Baba Yaga

by Jeanine Lesniak

Baba Yaga is one of the most prominent figures in Russian and Slavic fairy tales. There is a wealth of stories about Her, but She is complicated and not easily defined. She can appear to be fickle, inconsistent or even crazy, but really, She just bases her decisions upon being able to see people deep beneath their exterior—down to their deepest fears, darkest dreams and most ignoble motives.

When Baba Yaga speaks or acts, it may seem irrational to the observer because She is addressing the deep subconscious, which speaks a different “language” than the conscious mind. Because She usually plays an antagonistic role in myths and legends, Baba Yaga has been called a hag or demon, but She actually is both shapeshifter and Goddess.

Baba Yaga helps us to develop our authentic selves by pointing out our arrogance, pride and self-absorption, and, conversely, our low self-esteem, self pity, false humility and self-abuse. She urges us toward a healthy balance of honesty, integrity, purity of purpose, self-esteem and true humility. Her methods are of the “tried in the fire” variety, but when She gets the desired results, we will be favored with a boon of power. It could be the gift of fire, a magick horse or some other exotic and empowering treat.

Always approach Baba Yaga in innocent boldness and honest humility. Never try to fool Her, and always be prepared to be tested.

Jeanine Lesniak is the High Priestess of Golden Thread Grove – ATC in Boise, ID as well as the proprietor of the Crones Cupboard with her High Priest and husband, Jon.

Jeanine and Jon Lesniak will be presenting Baba Yaga and Dazbog on the Slavic path at this year’s 25th anniversary of Hekate’s Sickle Festival.

First image retrieved from Wikipedia.

ATC Announces New Date for Hekate’s Sickle Festival – October 16-19

From PRWEB.com

HSF2014QuarterPageATC Announces New Date for

Hekate’s Sickle Festival

October 16-19

For the last 24 years, Hekate’s Sickle has occurred on the first weekend in November. For the quarter century celebration, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church has announced that the date will be moved up to the third weekend in October.

The Aquarian Tabernacle Church

We have been searching for a way to make the 25th year anniversary of Hekate’s Sickle Festival more dynamic than we ever have, and to allow for the rebirth that is intended during the Pagan New Year.

Index, Washington (PRWEB) August 05, 2014

In an effort to allow more witches and Pagans to attend their home Samhain rituals, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church has moved the Hekate’s Sickle Festival up two weekends. This change will also allow for a longer, 4 day, festival to celebrate the 25th anniversary.

In addition to the date change, the festival has been moved to Fort Flagler, the home of their Spring Mysteries Festival for the last 29 years, and the festival will run for an additional day – Thursday through Sunday.

There were a number of factors that went into the recent changes. The new date allows for a longer and larger festival at a better facility. In addition to warmer, dryer weather, it removes most conflicts with participants’ personal Samhain celebrations, which would traditionally happen around October 31st, often very near the first weekend in November.

“We have been searching for a way to make the 25th year anniversary of Hekate’s Sickle Festival more dynamic than we ever have, and to allow for the rebirth that is intended during the Pagan New Year. We are having 5 paths – Slavic, Nordic, Celtic, Greek, and Faerie – wherein you will encounter deities of transformation and the Underworld. As time allows, every participant should be able to visit every path. The 4 day weekend and earlier date change (Oct 16-19) will also allow each of us to come together as a larger community, and still return to our loved ones to celebrate the sabbat at home,” said Dusty Dionne, High Priest of the ATC Mother Church.

The early-bird price of $150 per person ends August 12th. The admission fee includes lodging, food, a fantastic one-of-a-kind ritual experience, a seance, entry to the Witches Ball, an Awards Banquet as well as a dozen in depth and informative workshops. Festival goers will get the chance to speak to their departed loved ones, walk between the worlds, talk to the Gods, then celebrate the new year in style with a formal Masquerade.

