lick. Indiana Website: http://www.firstulou. 2011 Where: Lothlorien. If you are new to earth-based spirituality or a solitary needing to meet in group celebration with others of like mind. please join us. Dress for wet.ourhaven. Bring food and drink to share for the potluck in the pole UUI's 8th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration Iowa No events found/submitted Indiana Longest Night When: December 16-18. Needmore. Kentucky Location: 809 S Fourth Street in Louisville TIME Details: Doors open at 5:30 PM Circle Celebration at 6:00PM Event Details: Please join the Covenant of UU Pagans of First Unitarian Church as we celebrate YULE on December 18th 2011. Website: http://www. pbhinkle@gmail. citrusy cider known as “wassail” and even sing the carol “Here We Come A-Wassailing” without understanding its Pagan ) Website: http://www. Wassailing is an old winter custom of driving the evil spirits away from the apple trees and blessing the orchard with health and abundance for the coming growing season.21st.Directions: Life Force Arts Center (http:// Lothlorien’s Yule When: December 20th . Website: http://www. Indiana Details: Join members of Fire Tribe and the Our Haven family on the main field as we keep vigil together by a blazing bonfire through the darkest night (s) of the year. We will begin promptly. We are a free and open community of people who practice earth-based spirituality. cuups. 2011 Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis. Park on the south side of the church and use the alley entrance. Circle celebration will begin the evening at 6:00PM followed by a Potluck Dinner. December 17. 615 West 43rd St Time:6:00pm-9:00pm EST Details: UUI's 8th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration is an all-ages event full of story and song.html “The Wassail” by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.lifeforcearts. Directions: First Unitarian Church is located directly across York Street from the Louisville Main Library between 3rd and 4th street. Bring a dish to share for the feast that follows! More information: Pam Blevins Hinkle. Please feel free to bring a dish to share or just bring yourself and join us. 12 . Doors open at 5:30PM.elvinhome. cold weather as this is an outdoor event. 2011 Where: Kentucky CUUPS Yule Circle Celebration When: Dec. 2011 Where: Our Haven Nature Sanctuary.

9:00 PM Event Details: After ritual fellowship and dinner.circlesanctuary.9 PM Details: * Yuletide Music & Storytelling * Musical Performances * Costumed Characters conveying Winter Solstice customs & lore across time. wintersolstice “Yule Goat” by Tony Nordin Michigan Minnesota North Dakota Ohio South Dakota Tennessee No events found/submitted for these areas. 2011 Where: Madison.shtml Phone: (608) 924-2216 Website: http://www. nationalities * Interfaith World Peace Candlelight Meditation by Selena Fox * And much more! Suggested donations: $10/adult. Kentucky Event Location: 3046 Bardstown Rd.Mystic Life Sanctuary Yule/New Moon Celebration When: transport. Louisville. 2011 Where: Louisville. Bring Yuletide cheer to share! Open to all ages. if you have Directions: For Directions to the Site & Parking: http://www. with the support of others. 13 .Small Monetary Donations welcomed to defray yearly rental expense. canned goods for charity food drive. 21st. Bring a bell to Wisconsin Circle Sanctuary Winter Solstice Pageant When: Dec. affiliated with the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin: http:// www. 16th. KY 40205 Phone: (502) 648-1239 Website: http://www.secondharvestmadison. * Financial proceeds support Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve: http://www. Directions: : Rainbow Blossom Highlands Market 3046 Bardstown Rd. Food & Drink donation to share after Ritual. Food & drink donations are encouraged to share. $5/youth. Phone: Mystic Life Sanctuary (502) -648-1239 Cost: FREE land/ * Food donations will go to the Barneveld Food Pantry at Barneveld Lutheran Church to feed migrant farm workers & others in rural Dane & Iowa counties. in Louisville Event TIME Details: 6:00 PM . This 33nd annual celebration is produced by Circle Sanctuary.circlesanctuary. Wisconsin Location: 900 University Bay Drive in Madison TIME : 7 .mysticlifesanctuary.

Send Word files and . Even unto thee who art Ra in thy strength. This is a festival of inner renewal.) Hail unto thee who art Ra in thy rising. Yule Goat Toy by Wolfgang Sauber Liber Resh vel Helios (A sun salutation adapted from Egyptian sources by Aleister Crowley. occurs in mid December. Phone: (608) 924-2216 Website: http://www. Registration opening in November 2011. Deadline: March 15. 2012 14 . Christmas.circlesanctuary.Circle Sanctuary Yule Festival When: Dec. This portion is recited at sunrise while facing East. It celebrates the birth of the new Solar year and the beginning of Winter. Who travellest across the heavens in thy bark At the uprising hour of the sun! Tahuti standeth in his splendor at the prow And Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. The Goddess manifests as the Great Mother and the God as the Sun Child. and White. Colors are Red. and Saturnalia. photos to balefire@asteriabooks. Hail unto thee from the abodes of night! FESTIVAL FORUM BELTANE 2012 We’ll bring back our festival planning guide at Beltane so you can make those all-important choices for the summer. The God also appears as Santa Claus and Old Man Winter. 2011 Where: Barneveld. Wisconsin Location: 30 miles west of Madison in Barneveld Details: Winter Solstice also known as Yule.

Library and Epitome. In nearly every religion the world over. the giving (either freely or forced) of a life was not something that was generally hidden or greatly feared. incidentally. Modern religions practice a great deal of sacrifice in order for their celebrants to reach a closer attunement to their ideals and Gods. 2nd century CE Rome 15 . Modern religions that practice animal or human sacrifice tend to keep that secret closely guarded. Pre-Columbian. their control. at the Perseus Encyclopedia (an online repository of source documents compiled by Tufts University) there are no less than 90 categories by which a researcher can look up examples of sacrifice in ancient Greece. the ancients had more. their pleasure. In fact. the faithful give of their money. their goods. Just two men.Sacrifice in ancient religion By Laura Britton Offering and sacrifice have been intimately linked with the practice of religion as far back as the human mind can conceive. Indeed. In fact. However. Hermes leads goat to sacrifice. If we have numerous ways today that we consider appropriate sacrifices according to the edicts of our various religions. due to obvious modern ethical constructs that pervade our society. most contemporary sacrifices no longer include the loss of either animal or human life. as requested or ordained by their clergy. one easily finds references to sacrifice in Classical Greek and Roman as well as Celtic. these sacrifices were typically honored and celebrated by the community on whose behalf the sacrifice was given. recorded all of these – Pausanias in his Description of Greece and Apollodorius in his work. In researching various aspects of sacrifice in the ancient religions. African and Middle Eastern cultures. in this day and time. in nearly all of the ancient religions. their Deities or the voice within. Chinese. etc. 3rd century CE Preparation of a sacrifice.

and still untamed and frisky. bale- The procession is headed by the priests of the gods and by all those who hold the annual magistracies. and the sac- 16 . ritual. Afterwards the doors are opened. and many reasons associated with deeper mystery. animal or object. Pausanias describes a very interesting ritual in Corinth involving the sacrifice of four cows in honor of a goddess named Chthonia (2. In my initial research. and the impersonality of the Chinese practices (who generally killed prisoners that were not even part of the community or culture to benefit from the giving of their lives). perhaps a little specificity is needed. who tended to give of themselves. and a third after that. For a great many The reasons have been as varied as the Deities to whom the animals were offered: divination. it even has inscribed upon it the same letters of mourning.The essay at hand is only a cursory look at sacrifice in ancient religion. He describes it in the following way: ARTISTS The Balefire is calling for submissions of art and photography for upcoming issues. simple offering. and wear wreaths upon their heads. for instance. you retain all rights to your own work. who hitherto have been holding the doors open.5-7). blessing of the herd.35. Those who form the procession are followed by men leading from the herd a full-grown cow. and. Cattle Globally. health. Having driven the cow to the temple. ancestral and Otherworld ties. close the doors. occult. therefore. magical. cattle have been a very real and tangible identification of prosperity. I have far greater respect for the Celts. It is narrow in its scope. the scope and brutality of the Mayan and Aztec sacrificial rites. Finally. Their wreaths are woven of the flower called by the natives cosmosandalon. However. are they who dispatch the cow. most of the types of sacrifice and offering I found of particular interest were a part of either the Celtic or the Greek practices. I narrowed my focus mainly Celtic and Greek examples due to their unique influence over the form of religion that I currently practice. We just want to showcase your talent! Send JPGs to fire@asteriabooks. and yet a fourth. These are dressed in white. Four old women. All are dispatched in the same way by the old women. left behind inside. admittedly. As with all work in The Balefire. If you have artwork or photography with a Pagan. the sacrifice of cattle has been a common practice. or spiritual theme. Whichever gets the chance cuts the throat of the cow with a sickle. others. as a scholar could spend years studying this topic alone. It is now a custom that some who are still children should honor the goddess in the procession. these are followed by both men and women. truly felt some part of loss at the sacrifice of person. seems to me to be an iris. are simply a little beyond my personal ability to understand. when they see the cow within the temple. please consider sending them for possible inclusion in the magazine. fastened with ropes. Furthermore. some loose her from the ropes that she may rush into the sanctuary. which. from its size and color. I am sure this is because my own study of religion has been focused on these two distinct areas of the world. and those who are appointed drive up a second cow.

puppies. Both the release and the restraint of sexual energy can be used as a sacrifice. horses. Burnt Animal Offerings Plenty of other animals are offered in sacrifice to the many Deities known to the various religions of the ancient world. the animals are burned only in the cooking process and then used in a feast in which the celebrants then consume the flesh of their sacrifices. Pausanias and Apollodorius make reference to the sacrifice of bears. Of course. goats. is dictated by the customs of the place in regards to the particular wishes of the Deity involved. bulls.rifice has yet another strange feature. Some rituals require burning with a certain type of wood or incense. thus. sheep and wolf-cubs – to name a few. In many of Her temples. lambs. mares. depending on the beliefs and practices of the religion. all the others must fall on the same. the Priestesses are honoring Aphrodite by giving freely of their bodies and their talents. depending on the means of the people present. deer. oxen. One is the act of raising sexual energy through a sex act (or through concentration) and releasing it to the Deity being honored. He also informs us that this ritual is held annually during the summer. among the many ways of honoring Aphrodite is by engaging in sexual intercourse with one of Her Priestesses. In fact. Pausanias doesn’t tell us why the sacrifice is performed except that it is in honor of this goddess (who is in some way related to Demeter. naturally. as both ancient and modern worshippers in nearly every religion are aware. though that connection is not made clear by his writing). the Priestesses had private rooms in which they could receive the devotion of Her worshippers. the use of sexual energy as a sacrifice can vary to great extent. Of course they also refer to sacrificial rites where nearly any animal can be sacrificed. For example. boars. cows. there are at least two general forms of practice that are quite ancient. are given directly into the world of spirit. usually by proxy. rams. The other is a more direct worship of the Deity by participating in a sex act with that Deity. geese. In regards to the giving of unleashed sexual energy. pigs. In other cases they are burnt beyond being edible. and the celebrants are able to come as close as possible to the Golden Lady that they so adore. Of course. On whichever of her sides the first cow falls. In some cases. Most of these animal sacrifices are mentioned in conjunction with an act of burning. and. All of this. birds. 17 . In this way. Chastity /Sex Sex can be a very powerful tool for sacrifice. guinea-fowl.