To register go to http://AquaTabCh.Org or directly at https://integration.fellowshipone.com/integration/FormBuilder/FormBuilder.aspx?fCode=sTLU0L9U9eXzwndXJYHuKw==&cCode=Kw1L/ki8Bty1NXSsKLcMQA== (Requires login credentials or account creation)

About the ATC:
Nestled into the Cascade Mountains at the foot of a great stone wall, at the edge of the Wenatchee temperate rain forests on the north eastern outskirts of the enchanted Emerald City known as Seattle, WA, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church has nurtured the work of the Goddess since 1979. Founded by Rt. Rev. Pete “Pathfinder” Davis, the ATC has been a legal 501(c)3 non-profit Wiccan Church with a group exemption for 33 years. The world headquarters at the Mother Church is in Index, WA, with affiliated churches currently in multiple states and 7 countries, with plenty of room to grow.

Church Membership

givingChurch Membership

Since I joined this church over a decade ago, I have thought of myself as a member. When did I become a member? It was at my first Spring Mysteries seeing the Gods appear at Parade to the Sea. Tears started streaming down my face, and I knew that I had found my Wiccan family. It wasn’t about paying a membership or doing a certain service. It was about what happened in my heart when I saw the Great Work to which I could devote myself. It was my own decision that this was the family for whom I had been looking.

In the great struggle that all Wiccan institutions face of keeping the lights on and paying the bills, this church has been through many incarnations of membership and what it means. In this endeavor, I have learned something really important about membership to a church. It’s not about how much money you pay, or how often you attend, where you live, or even the people involved. It’s about how you feel about the work being done and your desire to be a part of that Great Work. It’s a commitment you make in your heart. It’s something that can’t be given or taken away.

Membership to a church is between you and your Gods.

So, we have reorganized the membership program, where we asked for you to offer $10 a month to the church. By making membership based on a flat $10 a month rate we have discouraged those that would give more from giving more, and caused those that found $10 a month to be a hardship to feel undervalued. It was another great attempt at solving a huge problem. It’s just not working.

Instead, what I am asking you now is to donate what you can to the Mother Church and her many affiliates and subsidiaries. There are so many hands doing the work of the Gods, and so few dollars to support this work. Most of our Priests and Priestesses have no other choice but to fund their ministry completely out of their own household budgets. The average Christian family donates $80 monthly to their church. With those kinds of donations we could create budgets that would allow us to host more open circles, and public temples, and in the future provide schools, women’s shelters and hospital ministries.

Let me introduce what I hope is a solution: a website that allows you to donate on a level that is comfortable for you. You can give easily online – a dollar now, and a dollar later, or a monthly donation that fits into your own personal budget. If all you can give is a few dollars here and there, then please consider that if everyone who reads this letter gives a few dollars here and there, we will have the funds to operate the church for another month. Give what you can, anything you can.

With a little financial planning you will be able to choose a monthly gift and work it into your budget. $5 or $10 dollars a month goes a long way when there are many people doing it. Larger donations go even further. Many of you support the church’s ministry, but don’t have time to serve. Instead, support those who do. Let those who do have time know how important their work is to you by giving financially, so that our generation of witches can do more for the Goddess and Her people.

Here’s the link: https://aquatabch.infellowship.com. If you’re not already signed up as a member, please do so. We need the information should you need the proof in the future (such as for taxes). This software makes it easy to received a tax letter, and allows you to choose to donate your money to several different ATC ministries. If your ATC Ministry isn’t listed and you would like it to be, please email me.

Guys, this transition has been difficult on all of us. The bank accounts are showing it. Please help us out. Thank you for your generosity, and thank you so much for being a member of this great family.

Artwork Submission

Acorns are the fruit of the Oak tree.
Mighty hardwood which is holy to many cultures.
As a seed it is unlimited in its potential, a symbol of wisdom and wealth.

Crown is for loyalty and service. Not only does royalty rule, they also serve the public and I found it a very apt association to ministry work.

The Laurel wreath (bay leaves) was often given to represent Wisdom and strength in ancient Greece and Rome.

The red rose is tied closely to the Goddess of Love

The antlers represent the God and his masculinity.

This piece really represents a lot of how I see my path as a student in the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary. Balance between the Goddess and God can be seen in the roses and antlers. Wisdom, potential and loyalty is represented by the other pieces. This is a piece to celebrate the new beginning I am finding myself participating in.

Take a moment and look for the symbols in your world, what design would you create and why?