Chastity has been practiced in honor of several Deities over the centuries. However. Year King Celtic Pagans are familiar with the idea of the Year King or the Sacral King. and I have read several examples of Greek sacrifices of grain in both water and fire. some were given as food gifts (frequently in the form of cakes of the particular grain) to a particular Deity or hero who is a guardian or protector of a given place or whose beneficence brought about a particular bounty. It seems that many of the Greek sacrifices of grain were also given in order to receive oracle or vision from a particular Deity. but they are also a bit different. The Oak and Holly King battles at Summer and Winter Solstice are a variation on the Year King concept. following the same pattern as the Goddess whom they serve. any giving up of the life force of the person (through blood. These two kingships are similar in several ways. at its most basic level. However. at first glance. Grain Grains of all varieties have been given as sacrifice all over the world. the expectation that individuals in the service of certain Deities would refrain from sexual activities certainly predates the Christian constructs of morality.) 18 . flesh. The most common example of this practice in modern times is the expected chastity of various groups of Christian priests and nuns. there is another way to sacrifice one’s sexual energy to Deity. I have heard references to a Celtic practice of burning grain. the same act with a priestess of Hestia (the Roman Vesta) was punishable by a very painful death. However. one may not consider such a pleasurable experience to be a sacrifice. The king must thrive (or be slaughtered) for the benefit of the land. The “Vestal Virgins” chose a life of chastity. If having sex with a priestess of Aphrodite was considered appropriate and respectable. or fluids) is sacrifice.Of course. However. (Picture by Natalie Black.

consuming whatever was inside the wicker cage. though perhaps a villager or priest from a certain region. Either way. not so deeply as to kill him immediately. at any time. was strangled. However. in which every type of sacrifice was burned. this seems to have happened at regular intervals. modern popular Pagan culture holds that a king is chosen every year to bear the burdens of the people. It may also have been used as a punishment for severe offenses. her blood shed upon the ground to bring fertility and prosperity to the land and its people. his blood would then be shed upon the land and a new king would be chosen. sometimes in the shape of a man and sometimes just as a basket. A few examples of this device have been unearthed in anthropological studies in the Celtic isles and in mainland Celtic areas. The Lindow Man. At any rate. The Wickerman was a large wicker frame. perhaps conquered people from a recent war. and then thrown into the bog to drown. significant information exists regarding the Sacral Kingship. the whole device was set on fire. In regards to the Year King. so I will start there. Sometimes the Wickerman would be filled with people. Lindow Man by Gourami Watcher “Stone of Destiny” at Tara in Ireland is said to roar when touched by the rightful king. If aught goes ill. If all is well. few ancient texts are available that deal with this reign and sacrifice. for example. or in certain parts of the Celtic world. animals and grain. though this was likely to be viewed as a sacrifice to the Deity that would have been offended by the crime and criminal. The horse would then be sacrificed. Essentially. a representation of the land and sovereignty. 19 . In Topographia Hibernica. so he died from three causes simultaneously. If the king failed. again. the king-to-be would literally mate with a white mare. Wickerman The Wickerman was definitely used as a tool for sacrifice by the ancient Celtic peoples. It was no one injury that killed him. and I think the most interesting. to impregnate the land and bring this fertility.Specifically. form of sacrifice discussed here is called the “Three-fold Death. he lives and a new king is chosen at the end of the year-cycle. Giraldu Cambrensis related the king-making rituals of old. is treated as royalty and given all honor and respect during his reign. whether the land was flourishing or not. Three-fold Death The final. the Year King. and sometimes it would contain a combination of people. At certain times in history. Photo by Sarah Gallagher. the Year King is sacrificed and then replaced.” There are several “bog bodies” that seem to be examples of this sacrifice. but not to the point of death. Then he was hit on the head with an axe.

It seems that he was pushed from a cliff so that he would fall onto a spike in the river below. the impalement and from drowning (as his head was under the water at impact). The strangulation and falling through the air are First Realm (Upper World) deaths. Sappho of Mytiline is the earliest female poet from the Classical world whose writings. Laura Britton. So these men were not just killed in the here and now. these forms of sacrifice are only a small sampling of the types of rituals that were performed by the ancients. in the bog and in the river. involves a Scottish Druid named Lailoken. except what we can glean from poetry written by and about her. www. Hailed as the Tenth Muse. The reasons and procedures behind each vary from culture to culture and from Deity to Deity. the men experienced death not just in three ways. acts of sacrifice still permeate throughout religions the world over. In both of these cases.” Laura Britton teaches literature and creative writing in the Midwest. offers readers a peek at the life and loves of a priestess of a Aphrodite — a priestess so notable that she is responsible for our modern usage of the word “Lesbian. The drowning of both men. animals. though not of a bog body. are Third Realm (Under World) deaths. plants and individual parts of each have been sacrificed to every Deity ever honored on this planet. In this way. Humans. where she lives with her post-modern family and studies the ancient world.asteriabooks. The axe wound and impalement are Second Realm (Green World) deaths. which is significant in a Celtic cosmology on its 20 . fragmentary as they are in their current condition. Again. her poems of love and longing were directed at the men … and women … whom she loved on her island home of Lesvos. Though human sacrifice is no longer considered acceptable in most modern practices. he died from the fall. This is her first novel. in this debut title. have come down to us. Precious little is known about the historical life of Sappho. they were sacrificed in all Three Realms as desired by the Gods.Another example. but also in the Three Realms.

I want nothing more of that worldThe lessons of the fathers broken and wounded.  A great astrology resource for beginners. We’re escaping on horseback with paint on our faces… I want the smell of the hot forest floorI want the sight of life and death Dancing to the perfect harmonies sung by birth and rung out by rot: “Oh Honey bless my sideways soul! And I’ll bless you Honey! We’ll always walk crooked through the moonlight thickets!” “Narcisse: A Bacchante” by Leon Bakst By Daun Fields By Timothy A. Wilkerson Through the centuries. always stubbornly saying no.  A 'How To' astrology handbook for practical alchemical laboratory work. learn why alchemy astrology is the lost key. alchemists and astrologers have compiled similar observations based on the positioning of the sun. Most importantly.  Includes blank charts and tables.alchemyastrology. Available at: www. Additionally this knowledge can be used to plan any important event. They found that these cosmic clues could be applied to determine the best opportunity to begin work on laboratory experiments and developed systems to calculate these macrocosmic opportunities. moon. and realize how modern scientific discoveries support the theories behind the philosopher's stone. The mothers put down and separated from each other. Mothers mocking love with cold quick embraces. and planets.Poem I want nothing more of that worldThe one that covered my face The one that held me down By one 21 .

will be in the air.Alchemy Astrology: Sidereal Reading for Samhain By Tim “KC” Wilkerson For the evening of October 31st. with an almost naive intensity. The Planets: This will be a passively open and friendly evening. People with unfocused spirits may tend to embrace the transformation of the Phoenix. 2011in the Midwest People with focused spirits will find it uncommonly easy to intellectualize their feelings. A strong attraction to beautiful objects. Impulsive Mars flows and disruptive Saturn finds opportunity with the Galactic Center. compassion. and care should be taken not to worry too much about them. They will burn-off easily and clarity will most likely return in t h e m o r n i n g o r n e a r f u t u r e . It should be very easy to actively represent an alternate life-choice breakthrough regarding any long term struggle. Photo by Stardust 22 . should be done carefully because this evening is susceptible to attracting intense rejection. especially if they are about other people. You may experience a compulsion to over-indulge in memories from the past and feel a strong desire to leap to conclusions about the future. humor. Abundant joy. and empathy are available tools. The Stars: It will be extremely easy to pay attention to your awareness of the unknown. and harmonious relations. You may want to announce and/or commit to finding major resolve for buried internal issues. notably regarding relationships. Impulsive verbal expression could lead to intense disruption. Many truths may come out or be internally realized. Sharing your revelations.

dancers — let’s keep Fire Tribe in the Heartland connected. Letters to the editor/feedback loop keep us on the right track. http://www. Lost Key to the Philosopher's Stone. drummers. Send submissions. 30˚ altitude (0˚ is the horizon. Be a Part of THE BALEFIRE’s Regular Features!          Vendor’s View: We’d love to write a profile of your brick & mortar.alchemyastrology. Teens. or let us know about your upcoming event. Teen Retreat: Teens have an important and often-unheard voice in our community. Riding a Broom in the Bible Belt: We’re fighting the good fight for religious tolerance. here’s a great chance to speak up! Let us know what magical life is like for YOU in the Midwest. Rites of Passage (announcements): Let us share in your liminal moments — the births.M. “Moon and Sun” by Yaroslav B Tim "KC" Wilkerson is the author Alchemy Astrology. Share your story. Fireside Chat: Let us know how we’re doing. and all the important transitions in between. Moon rise will be at 1:18 P. Lifestyles of the Witch and Magus: Know a notable Witch or Magician living in our coverage area? Are you one? Give us a peek into your magical world.. deaths.. Red Straps: Woodbusters. Community Services: Doing good work in your community? Let us give you recognition! Festival Forum: Send us your reviews of recent festivals. waterbearers. The New Moon passes 5 days prior to of the handbook. online or festival-based business. The Moon phase is waxing crescent (getting bigger) at 32% illumination. and Moon set will be at 11:20 23 . 90˚ is straight up). inquiries and proposals to balefire@asteriabooks.The Moon: The changing Moon challenges the Midheaven.M. at its closest position to the Earth since March.