ATC Family Tree – Alexandria Temple of Universal Metaphysics

Pangeryia magazine is doing a series of ongoing feature articles to spotlight all of the ATC affiliates and share with the world the work they are doing for the cities they live in and for Wicca and Paganism as a whole. The first in this series featured is the Alexandria Temple of Universal Metaphysics http://www.zyworld.com/atum/ located in Colorado. We hope this series of articles will inspire you to get involved in the work of Legal Wiccan organizations all over the country, and make us all aware of how large a movement we really are a part of.

Rev. Carridwen Brennan, President, and Rev. Martin Anthony, VP and CFO of the Alexandria Temple of Universal Metaphysics-ATC are our featured interviews and we are so pleased and honored that they have agreed to give us just a little bit of the “gift of their time.”

Hello, Rev. Carridwen Brennan and Rev. Martin Anthony, first I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer a few questions about the work of your Temple and your ministry so that others can know about the work that you do.

1. Where are you located in Colorado?
The Metro Denver area.

2. How long have you been a Legal Wiccan Temple?
We were incorporated on May 17, 2001

3. Why did you choose to become a Legal Wiccan Temple?
(Martin) We had been involved in prison ministry in a minor way since 1997, visiting one offender in the Federal prison in Littleton CO. and facilitating a program for the women’s prison in Denver for the Colorado Department of Corrections. But the demand for Wicca programs in prisons was expanding, and our commitment to the ministry increasing. Back in 2000, when we became volunteers for CDOC, there were 275 Wiccans incarcerated in CDOC, and there was only one other Wiccan volunteer. Because of specific CDOC regulations regarding “program providers”, it was easier to fulfill their requirements through incorporation as a church, so that we could increase the scope and number of programs we offered.
(Carri) This also led to our being able to become actual (volunteer) Chaplains. We are currently the only Wiccan/Pagan Prison Chaplains in this country.

4. What does it mean to you as a Pagan to be part of a legal Wiccan organization (the Aquarian Tabernacle Church), and how has it affected you and your congregation?
(Martin) We don’t really have a congregation. The focus of the Temple is in the prison ministry and the programs we provide. We do have volunteers associated with the Temple, but they are all fully trained, fully qualified Wiccan priestesses and priests. Being a legally recognized church gives us credibility and authority when dealing the various correctional departments and bureaucracies that we interact with. They are more likely to take us seriously, and respect our opinions because of it. Also, it has been helpful in our fundraising. The ministry is expensive, and support from the community is essential. Several community members make regular donations to us through payroll deductions through the Mile High United Way. Because we are a recognized non-profit, it makes it possible to do that. We also qualify to submit grant applications to the United Way and other organizations, which we have done. Even so, maintaining the level of service we offer is difficult at times, and cash flow is always a concern.
(Carri) In 2002 we were invited by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide an in-service training on Wicca/Paganism for all Federal Chaplains, largely due to our Church status.

5. Can you tell us a little about your path?
(Martin) Both Carridwen and I were trained as Gardnerians, third degree, but we practice an eclectic Wicca, writing our own stuff and using ideas that we like. We encourage groups in prison to be eclectic. Because of various restrictions, strict Gardnerian practice won’t happen in prisons, and a mix of Gardnerian-type practices is most convenient. Spiritual experimentation can be an important part of spiritual seeking, finding what builds connections.

6. Does your Temple have a particular path it practices or is it eclectic?
(Martin) Eclectic.

7. Where do you worship, and how often?
(Martin) lol; I worship every day.
(Carri) [me too!] We are regularly invited to be guest officiants at several of the Open Circles in the metro Denver area, for the full and dark moons. When our prison programs coincide with a Holy Day, we will worship with an inmate group. When we first became volunteers for CDOC we did that more often, as the groups were only permitted to meet and worship if a volunteer was present. Now, inmate groups in Colorado are allowed to gather and worship on all the Full Moons and the Sabbats, so there is less of a need for us to do that.

8. How many members do you have in your Temple?
(Martin) That depends on what you mean. We serve dozens of inmates personally in Colorado, and dozens, perhaps hundreds, more around the nation, through the mail, and through book donations to prison libraries and inmate groups. There are currently 510 North West European Pagans (Wiccans and Druids) incarcerated in the CDOC, and we have met Wiccans on staff at every facility that we have visited. Carri answers about 10 letters every week that we receive from interested inmates and staff all around the country. Carri & I and other volunteers offer regular Wiccan programs in 12 prisons in Colorado, both state and Federal, and I answer requests for Wiccan clergy regularly in 2 county jails. We are available to answer requests from any prison or jail in Colorado, and we, or our volunteers, have been to every prison, and to jails in 8 counties, in Colorado. But as far as having “members,” when people ask if they can join our coven, we tell them first, you have to commit a felony.

9. How many Clergy do you have working in and for your Temple?
(Martin) Including Carridwen and myself, we have three priestesses and two priests that facilitate Wiccan programs in prisons. We have two associates that correspond with inmates as spiritual mentors, helping to guide them on the path. We have 6 volunteers who facilitate a Healing From Rape program in the women’s prison. CDOC Mental Health professionals have told us that as many as 90% of incarcerated women have been molested or raped, yet they offer no specialized program to help them heal and recover from that violation and abuse. It has a horrible effect on their lives, and contributes to the addictions and other dysfunctional behaviors that got them incarcerated. Most women in prison have been victimized numerous times. Rehabilitation and successful re-entry depends on those needs and issues being addressed.

10. How did you choose “Prison Ministry” as your “mission” for your Temple?
(Martin) The Goddess tapped us on the shoulder and said, “I need a couple of volunteers.” Back in 1997, Carri was working at a local metaphysical store. The store-owner got a call from the chaplain at the Federal prison in Littleton, FCI Englewood. The chaplain was looking for Wiccan clergy to come talk to an offender who was filing his third stage grievance (preparing to sue) to get Wiccan clergy. The chaplain called several stores. Carri was the only one who returned his call. From there, it just kind of snowballed.
(Carri) We had met Pete at Spring Mysteries in the early ‘90’s. He told us about his prison ministry. Who knew that was going to lead to this?

11. Could you give us a little idea of what a “typical day” would mean for you as Clergy in the Prison Ministry?
(Martin) There really isn’t a typical day, because our chaplain duties are so varied. As Wicca program providers, we have a regular schedule, visiting prisons, meeting with groups (in 7 prisons) of Wiccan inmates, teaching, talking about the faith, answering questions, offering suggestions about their group and personal practice. As staff chaplains at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility and the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, we are available for a much wider variety of duties. We answer requests for spiritual counsel for any inmate who requests. We actually get many requests from Christians and people with no preference wanting to speak to us. We do use some non-traditional methods for our counseling, like tarot, runes and astrology. We have done tarot readings for some staff members as well. We are on call to deliver Emergency Notifications to inmates, telling them about family deaths, serious illnesses, or other emergencies, and doing counseling with them around their grief about that. I’ve done dozens of E-Ns, averaging several each month, although I once did five death notifications in one day. On several occasions, maybe a dozen times, I’ve gone to the infirmary at DRDC to counsel inmates who were in a terminal condition with serious illnesses, and counseled or prayed about their end of life issues. We talk to inmates about the various programs we offer; Wicca; Meditation; and the Healing from Rape program. We schedule and facilitate those. I go to the segregation unit when requested and yell at people through their steel doors. I visit the “special needs” mental health unit. We have meetings every month with the other volunteer chaplains and our staff supervisors to touch base, share ideas, let everyone know what we’re doing and how things are going, and to stay apprised of changes in policy and scheduling. And every month we have to do reports and time sheets on everything we’ve done. I average about 50 hours each month in prisons, and another 20 or so traveling to prisons. Even though we are unpaid volunteers, the Department tracks our time for accounting purposes and to put a value on our work in reports to the state legislature. CDOC doesn’t pay any chaplains, but most of them get a salary from their church or denomination, and/or from fundamentalist organizations, like Prison Fellowship or Good News Jail and Prison Ministries.