Membership is only $25 annually.ourhaven. Your membership entitles you to come any time you like for only $5 per night. like our world famous Beltane festival. In addition to hosting some of the finest outdoor festivals in the Midwest. or you can barter the camping fee for one hour of work on the land. www. members receive reduced rates to Our Haven sponsored Come make Our Haven YOUR Haven! 24 . Where else can you find a camping deal like that? In addition. Our Haven has ample space and very reasonable rates for holding your own events.

I was taught intolerance for any other religion or church from birth. We see it again and again and again throughout history. without blemish? That we should treat others as we wish to be treated? That last precept is. the easiest and most difficult rule for all of humanity. I could never quite conform to that idea. This view of some Pagans by Pagans. why shouldn’t they be happy in their ignorance? I looked at the kids I went to school with and just couldn’t refuse to be friends with them. The oppressed become the oppressors. aren’t true believers. even though they were wrong. Recently. In theory.. many of us are actually “Christians” by this definition. When I was around 13 years old. A Christian is one who walks in the footsteps of Christ. And.. hoping for snow so that the “poor false Christians” could enjoy their “false little holiday” because. Do we not preach love and acceptance for all? That none of us are perfect. my prior understanding was all over turned and other Christians could be seen as Christians. I’m still in meditations and a path of discovery as to exactly how I define my faith and how I wish to incorporate it into my daily life. therefore. as did many of you. it was about how one lived one’s life. I grew up in a Christian church. I knew that it wasn’t about one’s label. And for better or worse. I’ve decided to share my thoughts. however. I believe. And. fascinates me. too. 25 .Moral Musings: the Golden rule By Gwenhwyvar Victoria Michels I love my faith. For some this means I’m no better than the Easter-Christmas Christians. yet . yet. It has always bothered me a little in the back of my mind. It’s so simple and so obvious. I’ve begun to really think about it. I couldn’t see a fundamental difference between them and me to justify shunning them and also isolating myself. Our flavor of Christianity was one of those that believed our version was the only version. let alone this view of Christians by other Christians and Pagans. and that the Catholics and all the rest were just as bad as non-Christians because they were tainted by Pagan influences and observances of non-Biblical holy days. those who only attend church for one or two holy days and. I can remember being a preschooler.

but for some reason. and all the usual epithets we give to those spouting the Fundamentalist rhetoric." This seems to be one of the statements that incurred the most excitement.” being one of them. the woman’s blog in a nutshell was about how from her Christian viewpoint. And I have hope … and fear. What constitutes a faithbased blog? More to the point. just plain wrong. and dismissal of her views as indeed closed-minded. In May 2011. derision. which has been deleted and is no longer accessible at this time. You have a right to believe it. but believing it doesn't make it ‘right. As her blog 26 . Everyone reads the first part. the Christians were persecuted by the Romans (Pagans). Today? Non-Christian faiths are on the rise. and jumps on the last part. Then. the Christians grew and multiplied and suppressed and persecuted any and all other religions. on a second. the instinct is horror. and at first glance. which religions and faiths could participate? It should come as no surprise that the answer depends on the faith of the person answering. skips over the middle part. that they decided to run the contest anyway. "Different faith is wrong faith. Circle of Moms (an online community) had a voting contest for the top 25 faith-based mom blogs. narrow. Perhaps surprisingly. It is my hope that someone involved in the running of this site knew that this would be a touchy subject.” I read the blog in question. more open-minded perusal. the biggest uproar was over one particular Christian woman’s blog response decrying the allowance of non-Christian entries. and weren’t surprised by the uproar that ensued. Yes. I can’t imagine that she was the only one.’ It makes you lost and without salvation.Once. one sees certain other statements jump out: “You have a right to believe it. Even many Christians were upset by her views. Pagans and Christians attacked this woman for being “closed-minded. non-Christians have invalid beliefs. However.

I hope that I live to see this day. Putting down their beliefs doesn’t make us better than them. why would it be ok to send her hate letters? As distasteful as I found her beliefs to be. folks. I don’t agree with her views in the least bit. I fear that those of Christian faith will become the ones persecuted. there were 11 Pagan blogs that made it into the top 25. if not worse. I became confused. too. There’s something in human nature that seems to want to hurt our attackers as badly as we were hurt. as well. Is that how you want them to speak of your beliefs? And what does it say about your own beliefs? Gwenhwyvar Victoria Michels lives in Indiana with her family. when and as it happens. we can learn from this experience. Treat others as we wish to be treated. why should she not be able to have her say? If it’s not okay to threaten a Pagan blogger. As I saw more and more people putting down this woman. While there are many areas of the country and our government where Christianity still has a hold. we are on the rise and the fundamentalist Christians are on the decline. I believe we should be gracious in our is no longer accessible. but her posting was not about taking away our rights and not about actively persecuting us. It is my hope. I hope for this. one day soon. The results of the faith-based blog contest? The most -voted blog was a Pagan woman’s blog: Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. I have found many Pagan bloggers who felt this way. But seeing as how her views don’t mean Pagan blogs have to be deleted. intolerance as her. that as a community. if not more. I believe that if we want to be able to have our beliefs tolerated. I believe. 27 . Altogether. Meditate and muse on what you think and say about a Christian’s beliefs or even another Pagan’s. but the majority of the people of any faith who disagreed with this woman were spouting just as much. this country will finally reach the “tolerance and rights for all” concepts upon which it was founded. it makes us worse for not being better. Not so easy when there’s a conflict of our religious beliefs. Easy when we’re telling our kids not to hit each other or call each other names. I cannot accurately quote more. we have to tolerate hers.

the devotional chapbook compiled by Temple of Aphrodite Asteria.Crown of Violets. you can order your own hard copy of this collection of poetry. images and the like readily on hand. photography and art. For millennia. hymns. is now available for purchase. Available from Asteria Books Www. Not a bad deal to have so many poems. For just $7. prose and sculpture. the Goddess of Love has been the subject of poetry. painting. This devotional chapbook is a vault of offerings for 28 .

As I tried to think of a place to situate these pains I was holding on to. a big chubby shining goldfish the size of my arm jumped out of the water! “Throw something else. I saw it arch up against the sky. “Where are these going? I’m putting unwanted energies into the water and the earth. I threw more and more trash. “Throw something out. Let go of your fears and your worries. Where does this go? How could I release all this negative energy and just let it float around? I should hold on to it so that it doesn’t affect anyone else. Don’t you want to throw it out?” I did want to.” 29 . I want to keep my worries and my little pockets of anger and hold on to them so they won’t hurt anyone else. Plastic water bottles. I unloaded everything until I was alone in my boat with my legs stretched out. the golden sun on my face. It fell straight down into the waves and to my amazement. I should keep this. I’ll keep my secrets and fears here within me.” I lay under the hot lavender scented water for a long time. tissues. My aim was to let go of negativities of the day. Then it came again. So I picked up a plastic bottle and threw it overboard. the importance of a hot bath by Daun Fields Winter Solstice is a long. Each time the boat rocked with a wave I held tight to the garbage.” I didn’t want to. milk jugs. My boat was the vessel for my consciousness…my spirit.” The waves rocked my boat. to let them wash down the drain. I wanted to stretch out in my clean boat and to not worry about things falling out. As I tried to relax and let these unwanted energies flow out. I would not ruin it so I chose to forever float in my little trash pile. I began floating in a small wooden boat on a vast ocean. I realized the ocean was everything… the collective spirit of everything that ever was or will be. old chip bags. I put on my trusty Tori Amos album “To Venus and Back” and ran a nice hot purification bath. and they will be transformed.” sounded the voice again. Then a voice came saying.The Golden Yule Or. I started to think and to worry. “Throw something out. It was also filled with trash. I worried that the trash would fall out and litter the beautiful water. A couple of years ago in preparation for a Yule party. magnificent night for introspection. “Get rid of something. and each time the pieces turned into big goldfish the color of polished coins. “Let go of your anger.

Here.The Continuing Adventures of DRAGON and BUNNY Laurelei and Natalie Long The Dragoness is fiercely protective and delightfully playful. 30 . as one is often the familiar spirit of the other. especially where her Bunny companion is concerned. the two can be seen in a magic circle dance.

The courtesans were educated in politics. We hold our symposium on or at the full moon in November. They were also trained as musicians and dancers and provided these entertainments to their hosts.” The symposia were drinking parties which were attended by men and a mixture of Aphrodite’s women that included both costly courtesans (hetaerae) and common prostitutes (pornai). all of which involved pleasure of some sort. art. The women were hired for a variety of skills. at which time it serves as a release from the mourning experienced at the last two rites. An entire category of Greek vase painting depicted scenes from these drinking parties and are among the earliest known pornography. and science and could hold conversations with the men in a way that wellborn ladies destined for marriage were not usually permitted. philosophy.Sacred Sexuality: Symposium of the hetaerae Laurelei Black Excerpted from Cult of Aphrodite: Rites for the Golden One Asteria Books Background The Symposium of the Hetaerae is based on a reference to an Athenian celebration involving Aphrodite in which “women revel with men. 31 .