12. Do you offer a training program to those that are interested in your “Temple path” or “Prison Ministry” there at your Temple?
(Carri) People who volunteer to help with our various programs must take CDOC training. Frequently Martin will attend with first timers, to help them be more comfortable.
(Martin) We suggest a couple of books to people who are interested in doing this. They are; Games Criminals Play by Bud Allan and Diane Bosta,; and A Society of Captives by Gresham Sykes. These will help people stay safe in a correctional environment, and give them a good understanding of the culture they are entering. It really is an alien environment, and going in with that understanding can help the adjustment. Also, when I say “stay safe”, I mean, not be manipulated by an inmate con game. I’ve been going into prisons for 17 years, and I have never, ever, felt physically threatened or intimidated. Inmates value the volunteers, and the programs we provide. There have been inmates who disagreed with what we were saying, and who walked out of the program, but they were always polite. They thanked us for being there on the way out the door. An inmate who threatened or hassled a volunteer, and got a program cancelled, would face a harsh and swift inmate justice.

13. Do you mind sharing what we the Pagans, and Wiccans, and other ATC affiliates could do to assist you in your ministry?
(Carri) In our ministry specifically, we need donated books for sending into prison libraries. Also, cash is always good. And more volunteers.
(Martin) No matter where you are, you are close to a prison or jail. They all have Wiccans in them, and the Wiccans need outside support, someone knowledgeable about the faith, to teach/guide them, and to help explain it to the administration. If there are people in your area already doing this work, they need money and help also.

14. Is there anything you would like to say or share to the rest of the ATC Pagans and Wiccans reading this article as a leader, elder, and Clergy in our community?
(Carri) Ex-felons are living in your community now. They are released every day. If they don’t come out better than when they went in, they come out worse. Please consider volunteering with them (in some fashion) in your locale.
(Martin) One of the things we have noticed; an important part of what we do is just being public Wiccans; people engaged and committed in helping others, and working to make society better. It helps to demystify the faith to those not familiar with it, and over time goes a long way in reducing antagonism and hostility. Our being open has given other Pagans the confidence to also be open about their faith. Society takes us seriously, and treats us as part of the team, when we take ourselves seriously, and work like a team member.

Book Review: Northern Magic

Northern Magic, Rune Mysteries and Shamanism, by Edred Thorsson is a treat of an introduction to magickal systems in the Germanic tradition. Thorsson gives a brief yet satisfyingly comprehensive introduction to Troth, cosmology and the Gods and Goddesses of the Northern Way before getting right down to the magick. Three forms are discussed, perhaps the most familiar being Rune magick and with a focus on the Younger Futhark. Galdor magick is covered, a magickal form in which designs are drawn or carved with intent to affect a change- the design involved ranges from the simple to the very elaborate. Seith or ‘Germanic Shamanism’ is also gone over, which focuses on intuitive magick and trancework to gain knowledge. Each of these forms is presented with a history and explanation. Thorsson completes his work with a further discussion and history of the Germanic traditions from Christianisation to the present, beginning in 1100 C.E, and an inspiring yet cautious vision for the future. He provided additional resources in a series of appendices for the interested magician and a helpful glossary of terms for those new to Germanic studies.

This title is unique in that its author specifically focuses on the magickal traditions of the Germanic path, something that seems little known or discussed outside of the community. Much of The Troth is much more concerned with honoring the land and its people, with the magick left to practitioners outside the usual realm of hearth and home and everyday practice. This overview of magickal traditions is something I’ve found lacking in other introductory books on the Germanic traditions.

I found Northern Magic particularly intriguing to my personal path in the ADF, which is becoming more Pan-Indo-European over time, as I learn more about these related cultural traditions. I’m currently expanding my knowledge of the Germanic path, which has great personal importance to me. After reading this book and making an ongoing study of the magickal forms within, together with my study of the lore surrounding the tradition, I can say that it has much improved my understanding of the Germanic traditions. I would highly recommend Northern Magic and the author to anyone interested in Germanic roots, The Troth, Ceremonial Magic or a history of any of these. It makes a quick and easy read through a thorough introduction.


First image retrieved from Amazon.

Mental and Emotional Balance

Mental and emotional balance is one of the most elusive yet desired states of being for humans. No other lifeforms on this planet have difficulty obtaining this state of being. One could say that this is due to the makeup of the finned, furred, feathered, or crawly members of our world. All that being said, humans, due to their own makeup, are constantly striving for what will bring them mental and emotional balance. Each human has three aspects that are constantly working together or in opposition to each other. These are the Physical, the Mental, and the Spiritual.

The Physical

In most spiritual and energetic healing disciplines it is well known that dis-ease is a reflection of a disconnection between the energetic source of our selves and our physical body. Western medicine admits that some physical symptoms are a sign of “mental” issues. An individual that suffers from chronic stomach issues may be over stressed at work or at home and is manifesting an excess of stomach acid that is resulting in gas pains and problems voiding wastes. If it gets serious enough the walls of the stomach may erode and produce an ulcer or laceration in the stomach. A western doctor will prescribe a medication that neutralizes this acid and hence take away the symptoms. A shamanic practitioner asks, “What is causing the person to stress?” This is similar to the western psychologist’s view except that the shaman is looking at the situation (w)holistically and knows that there is indeed a physical component to this particular dis-ease and looks to treat the entire framework.

In the situation of stomach gas, the shaman will spend time with the patient talking about the work and home situation and help to understand the root causes of the physical manifestation, they may use journey cards or perform an actual journey to the Otherworld to speak to the guides, helpers, and others who have information for the particular information. Once this is complete, they will return, help the patient to understand the root cause and facilitate a self healing. In this way the dis-ease goes away and allows for ease.

The Mind

The mind, like the brain, has two parts. Where the brain has a creative, subconscious side and a conscious side; the mind has an emotional and cognitive side. These two sides are called bodies, though they have no physical form. The emotional body is shaped by our life experiences, hopes, fears, and desires. When one has suffered the loss of a loved one, the mind through the grieving process may determine that to love another is not possible and convince the body. The person may be fine for a while, but then, after a time begin to feel cut off from the world and manifest depression, anxiety, and a disconnection from the world. When a person suffers an automobile accident they may be “afraid” to drive for a while, and be very cautious even if they do get in an automobile again. Even seemingly less traumatic experiences, determining to end a marriage or leave home for the first time may lead an individual to make choices that are good and yet for the wrong reasons.

The Spirit

The spirit is whatever we hold as divine. Whether it is a deity, universal consciousness, nature, or even some indefinable something that you do not actually touch. For our purposes it is that which we use to integrate how we see the world and how we act in the world or our guide to manifesting our own reality. Our spirit is the consensus builder that allows us to move together all our access

The Integration

As we see, if we respect the body, mind and spirit then most of our decisions will be more informed, and help us to lead fuller and happier lives. This is called the integration of the three.

Mental Balance

For our purposes we will define the mind as the collective aspects of intellect and consciousness and balance as a desirable point between two or more opposite forces. So, by combining these two terms we come to the definition of mental balance: a desirable point within the collective aspects of intellect and consciousness. Using this as the starting point we see that mental balance is the balance point between intellect (cognitive) and consciousness (emotional and spiritual). As humans, our intellect is influenced by our society, friends, desires, and hopes. These influences help us to create our own worldview and how we perceive the world around us and also ourselves. If we give too much credence to others as determining our state of balance, then we can set ourselves up for a life of imbalance, and dissatisfaction with ourselves and our place in the world.

Personally, it was only after years of struggle, that I shook off what my peers, society, and family knew what was best for me and what I knew was the perfect balance between my intellect and my consciousness. Once, this was obtained, I became a balanced individual.

Now being balanced does not mean you are unemotional or unflappable. Yet, you will be more able to choose and understand what and who you are, where you are in the world at large, and be accepting and happy with the gifts you utilize, the outcome of that usage, and have little care for how others perceive it.

I exist, and follow the societies rules, mores, and norms without compromising what I have built to define ME, Alfred Willowhawk.

Emotional Balance

So, how does emotion fit in? Emotion is your friend and enemy. Wait. I don’t mean that we become UN-emotional. That would be a horrible way to be balanced. As before, let us examine what the dictionary says about emotion. Emotion can be defined as a mental and physiological state associated with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Emotions are subjective experiences, or experienced from an individual point of view. Emotion is often associated with mood, temperament, personality, and disposition. People often behave in certain ways as a direct result of their emotional state, such as crying, fighting or fleeing.