Materials Khernips (pure water) Wine. before we begin. All who stay are expected not to talk about what happens at the symposium with anyone who isn’t in attendance. The gentlemen of the house welcome the courtesans. one member of the company should conduct the cleansing by sprinkling the khernips throughout the space. Pass the water so that each person can wash his face. and as an act of respect. all who are assembled here must vow not to break the silence of the rite with any who are not among us. 32 . glasses Honey Libation bowl Food to share Gifts for the courtesans Condoms (just in case) Preparation Since this is a group rite in which participants may express intimacy – sexual or otherwise – begin the group’s preparations by administering a vow of silence once everyone is assembled. if you like. Use a favorite piece by Sappho or Homer. The Rite The chief courtesan reads a poem in honor of Aphrodite. The man whose home is being used for the symposium would administer this vow as follows: “We have come. Following the vow. Light the candles and incense as everyone centers themselves and focuses their energy. When I take you into my sacred bedchamber you will know that I am Aphrodite’s daughter. in this home blessed by the Kyprian. titled “Scarlet Woman” from Crown of Violets: Words and Images Inspired by Aphrodite: “Scarlet Woman” by Laurelei Black I wear the red with pride for I am no plain matron. I ask you now. You may also use the following piece. to partake of an ancient custom – the drinking party. Ishtar’s pupil. will you keep this oath?” Those who are uncomfortable or unwilling are allowed to leave without judgment or anger.

your Helen. “Welcome. “Sponde!” The Chief Hetaera makes a libation of honey into the libation bowl. and I will visit your dreams. “Sponde!” The Host addresses the assembled group. Eat and drink. Let me lay you down among the crimson and golden cushions below the grape-colored canopy of my bower. You will never leave me. a dance. to the symposium. You may bargain for a kiss. Talk of art.a woman of the light. a shoulder rub. The group says. your Sappho. Dance and revel. Lie among the rose petals as I enter your heart and hold you in the eternal embrace of the beloved. my friends. Our services are available to you.” 33 . politics. for this is our purpose tonight. a walk under the stars or a few minutes of focused conversation. for a small price. philosophy and theatre. “We courtesans are here to enjoy your company and divert your attention from the rigors of daily life. your Elissa. a token of your affection.” The Chief Hetaera addresses the group. The group says. science. You will share me with your lovers. The Host makes a libation of wine into the libation bowl. Our shared touch will remain on your skin. I am your Muse. Any of this can be yours for the price of a small gift. Love me and find bliss.

celebrants may leave if they are sober or have a designated driver. 34 . and fiction. in addition to offering in-person opportunities for devotees to honor and work with the Goddess of Love and Beauty.Encourage participants to stay for at least one hour of revelry. rituals. and editor of Crown of Violets — all available through Asteria Books. Laurelei Black is a contemporary priestess of Aphrodite. serving the Golden One through essays. poetry. At that time. She is the author of Aphrodite’s Priestess and Cult of Aphrodite.

” the Magic Candle proudly features herbs. books. either. then she moved to Delaware. 35 .Jan DeFerbrache When you enter the Magic Candle in Indianapolis. No longer focusing on “just cards. Jan has been meeting the magical needs of the Indy community for 31 years. a farm just outside of the city. and especially its forward Location . Other classes are offered on an occasional or recurring basis by other members of the Indianapolis community. the Magic Candle. whom Jan welcomes into her teaching space to share knowledge. and esoteric classes in the Indianapolis community long enough to have developed a reputation as a center for Pagan studies in the area. Even the majority of the herbs come from a local source. More than 90% of the goods in the store are produced by local artists. Jan and her students have been teaching magic. candles. sculpture. and eventually across the street from her current spot on Audubon. and so much more. so did the merchandise. handcrafts. As the shop relocated and the time and technology shifted. The shop’s first face was “Just Cards” on Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis.Vendor’s View: The Magic candle Owner . Significantly. ritual garments. body products. Audubon in Indianapolis. Twentyseven artists display their work on consignment in the Magic Candle. artwork. IN -thinking (and socially-conscious) owner. Many classes are offered on a continual basis by Jan and the students she’s trained who’ve shown proficiency and aptitude in specific areas. though her store has grown and transformed significantly in that time. you’ll undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from Jan (the proprietress). Goddess Worship. The store is not merely about product. Indeed.203 S. and Kali and Emma (her two feline shop assistants). jewelry. support the “Buy Local” movement.

The Magic Candle also has a long history of offering musical performances in the shop. Playing to a crowd about 30 in the one of the versatile teaching spaces, performers such as Celia, the Gypsy Nomads and Elexian have delighted magical, music-loving Hoosiers for years. With renovations under way in her new location, Jan is looking forward to offering outdoor performances around a lush garden pond in warm seasons to come.

Ongoing Classes at the Magic Candle:
     

Magick 101 Advanced Magick Goddess Worship Goddess Mystery School Chakra Tarot Teachers of these classes instruct for free. Students are only paying for materials.

Services available at the Magic Candle include:  Tarot Readings  Cranio-Sacral Therapy  Message Therapy  Reiki  Reflexology  Chakra Cleansing  Ear Candling

Finally, Jan and the community surrounding her store maintain an online knowledge repository and a real-world working circle. These two are tied together under the name Blue Moon Circle — group/BlueMoonCircle 317-357-8801 203 S. Audubon Rd Indianapolis, In


This liturgical compilation in honor of Golden Aphrodite begins with foundational lessons in Hellenic Polytheistic ritual practice and the rich lore of Aphrodisian worship before providing useful and beautiful rituals for solitary or group use.

Laurelei Black, herself the Hiereia of the Temple of Aphrodite Asteria, has created a festival schedule to honor the Starry Queen of Heaven and composed easily adaptable rituals that serve as the foundation of this Aphrodisian ritual practice.

Available from

Asteria Books

Community services: Gaia works
Gaia Works, based in Indianapolis, is a faith-based community service organization that strives to promote religious tolerance. While Gaia Works is open to any person regardless of religious affiliation who seeks to promote religious tolerance while performing community service, Gaia Works is notable for its magical and earth-based underpinnings. The founders and current leaders of this extraordinary organization are magical store owners, coven elders, and Pagan rights’ activists throughout the state of Indiana. Proselytization is antithetical to the Gaia Works mission, however. When volunteers help those in need, or work with each other, they hold to the tenant that each person is entitled to their own religious structure. Needy families and veterans looking for friendly correspondence need not worry about a sermon in addition to the support they receive through Gaia Works. Gaia’s Pantry is the food bank associated with the organization. In the week prior this article’s writing, 18 Indianapolis families were served from the larder housed at the Magic Candle, Gaia Work’s primary base of operations. More donations are needed all the time to keep up with the demand.

Above: Gaia Works logo; Below: Old fashioned food panties (both photos are in the public domain)


by the Kyle family that they tore down their home rather than risking the tree’s life. Gaia Works collections donations year-round for Cats Haven, Indianapolis’ oldest no-kill cat shelter, proving that the organization does what it can for the city’s animals, as well. (Donations include wet and dry cat food, alcohol-free baby wipes, trash bags, clay cat litter, cleaning supplies, and more. For a complete list, visit Above: “Venetian Mask” by Mark J Sebastian Below: “Coat” (photo in public domain); “Well Clothed Baby” by Andrew Vargas; “Women in Winter Clothes” (historical photo in public domain) Similarly, Gaia’s Closet accepts year-round donations of clothing items. During the cold winter months, coats, hats, scarves and gloves are especially appreciated. The Indianapolis Masquerade Ball, held annually in March, is one of Gaia Works’ major fundraising events, while the Birthday Bash (held in July) is an annual celebration of the organization’s founding in 2005. As part of the group’s commitment to the environment and city neighborhoods, volunteers participate in the Kyle Oak Clean-Up — caring for one of Indianapolis’s oldest residents, a Bur Oak so beloved Recently, Gaia Works has joined the Komen Race for the Cure. A team walks in the race, of course, and women are additionally encouraged to decorate a bra for a pre-walk fundraising auction. The organization has had a commitment to veterans since its inception, which is evident through programs like Valentine’s for Vets, Stars and Stripes for Vets, Thanksgiving for Vets and PenPals for Soldiers. At the winter holidays, Gaia Works does its best to offer light and warmth of spirit in the darkest days of the year by sponsoring Holidays for the Homeless and stuffing Stockings for Kids (for the children of Coburn Place).


org 40 .gaiaworksinc. the heart of downtown Indianapolis and a lasting tribute to all veterans Below: Little girl hanging her stocking on Christmas Eve (historical photo in public domain) Gaia Works needs your:        Time Ideas Services Skills Money Goods Places to hold events To get involved or make a contribution. Audubon Rd Indianapolis.Above: Order of the Pentacle patch (associated with Circle Sanctuary and Lady Liberty League) — a proud symbol for Pagan service personnel. Right: Soldiers and Sailors Monument. contact Jan DeFerbrache (director): Gaia Works 203 S. IN 317-357-8801 www.

"Ushas (usas) is herself radiantly beautiful and white or golden in color. Her chant is a serene one. Prior to that night. BULL!!!! There's so much more. we realized that we had a helluva lot of firetenders among us -. dancing.the O's we do around the fire and everything from Z to A. Indiana) witnessed the beginning of a new deity within the pantheon of the Cult. But I'm starting to think OZA was already around and we merely recognized her. I've seen Deities created before. water and walking or making paths. Mabel the Parking goddess. but I'll get to her potentially ancient roots in a moment. Liber Resh vel Helios at dawn. red straps. Lobo. tending the fire with the just the women. the same letters and meaning as her male consort (just backwards) -. Some of us a more familiar than others with the history and symbolism of our Discordian fire traditions. O's. backwards). some of us had teased about being "Concubines of the Living Bull" because we lost our men to the fire. Now. treate on the night of OZA’s newest reincarnation. oxen. He is writing about a Vedic Goddess of the Dawn. ruddy or red-tinted and are said to resemble cows.Red Straps: oza’s roots in the vedic dawn goddess By the Vorpal Bunny Members of the Cult of the Living Bull are all familiar with our Bull God AZO. from out of the darkness. There were something like 14 of us. "We are the Sisterhood of the Holy Cow" (later re-spelled Wholly Chao). but we all know some basic concepts: fire. I'm not going into all of it here. drumming. Let me share with you a passage that I found in Paul Friedrich's The Meaning of Aphrodite. Discordian Fire Women at work and play! OZA has been with us at Our Haven ever since. she was their first wife and we were on the sidelines.' Her rays are repeatedly described as (depending on the passage and translator) red. But standing there together. "Ooooom" (Moo.' She mounts the heavens in a large shining chariot drawn by ruddy beasts. Okay. Someone said. and the women of Fyre Trybe were asked to step forward. or steeds of these colors dispersing from their stalls. Manbat. light and clothes in white. fire. and we named another 6-8 that hadn't been able to make it. but other people have written about that. passing water. the women of the Cult of the Living Bull at Our Haven (in French Lick. we thought she was new. 'she rises.women who LOVED the fire as much as the men. Let me Ladies of Fire Tribe at the Women’s Goddess Rebegin by introducing her as we were introduced. one of our circles was an evening fire circle. Well. 41 . and we gave that female cow the name OZA." He goes on to describe how she is associated with dancing. she is sometimes called 'the mother of cows. purple. We realized in that moment how many women were in the Cult of the Living Bull just at Our Haven. At the Women's Goddess Retreat in 2009.

Oom! “Sunset Moon” by Ian Patterson 42 .The last thing he says of her is that "the full signification of Ushas combines cosmic order with cosmic ambiguity. from the similarities in the name of the Goddess. to the attributes. it seems to me that the Sisterhood of the Wholly Chao." So. taps into something old and deep and awesome. For what it's worth. to the cow itself. I wanted to share it with you all. and our beloved OZA.

and would lay on the ground and watch the sun move through the tops of the trees. I was never a lonely child – my world was the woods behind our house. constantly picked flowers for my mother. 43 . then dug up and brought to my new home. It was acres of a mystical. powers. So walk with me down this path. Each article will explain the history. magical uses of a particular herb and share some personal experiences I have had with it. I would enjoy seeing them. My daughter now has a house and next spring I will be giving her starts to carry on the magic of herbs. Nature was my best friend. And if you have some that you would like to share. but to all the perennials I brought with me. and let us recapture the time when nature spirits dwelled in sacred groves and faeries danced. but I have to admit. Nature. From time to time I will be sharing tales about the mysterious. let butterflies land on my hand. A lot of the photos will be from my Goddess Garden of Herbs. then to mine. Being a transplant from southern Ohio to northwestern Illinois was quite a shock. not only me. magical herbal powers that friends have shared with me. Our land now flourishes with generations of herbs and flowers. Paula ~ Your Herbal Guide Being an eclectic green Witch. Being an only child. There were trees to climb. I will be borrowing a lot (with permission) from the Internet. My one fern originally came from my grandmother’s house. would munch on different plants that smelled good when I rolled the leaves between my fingers. to my mother’s.The Magic of Herbs: Immerse yourself in nature’s healing By Paula Dorsen This column is an introduction to the magic of herbs. I love and embrace the Mother Earth. It was the happiest of childhoods all because of my best friend. magical world. I found my first nest of mice. a creek to take my shoes off and walk through and also to wash off the wild onions I would dig and eat.

44 . Rub lavender on the paper you will use to write love notes. Longevity. used for bathing. if worn. Chastity. Peace Lavender has been used for over 2000 years of history. added to the water. Lavender. Spike POWERS: Love. and decorative urns were found in the pyramids with residues still inside. The lavender flower was used for cooking and. Happiness. from "lavare" (Latin meaning 'to wash') or "livendulo" (meaning 'livid or bluish') was also used by the Romans. The Egyptians also perfumed their skin with it. Protection. There are many varieties of lavender plants that grow across several continents with over 30 different species in the genus lavandula. Nardus. Purification. Lavender also protects against cruel treatment at the hands of a spouse. Sleep. MAGICAL POWERS: Lavender has long been used in love spells and sachets. The Egyptians used it in their mummification process. Clothing adorned with the flowers or placed in drawers attracts love.Lavender FOLK NAMES: Elf Leaf. and lavender water or oil was worn by prostitutes centuries ago both to advertise their profession as well as to attract customers through magic. Nard. The scent particularly attracts men.

It’s healing. This plant is so powerful that if you gaze long enough. Iowa.Burn flowers to induce sleep and scatter around the home for peacefulness. A WISH DIVINATION: Place lavender under your pillow while thinking of your wish. Minnesota. Paula Dorsen blends. potions. Handcrafted oils. North Dakota. it will come true. Ohio. Indiana. Also used in purification Our coverage area includes Illinois. Kentucky. natural soaps and more. www. Tennessee and Wisconsin. all sorrow will depart and joyous feelings will flow into the body. and worn to protect against the evil eye. South Dakota. carried to see spirits. Michigan.magickwillow. 45 . In the morning if you have dreamt of anything relating to your wish.

leaving men and women ashamed of their natural desire to enjoy one of the purest. Aphrodite was. this book was born. but she found a desperate lack of resources available to the women and men who are called to work with any of the Goddesses of Love from the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern precincts. bringing Aphrodite’s grace. gentleness. As a contemporary priestess of Aphrodite. Laurelei’s goals are the same. from the maternal and filial to the sexual. Available from Asteria Books Www. 46 . sexuality was stripped of its sacred nature.asteriabooks. and passion into the lives of the devotees who worshipped with them.Too long ago. most transformative sacraments ever known in religion. a Goddess of Love on every level. and IS. As she culled the information that she needed in order to serve Aphrodite. Her priestesses were the embodiments of this love.

always. This connection can be created even in the most drab and distasteful of accommodations. and it is also the medical lab of home brews and 47 . but.The Hearth Witch: The integrated magical home By Rhana T’Qayn Cottage at Witch’s Quay by Zorba the Greek Connecting to the Home Space One of the trademarks of the Hedge Witch or Hearth Witch is that he is generally very connected to the space in which he lives. really. as a natural course. The stove is alight with red and blue flames as dinner cooks and the tea kettle boils. and living a magical lifestyle. This kitchen witnesses the magic of the family dinner. but the Hearth Witch is prone to give this process a magical boost. helpful to start with a home that you already feel drawn to. the house or apartment will be able to take on the magical energy of its resident. charging it with little bits of himself. This connection isn’t just a matter of decorating a house or apartment to suit his tastes or style. by practicing magic. By creating magical objects. you are at greater ease to integrate the energy of the home with your own energy. From that basic beginning. like talismans. but it is. The integration of Witch and Hearth (or Hedge) happens through living and breathing in the space. Hearth Magic Doesn’t End in the Kitchen Savory smells emanate from the kitchen. by setting Guardians and Watchers.

Why not recognize and work with the magic inherent in making it? Instead of eating every meal from a box. The magical practicality of the Hearth Witch doesn’t end in the kitchen. it is the cooking pot that holds pasta and sauces and soups. It’s really no wonder that so many Witches are drawn to the ways of the Kitchen Witch. Kitchen Witches honor and work with the deeply powerful practices and practicalities of cooking. literally. not just figuratively. and herbs. instead of stirring idly while the contents of a pot boil. It is the modern hearth.herbal teas. He knows and works with the magic of every nook within his home. Every ingredient in a meal is chosen with care. Nor is magic reserved for the space that includes his altar or temple room. a Kitchen Witch is conscious of the energy she pours into the pot. companionship. and punctuates all of your daily Kitchen Witch Doll by Malcolm Lidbury 48 . In any happy home. Daily Rituals When magic begins your day. We all need food. full of its own special magic. and council. No. No. and to add that boost of magic that one or more family members may need. instead of rushing through the processes of daily nutrition. magic is a lifestyle. and it is a place of comfort. The spoon becomes a magical tool unknown to other Witches. He is not an “Esbat Witch” in the way that some Christians are “Sunday Christians. but it is not the core of the Hearth Witch’s practice. The blade is no longer strictly for ritual. the kitchen. It is. since most of us don’t cook daily meals in our fireplaces. however small. but is used to cut meat. With every stir. The kitchen becomes the heart of the home. High magic is praiseworthy and valid. a way of meeting his existence every day with the knowledge and power of the Craft as close companions. for the Hearth Witch.” aware of his religious beliefs and practices only at holy days or a regular Sabbath day. to nourish herself and her family. though. is a transformative and familial place. vegetables. The cauldron is not a symbol that sits on an altar only to be seen. filled with every good thing. protects you during the night while you sleep.

under specific circumstances. reviewing homework. Photo by Mullybinks. for the most part. The Witch’s power comes from recognizing the magic inherent in these. warming up the car in cool weather. Oral hygiene is one of the daily rituals we can imbue with magical intention. but we tend to compartmentalize it.activities. dressing. For most Witches. we need to look at the purpose that it serves. When we do push past those original boundaries. prosperity and love. our pursuit of magical understanding has come later in life. it seems like an entirely mundane task. When viewed through the lens of the Hearth Witch. Photo by Teresa Labante. seemingly. Magic and ritual are things we do as Witches. though. a country dweller’s life is noted by his practical approach to work. reared in magical families. mundane rituals. protection. Even today. You will be adept at working with the magic that you carry. this type of integrative practice is the mark of advanced practice. We start this way because we have no practical experience with magic or with ritual. daily practice was as important as the Sabbats. and effortlessly creating magic that enhances your life. each of these activities already has a magical purpose. but they are undertaken at specific times. For early Witches. Indeed. Take warming up the car in the winter. we can see that magic is not just for high ritual. personal grooming. sharing dinner. Because we are not. Why warm up the car? For those of us living in frigid Bowl of flowers and a glass lantern for a ritual. the word “Pagan” stems from the Latin word for country person. We need to understand and experience them. We may have been mentally receptive to it. How can it possibly be seen as a magical act? Well. And so it is for the Hearth Witch. On the surface. You’ll find that you no longer require complicated spells and rituals for many of the needs that once had you running to spell books and magical websites for ideas. Photo by Csaba Polgar. I’d wager. you are leading a magical life. before we can feel comfortable playing with them. for example. directing it throughout your world. for specific reasons. and getting ready for bed can all be infused with a magical purpose. for their own sakes. 49 . The daily rituals of meal preparation. Zodiac chimes hanging as a charm from a tree branch.

50 . I’ll drive my children to school that morning. meditation and visualization skills to keep them sharp. with its own sub-zero atmosphere. So car-starting. makes one’s hands cramp. from mowing grass to raking leaves to shoveling snow. the once wholly mundane and un-magical act.climates for any part of the year. most of whom won’t be nearly so well-protected from the dangers of the icy road and wind. that my attention is on the road and the other drivers. is now a practical ritual for protection. as I drive. shielded by heat (and maybe light. Climbing into a car. Remodeling is a refocusing of a shrine’s energy flow and purpose. if I walk out to my carport to start the engine on a cold January morning and visualize the car being surrounded in a protective bubble of heat. while you should be focused on road conditions and other drivers. It’s so much more powerful an act when it is entered into consciously. Washing and cleaning. the magical maintenance of a household can reinvigorate the home’s energy centers. And just like a Witch needs to practice his energy-raising. it’s a protective act for the machinery of the car itself. Painting can become protective when the paint is seen as a shield against the weather and natural disasters. but her home maintenance projects become the equivalent of temple service. Photos by Cathy Kaplan Magical Maintenance Not only do the daily activities of the Hearth Witch take on magical importance. since an engine that hasn’t been warmed can malfunction or deteriorate over time. I’ll know. Moreover. At its essence. knowing that the killing Indiana temperatures aren’t going to harm us as we drive. signifies the points on a yearly cycle of life and death and rebirth. so does a home need constant care to keep it functioning optimally. Just like certain spells for protection and prosperity need to be repeated intermittently to boost their effectiveness. sweeping and dusting are rites that cleanse the home of the negativity that is brought in or stirred up from within. It makes one’s whole body tighten and shiver. Yard work. For instance. warming up the car can be viewed as a practical protection for driver and passengers. heating the car before we try to drive is an act of self-preservation. I’m giving a boost to the protection that is already offered. if I add that to the visualization).

then you will be one step closer to pouring your magical might into the work. At the end of each chapter. If. behind the raking and shoveling. If you view your daily tasks as a torturous tedium. is that vacuuming.As We Will It The key to living a magical life from rising to retiring is infusing every act with magical will and intention. behind the pruning and painting. Indeed. which is the first step in the right direction. There are already several titles that are readily available that deal with the process of raising and directing magical energy. cleansing. Magic doesn’t require high ritual to be effective. your home will be infused with that energy. focus on your intention (protection. you recognize as the magical intentions behind the vacuuming and dusting. what I want to point out. They are intended as warm-ups or thoughtgenerators on the topics covered in this chapter. dancing. I recommend getting a notebook that you can use for recording your thoughts and responses to the suggested exercises. You can also use it to sketch talismans. and all the other tasks mentioned above are just as effective at raising energy as chanting. This work isn’t intended as another basic magical “how-to” book. this could be the beginning of your own Hearth Witch Book of Shadows! 51 . and more. to current practitioners of the Craft. you will find similar exercises that you can do to connect to the material discussed and apply it more directly to your own home and magical practice. If you use daily chores as the vehicle to raise energy. Exercises The following exercises are not rituals or spells. write your own spells. you will already be infusing the work with positive associations. by themselves. Instead. In fact. I would recommend reading those works for an introduction to magical practice. or prosperity. and drumming. dusting. you have just completed a very effective bit of Hearth Witch magic. on the other hand. If you are new to magical practice. for example). and then release your will at the end of the work.

Fly Higher. Advanced Witchcraft: Go Deeper. the other about American Folkloric Witchcraft. WA: Phoenix. Janet and Stewart. porches. Set aside some time on a regular basis to meditate.. Which ones would you label as cleansing rites? Which ones are protective rituals? Which could be associated with prosperity? With beauty? With healing? Exercise 4 – Working Your Will – Meditation and visualization are great practices for beefing up your magical muscles. 1989.Exercise 1 – Connecting to the Home Space – What “landscape” makes you feel most powerful? (Most connected to your power? Most connected to your personal Deities?) How does that differ from the landscape in which you currently live? What could you change in your decorating (both interior and exterior) to infuse your home with the energies of the landscape that empower you? Exercise 2 – Magical Places and Magical Spaces – Make a list of all the rooms and spaces within your house. Edain. Think about the magical intentions or Deities that might correspond to each. Janet and Stewart The Witches’ Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity. ISBN-13: 978-0919345911 McCoy. ISBN-13: 9780738705132 Rhana T’Qayn is a mother of two and a High Priestess within American Folkloric Witchcraft. balconies. your connection to it. WA: Phoenix. offices and any other nook or cranny your home might have. perhaps focusing on the natural magic of your home. ISBN-13: 978-0919345478 Farrar. utility rooms. 2004. 52 . Focus on those that take place inside your home or on your homestead. and the Deities that you associate with that work. She lives in Indiana with her family and is currently writing two books — one about Hearth Witchcraft. 1987. Include closets. Brainstorm a list of magical associations that you might attribute to each room and place. bathrooms. The Witches’ God: Lord of the Dance. Further Reading Farrar. Exercise 3 – Daily Rituals – Think about the processes you work through every day. WI: Llewellyn. Reach Further.

we had over 600 people in attendance our first year and over 1200 our second year.Lifestyles of the witch and magus: Colleen kelly BALEFIRE: What magical/spiritual projects does the community know you for? How long and in what capacity have you been involved in these? COLLEEN KELLY: I have been very active in the Pagan Faith Community since the late 1990’s. I eventually heard from a local woman. I tried to find other pagans (for fellowship and ritual) but they were well hidden. While operating on a smaller scale.000 people and helped many of them find local groups to participate with. By 53 . let’s call her Susan and together we decided to begin to form a local community. As I was a “computer geek” I figured that would be a good place to start. SOL sponsored the wheel of the year rituals (mostly in my back yard) and in its first year of existence talked to over 1. At that time PINK was born (Pagan Individuals Near Kalamazoo). I moved to Indy in July of 2004 and met Dave Sassman and Jan DeFerbrache at a great little pagan meetup. Yahoo Messenger and ever IRC.convocation. 11 plus years later. What really instigated the change was a move to Michigan. After a wonderful weekend at Convocation (http://www. I decided to move back to MI (I was born there but moved away the day after high school graduation) after my father died and my mother needed I got the PPD bug and decided to set up a Kalamazoo PPD (KPPD). “Seekers of Light” (SOL) which helped “people find other people of like mind”. Remember back then there was no such thing as a “social network” … so we had to make due with AOL. Before that time I was pretty much a solitary practitioner with occasional group ritual. But I found myself in the mid-west (having moved from Long Island New York) and in a bit of culture shock! WOW what a difference. the KPPD event still continues today. PINK in its current form still exists and meets for a monthly brunch at a local Kalamazoo restaurant today. It was meant to be both an online and a real time group. PINK spawned another organization called. Working with some great folks.

BF: I know you're very busy these days. I am the founder and (defacto) director of IPPM (Indianapolis Pagan Prison Ministry. loving. On the mundane level. Jan still runs Gaia Works today and they do a great deal of service work in the Indy area. 2011. This group feeds me personally and is comprised of 5 wonderful. I have my own Web Design and Development company which I am rebranding as Red-Kelly. spiritually wise and deeply caring women. We also take this event into the Women’s Prison here in Indianapolis. Currently the “open” group meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. were one of the original founders of this group. closed. As for spiritual/religious/magical aspects. serving an inmate population of over 300 individuals. And on a personal It is a moving experience of going into the dark and reemerging into the light of the new day. from 7 PM to 9 PM in the Fellowship Hall at UUI. BF: If you could start a new endeavor (of any sort) without the risk of failure. Arrive early as the building will only hold 300 … 7 to 9 PM on Saturday December 17. We provide Wiccan and Asatru services behind the walls at 5 local state facilities. Laurelei. Every year we have a full crowd of 300 who come to celebrate the season in story and song with us. I also am the Co-leader of the CUUPs group (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) which is in its seventh year of meeting at UUI (Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis). We facilitate 5 Wiccan groups and 2 Asatru groups with 4 very active and dedicated volunteers. crone group. We have a special need for Norse or Asatru books at this time and will happily arrange to pick up or get book donations. This is a free event (there is a free will offering taken during the celebration and a feast afterwards … bring a dish or drink to share) which is open to all … and is appropriate for young and old. I am also the coordinator of the Winter Solstice Celebration which takes place at UUI the Saturday before the actual Winter Solstice. I pray that each of you is able to find such a supportive group of people to do your personal practice with. And lest I forget. What currently fills your time? CK: Today I split my time among many things. I am working two part time jobs and going to school full time for a degree in Website Design and Development. what would 54 .March the three of us (with others) had put on the first Masquerade Ball (which still takes place every March) and by the next year had incorporated as Gaia Works. It should be noted that YOU. I am the lucky participant in a small. IPPM can be found on facebook and accepts donations of Pagan books for prison libraries in the facilities.

55 . BF: Which magical/spiritual systems have you studied? Are you currently involved with a coven/ grove/circle? CK: When I was a teenager I spent at least 6 weeks at every church in my small town … I wanted to get a feel and understanding for everything that was available (remember this was pre-internet). Personally I have spent a good deal of time with the following belief paths (no order or ranking implied): Asatru Druidry Wicca Voodoo/Voodou Santeria Buddhism Christianity in many forms Shamanistic studies Herbalism And a small bit of Islam and Judaism (Traditional and Messianic) BF: What led you to the type of magical/spiritual path that you currently follow? CK: In Paganism. Then I can take that belief. BF: What do you do to relax or recharge your batteries when you feel depleted? CK: When I feel drained or depleted I do one of three things: Call my friends and meet over coffee or tea to chat and get recharged Watch a little TV (love Sci-Fi/Fantasy) or read a good escape novel And on occasion. In my study and practice I have incorporated each phase of my learning’s somewhere into my path. When my dog died a couple of weeks ago I went to a local Episcopal Church where I knew they did high ritual and just sat in the pew and immersed myself in the beauty of ritual. we may come to know many faces of the gods and thus come to different understandings or views of the be? Why that? Do you believe that you will one day attempt this? CK: Where is the fun. My formal studies in Comparative Religion and my training for my ordination exposed me to many belief paths. sense of adventure or challenge in starting a new endeavor without the risk of failure? Anybody could (and should) do something that gives back to community … but if things were that easy there would be no need to start things! They would already be done. As an adult I have studied as many paths as I could find information about. During that process. each of us has the responsibility to discover deity for ourselves. Often a “light bulb” turns on in my head and I realize where some deep seated belief came from. go to some kind of ritual where nobody knows me. examine it and decide where it fits into my world view. Deity is everywhere and we can observe them in any type of religious service so long as we know that.

I find that surrounding yourself with people who are on a similar search makes the path easier … as you discuss life and belief openly you have the opportunity to better define yourself and understand why you believe what you do. BF: In what ways do you see your magical/spiritual life as connected to your mundane/physical life? CK: There is no magical and mundane. Whether we acknowledge it or not. There is only life. Everything is sacred. it means we have had food to eat and been the recipients of the gifts of the goddess … for which we give thanks as we wash the dishes (usually with plenty of hot water!). There is nothing more valuable in life than knowing you have choices and believing that you can really make those choices. Once we begin to look at things in that vein we no longer struggle (much … smiling) with a dichotomy between the two. we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. For example: when we have dirty dishes to wash. Colleen in a recent folk choir performance of El Paso 56 .

editors and publishers whose techniques you want to learn)  preferred season (spring or fall)  topic ideas To get involved or make suggestions.Midwest Magical Writing Retreat Are you interested in…  devoting time and attention to the craft of writing in a pristine natural setting?  collaborating with fellow writers and editors walking a magical path? getting feedback on your writing from top editors. contact Laurelei Black at: laurelei@asteriabooks. authors and publishers the magical community?  Asteria Books and THE BALEFIRE are planning to sponsor the first-ever Midwest Magical Writing Retreat in Autumn 2012 or Spring 2013. We need feedback and participation from writers (and aspiring writers) like you! We’d love your suggestions regarding:  possible facilitators (great 57 .

Maski Weneckie (Venetian Masks) Photo by Ludmila Pilecka 58 .

salves. soaps. & capsules made from organic botanicals harvested from their own gardens. laundry soap. We are also constantly seeking donation of food and non-food items like shampoo. diapers and wipes. gloves. OUROBOROS COPYWRITING & DESIGN STUDIO Magickal Design for the Pagan & Occult Communities      Logo design Website design Marketing brochures Business cards Special event scipts www.http://www. coats.laughingladybug. shave cream. sanitary products. clothes. which are tax deductible. shoes and boots. deodorant. hats. cleaning oils. FAIR BARTERS CONSIDERED Laughing Ladybug Botanicals offers 59 . bus passes.htm We welcome cash donations. blankets.freewebs. toilet paper. small-batch essential tinctures.

September 7-9. 2012 60 .Both women-born-women and transgendered women are welcome at this retreat.

Silent Hill by Dimitri Castrique 61 .

subsequently. since the veil was so thin. Samhain was the last night of the 13th month. It was a time to commune with deceased ancestors and loved ones. The Celtic calendar had 13 months.A Smattering of sabbat lore By Laurelei Black Samhain Samhain is the point in the Wheel that is directly opposite to Beltaine. this was the perfect time of year to set aside sacred time to honor those who had passed. Furthermore. 62 . and the intents behind the holiday and the season are. Samhain is the beginning of the New Year in Celtic lands. Guardians of various types would be placed at doors and windows and hearth (all the entry ways into the home) to keep unwanted and unwelcome spirits out. In the ancient Celtic world. It was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was the thinnest. and communication and passage “Skull” by Hajnalk Ardai between the worlds was easiest. it was also expected that some rather nasty spirits might enter through the veil at that time. The custom of dressing in costume comes from the idea of disguising oneself so as not to be recognized by unfriendly spirits. Of course. which would cause folks to be wary. Samhain was seen as the beginning of the dark half of the year. directly opposite to those of the fertility and mirth of Beltaine. Though the ancients honored and revered their ancestors throughout the year.

Some say They sleep.) 63 . and this was a time to remember the deeds of forefathers and foremothers. though some traditions have Them returning at Imbolc. Some say They go to various islands or castles to rest. in many traditions. it was a time of remembrance. Some claim that They die. Since this was the last festival of the harvest. The method of a God or a groups of Gods leaving is different from tradition to tradition. If not. it was imperative that farmers have all of their crops harvested before sundown on Samhain night. Finally.Furthermore. this was a time for the Gods to go away. tradition held that whatever was left in the fields belonged to the Sidhe. They would recall the names of the people in their lineage and honor them with feasts and gifts. The ancients had a deep respect for their ancestors. The ancestors would have a special place in the home during this time. the time of the return is generally placed at Yule. (However.

and Maeshowe in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland are some of the most well known of these ancient pieces of architecture. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. is the fear that the failing light of the sun may not return and therefore needs some help. nearly the world over. in part.) The Romans celebrated Saturnalia. Solstice celebrations are universal. The impetus for the holiday. One has even been found recently in Africa. Stonehenge (which marks both Solstices). These groups met in trade in Rome. of course. According to many traditions. there are also similar structures throughout Europe. Saturnalia was a 12-day celebration that involved decorating with greenery and burning candles to chase Above: “Julfest Wintersonnenwend” (Yule Fest Winter Sun Wheel) Below: “Santa and Goat” 64 . Structures have been built. In fact. capturing part of the importance of the Winter Solstice. as far back as the dim memory of mankind and beyond. Indonesia and the Americas. (The Church. that mark and honor the Winter Solstice. there are even many medieval Catholic churches that were built as solar observatories.Yule Yule is celebrated on December 21st. the flame of a candle is also similar (though a much smaller representative) to the light of the Sun itself. Groups as different as Iranians are to the Swedes. though the Winter Solstice’s date changes from year to year based on the astronomical calendar. has to keep track of the Solstices and Equinoxes in order to determine the date of Easter each year. This accounts. the Middle East. for the extensive use of candles and lanterns to drive away the darkness. and the Romans sensed both the fun and the significance of the potential for a Solstice holiday. being celebrated in nearly every culture the world over. there are evil spirits that thrive in the darkness and require light and warmth to drive them out. However. which was a combination of the traditions already in use by the Egyptians and Persians. Asia. Chumash Indians to the peoples of Tibet and Spain to Germany have very old traditions for the same solar event. Of course. Newgrange in Ireland.

warmth and fertility brought by the Sun. Yule was the Norse and Celtic celebration of the Solstice. In older days. interestingly.) Mistletoe (also called the golden bough) was especially sacred to the Druids. Naturally. the Celtic and Norse traditions tend to revolve around the return of light.) However. White. possibly. (A whole paper could be written on the importance of mistletoe to the Druids. if two opposing armies met for battle under mistletoe. the priests of the Celts. Boughs of holly were used in decoration because their verdant color was a strong reminder of life in the midst of the white. it became a party in the pure Roman style with the passage of time. This peace under the golden bough has evolved into the kissing under the mistletoe that we currently enjoy. one tradition from the past seems to influence one of our modern customs quite significantly. so their need for the return of light (and heat) may have helped imbue this holiday with special significance. and winter was the time of the Earth’s death in preparation for rebirth. Hundreds of customs and remedies were established around the mistletoe. snow-covered world they lived in. “Yule” means “feast” or. (Holly was also hung in windows because of its prickly leaves and poisonous berries. which make it excellent for guardianship. “wheel. a truce would be called until the next day. Left: “Holly Tree” by Trish Steel Top Right: “Old Father Christmas” Middle Right: “Yule Log” Bottom Right: “Holly Berries” by Alan Fryer 65 . the peoples to the North had a much rougher time in winter than their neighbors to the South.” As with the other cultures. was a color of death and mourning to the Northern people.away evil spirits. Of course.

defeats the Holly King. For human women. With the return of the Oak King. As a part of the John Barley-Corn celebrations. some traditions refer to this holiday as “Brighid” or “The Feast of Brighid. Candlemas. In colder climes. Many traditions send the Gods to their rest around the time of Samhain. a festival that the Christians picked up on some centuries ago. Because this was the time of year that the ewes would come into their milk (for the lambs they were about to bear). the Oak King. (This hearkens back to the far older concept of the Year King. and carry the baby to term. At this time of year. ours included. Many covens use this time of returning light to make and/or bless their candles. in part. is also associated with this time of year. 66 . the Year King would be sacrificed for the good of the people. His rival. to her association with birthing and midwifery. who would protect the people for one year. (If you get pregnant at Beltaine. They would know that Spring was on its way. In case of need.” Some traditions. leaving them to rest during the darkest part of the cycle. the holiday was named “Oimelc” in some places. as well. waiting to be born. In fact. this would have been the coldest part of the year. the sun is once again aloud to gain strength and power in the day. like the ones many of our European pagan forebears lived in. the last mug of beer and the last loaf of bread would be drunk and eaten to help revitalize John Barley-Corn. Because of this. there is a portion who would be calling the Gods back to life and fertility at this time of year. but there was very little physical evidence in the land that gave obvious witness to this fact.The Oak King and Holly King struggle is re-played at this time of year. this could be a season of birth. too. you’ll be in labor near the beginning of February. the returning light was about the only thing that really heralded the return of warmth and growth. and this was an ideal holiday for celebrating her role as midwife and mother. who rules the waning part of the year. Among those that do.) Brighid is associated with this holiday due.) Imbolc Imbolc is the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. John Barley-Corn would be in the womb. She was one of the highly loved and honored pan-Celtic Goddesses. work within the Celtic framework of the John Barley-Corn cycle. and be given much honor and privilege for the sacrifice he is willing to make. It is the time of the year when one begins to notice that the sunlight is waxing once again.

in symbol or otherwise. this is the time when Persephone returns from her stay with her husband. She is welcomed home by her rejoicing mother. Some groups use this as a time of cleansing and renewal.Spring Equinox It seems that the most popular/common name for this holiday (and many of the traditions surrounding it) has sprung from the Teutonic Goddess Eostre (or Ostara). With her return. Within Systems that focus on the cycles of the sun. action and fertility. The Great Rite. and even the Christians couldn’t get rid of the symbols (or the name) and were forced to adopt some of the imagery into their celebration of Easter. This is the joy of the reunion between mother and daughter. flowers spring to life at her feet and the land is blessed with fertility. who is a Goddess of the fields. Within the Greek cycle of the Eleusian Mysteries. This is also one of the two times of year attributed to Aphrodite’s ritual/sacred bath. this is one of the four major events in the year. Demeter. She was a fertility Goddess whose symbols were bunnies and eggs and the like. the fields gave no food and the land was dark and cold. The vernal equinox is the solar event that marks the point of balance between day and night. During Persephone’s long absence. Hades. Upper right: “Ostara” by Johannes Gerhts Lower right: “Frigg als Ostara” (Frigga as Ostara) 67 . while moving into longer and longer days. The idea of fertility has definitely stuck close to this time of the year. in the Underworld. can be done at this time. It is viewed as a time of balance with the understanding that we are moving into a time of increased light.

com 68 .Asteria Books’ extensive library of curriculum guides for students of the Craft and occult airts allows you to:  moire.asteriabooks.    create a comprehensive Book of Shadows or Gribuild a reference library begin (or end) a Book of Shadows plan a Craft 101 class for your coven Choose from e-book (. more owls Available Every Week! General Occult Crystals Totem Animals Mythical Creatures Dragons Incenses Oil Blends Candles Color Magic Sex Magic Herbs Paradigms of Magic Alphabets Names Auras Chakras Healing Psychism Astral Travel Trance Chants Correspondences Invocation and Evocation Otherkin Eclectic Witchcraft History Traditions Ritual Basics AVAILABLE Witches' Tools AVAILABLE Spellcrafting AVAILABLE Esbats AVAILABLE Wheel of the Year AVAILABLE Rites of Passage Handfastings Initiations Quarters Spell Book Deities Ritual Space Using Power Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Symbols Ardaynes Covens Invisibility and Glamours Weather Magick Familiars Ceremonial Magic History Orders Tree of Life Banishing Evocation Invocation Magical Formulae Sigils and Servitors Goetia Intermediate Qabala Symbols Magic Pyramid True Will Alchemy Egregores New Aeon Druidry History Sacred Grove Three Realms Deities Ogham Bardic Triads World Tree Symbols Fey and Sidhe Power in the Land Imramma Avalon Solar Holidays Agricultural Holidays Tools Wand Staff Blade Disc Broom Cup & Cauldron Stang Shamanism Introduction Spirit guides Lucid Dreaming Shapeshifting Soul Retrieval Masking And more at … www.pdf) or print (letter-sized) formats.

69 . Explain that Pagans long ago carved pumpkins and other gourds to scare away dangerous or unfriendly spirits. Materials Point out the orange circle in the dark half. tivity Page Supplemental: Carve the family’s pumpkin guardian together. The living and the dead can see and feel each other more easily right now. 3. Ask if it reminds him of anything related to Halloween/ Wheel of Year craft (from issue Samhain? A pumpkin? 1 of THE BALEFIRE) 1. and glue it to the orange circle on the Wheel of the Year. Which ones are scariest? Through Beyond Draw faces on the blank pumpkins on the activity page. Remind your child that this circle represents Samhain. and the jack-o-lanterns protected houses and people from harmful ghosts.Pagan Sun day School By GiGi Hopkins Samhain Objectives:  To acquaint your child with the Pagan aspects of already well-known “Halloween” customs  To mark the passage of the child’s first purposeful Samhain observance  To reinforce “Wheel of the Year” concept Intro Take a look at the large Wheel of the Year that you’ve already made together. Even her non-Pagan friends are likely to have a jack-o-lantern on their front porches at this time of year. if you Pumpkin Aclike. Cut one out. Talk to your child about the fact that pumpkins are often associated with this holiday. 2. using one of the faces your child drew. Talk about (or maybe even sketch) the faces your family has carved on pumpkins in previous years.

70 .Pagan Sun day School Photocopy these activity pages for use with each child.

Also point out that the Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest amount of sunlight in the whole year. people believed that they had to help the sun return to its strength. and they would stay awake all through the longest night until the sun rose again the next morning. Cut a smaller crown Sun Crown Acto glue to the yellow circle on your Wheel of the Year. 71 . Talk with your child about the way the sun’s light doesn’t brighten the sky as long in the winter as it does in the summer. 4.Pagan Sun day School Yule Objectives:  To acquaint your child with the Pagan aspect of already well-known “Christmas” customs  To mark the passage of your child’s first purposeful Yule observance  To reinforce “Wheel of the Year” concept Intro Look at the Wheel. 2. Materials which many Pagans call Yule. Explain that some Pagans describe the sun as a king and celebrate Yule as his birthday. Through Beyond Decorate and color the sun crown on the activity page. 3. Lighting candles or a special log are other ways people have helped the light return. Explain that the yellow circle does represent the sun. Point out that the yellow circle is for the Winter Solstice. maybe? Wheel of the Year craft 1. Point out the candle ceremonies or tree lights used within your home or community as examples of how these traditions still exist. Does the yellow circle remind your child of anything? The sun. In very ancient times. tivity Page Supplemental: Make sun ornaments for your Yule tree by painting yellow balls or hanging spiced citruses (oranges with clove poked into the skins) on the tree.

72 .Pagan Sun day School Photocopy these activity pages for use with each child.

2 popsicle/craft sticks. but deep under the ice and snow. 2. talk with your child about the fact that this holiday comes to us from a place where the snow is heavy and the ground is frozen at this time of year. and one of her symbols is a special kind of cross. 4. seeds are coming to life. 3. Beyond Color the activity page & cut out the cross to add to your Wheel of the Year. Does it remind you of snow? Have you had snow this winter? Do you get snow where you live? Does it seem like a short winter or a long winter? Wheel of the How do we know winter is ending? Year craft Through 1. Point out the white Materials circle. Show a picture of a traditional Brighid’s cross. Whether or not you experience snow in your region. Nothing looks like it’s growing. Tell your child that the Goddess Brighid is usually honored at this holiday.Pagan Sun day School Imbolc Objectives:  To acquaint your child with the Sabbat Imbolc  To mark the passage of the child’s first purposeful Imbolc observance  To reinforce “Wheel of the Year” concept Intro Look again at the Wheel of the Year you’ve begun making. yarn Brighid’s Cross Activity Page 73 . Follow the instructions on the following page to make your own version of a Brighid’s cross (a God’s eye). Explain that we picked the white circle to represent the snow that covers the ground in so many places right now.

5. Take a length of yarn and wrap it over and around one of the arms of the cross. This project works very well with self-striping yarn or other multi-colored varieties. Tie off the yarn on one of the arms of the cross. 2. If you run out of yarn.Pagan Sun day School Imbolc Brighid’s Cross Instructions 1. Glue two Popsicle or craft sticks together in the shape of a cross. or tie feathers or sticks into them to give added meanings. tie another piece to the old yard with a tight knot. then move on to the next. 4. Continue wrapping until the cross is the desired size. 3. again wrapping the yarn over and around the arm. You can also slide beads or charms onto the strands. 74 . and continue wrapping. 6.

75 .Pagan Sun day School Photocopy these activity pages for use with each child.

crayons. Does it look a little like an Easter egg? Wheel of the Year craft 1. Look for her work soon from Asteria Books. 2.Materials nox. Hard boil a few eggs and use your favorite egg-dye to color them. a teacher. Plants are growing. Add one of them to your Egg Activity Wheel of the Year. and some warm days have let us know that summer is coming. even in the coldest places. Eggs and seeds and bunnies are symbols of spring because they remind us that everything is coming to life all around us. and a Witch living in Indiana whose work currently includes rearing her son and daughter. 76 . By now. and writing about the Craft for families. Spring is here! 3. Chicks and baby animals are being born. Eggs. certain flowers and trees are blooming. Dame Hopkins is a mother. markers Beyond Color and decorate the eggs on the activity page. You can also use crayons and markers for a more “hands-on” approach. vinegar. which many Pagans also call Ostara. dye. raising chickens and rabbits. Page Throug h All “Pagan Sun Day School” lessons and activities are excerpted from GiGi Hopkins’ work-in-progress by the same name.Pagan Sun day School Ostara Objectives:  To acquaint child with the Pagan aspect of already well-known “Easter” customs  To mark the passage of the child’s first purposeful Ostara observance  To reinforce “Wheel of the Year” concept Intro Point out the pink circle on the Wheel of the Year that represents Spring Equi. Ostara is another name for the Spring Equinox – the day in the spring when the day and night are equal.

Pagan Sun day School Photocopy these activity pages for use with each child. 77 .

~George Carlin A gypsy fire is on the hearth. For this is Hallowe'en! ~Author Unknown They that are born on Halloween shall see more than other folk.Imminently Quotable Photo by Benjamin Earwicker Samhain/Halloween Eat. ~Erma Bombeck There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. drink and be scary. Through the dun fields and from the glade Flash merry folk in masquerade. ~Author Unknown A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~Saying of unknown origin 78 . Sign of the carnival of mirth.

Jacobs. Ritters First Grade Critters “Inglenook Fireplace” by Penny Mayes "Every year at just this time. Mrs. With presents and with parties. I know the message That each of you tells.Traditional Carol "Holly and mistletoe Candles and bells. Here we come a-wand'ring So fair to be seen ." ." .Yule "The holly and the ivy. When they are both full grown. Families around the world All gather to remember. Of all trees that are in the wood. Customs and traditions for people old and young. And the running of the deer The playing of the merry organ.Leland B. The holly bears the crown: O." . With feasting and with fun. In cold and dark December. Sweet singing in the choir.Traditional Carol “Sun Dial” by Andrew Bierle 79 .Helen H. the rising of the sun. Moore Here we come a-wassailing Among the leaves so green. .

Imbolc Let us love winter. where I had heard a tittering for some time. the color of winter is in the imagination. for it is the spring of genius. Spice it with love and stir it with care. 28 November 1858 journal entry The color of springtime is in the flowers." . And I'll toast our bright eyes." ~Henry David Thoreau. ~Terri Guillemets Brew me a cup for a winter's night. "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel.Anne Bradstreet 80 . ~Minna Thomas Antrim "If we had no winter. ~Pietro Aretino Every mile is two in winter. For the wind howls loud and the furies fight. ~George Herbert Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do . the spring would not be so pleasant.or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. if you know where to look for it. my sweetheart fair. ~Stanley Crawford "Hear! hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree.

the taxes last us all the year. there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. at the end of the day. laugh forth Your ancient gladness! ~Thomas Blackburn. I Love You Spring is nature's way of saying. ~Margaret Atwood Indoors or out. and winter in the shade. ~Rainer Maria Rilke. ~Ogden Nash 81 . "An Easter Hymn" In the spring.Spring Equinox Springtime is the land awakening. no one relaxes in March. Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke Awake. you should smell like dirt. ~Charles Dickens Everything is blooming most recklessly. the wind will presently disappear. The March winds are the morning yawn. if it were voices instead of colors. that month of wind and taxes. "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light. thou wintry earth Fling off thy sadness! Fair vernal flowers. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk.

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