The key here, is that emotion is subjective. This means that it is affected by the world around us. This includes, society and people. Think on how you respond to the driver that cuts you off on the highway. Does this person really hear you if you are wont to give them a gesture or honk your horn? Could it be that they really didn’t see you due to their own emotional or mental state? How about when a spouse or significant other says something that “sends you over the edge”? Do they actually reach into you and do something or is it your own emotional state that allows you to respond in a certain way?

Notice again in the definition above that behavior is a direct result of emotional state. In reaching and working toward mental and emotional balance one controls one’s OWN behavior through self examination, and the ability to think objectively about ones own responses and turn them into ACTIONS instead of REactions.

Mental and Emotional Balance

Therefore, as one finds the “perfect” path for oneself, whether it be traditional psychotherapy, spiritual coaching or counseling, or connection with the divine within oneself, a person can become more mentally and emotionally balanced.

THIS way, you can be all you can be.

First image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

Oneness and Agape Love

What is Oneness?

Oneness is the interconnectedness of all living things. According to Onenessusa.org, oneness can be worked out in their mission: Oneness of All Humanity through Music, Arts and Education. Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines oneness as: the doctrine of divine simplicity, meaning God is without parts. In Kabbalah, oneness is absolute unity between creator and created.

In the metaphysical community oneness is the concept of Universal Consciousness, and in the neo-pagan community it is the combination of all that is as manifest in the spiritual, and physical world.

These concepts can be simplified to one simple statement, Everything is connected, and affects and is affected by everything else.

What is Agape Love?

Again according to Webster-Merriam Dictionary, it is represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. A title of the goddess Isis was agapeh theon, or “beloved/darling of the gods”. This concept implies a genuine affection and deep love. It has been extended to mean the love of humanity for god and the love of god for humanity.

In the New Testament it states that God is Love. For most neo-pagans, LOVE is caring and love of all of creation. This is one of the primary tenants of most neo-pagan, Wicca, and Heathen paths.

To demonstrate Agape Love, one then must respect and honor oneself, other humans, and all creation. Therefore, when one practices Green Economics, one is showing Agape love for the natural world. It can be demonstrated by caring for the sick, giving a meal or a coat to a homeless person, feeding neighborhood animals, cleaning up a park or any other active action that one does for the benefit of another.

Oneness as a result of Agape Love

Compassion or charity for another being whether human or otherwise allows one to “feel” good about themselves. It brings about a balanced state of being that can be extended to every aspect of one’s life. All the meditation and self-realization techniques in the world will not produce their desired results without walking the walk.

Try it, go to your neighborhood park and spend a few hours picking up trash and disposing of it correctly. See how your balance returns. Go to your neighborhood food pantry and work for a few hours, or to the local soup kitchen and see the happy faces all around you while you work.

These things are not just the purvey of the religious. It belongs to all of us.

Once last spring, I noticed a pair of grackles and a young robin pecking in a neighbor’s yard for food. The young robin “assumed the position” of a baby bird, wings outstretched, neck outstretched, mouth wide open. To my pleasant surprise, the nearest grackle picked up a piece of food and put it in the mouth of the robin!

I remember thinking that the grackle didn’t care that it wasn’t his child, only that it was hungry, even though it was a different “race”. We humans can learn something from brother bird. For me this shows that oneness and agape love are in everything in creation.

How to find the Oneness in all things

Meditation or prayer is one key. The kind of prayer that doesn’t ask for anything, just sitting in the presence of whatever is divine for you. When one meditates this is also a type of prayer. Sit under a tree, a river, a stream, walk a trail, commune with Nature. Open yourself to feel the world around you. Get out of the house and away from your cell phone, Nintendo, computer, open yourself to be ONE with all creation.

Volunteer at a local food pantry, or soup kitchen, connect with people that you do not usually associate with as friends. Smile at someone on the street, you may be surprised, they may just smile back.

Be a SPIRITUAL being and part of the solution. Create Oneness for yourself and you will find that more of creation is with you than against you.

Goddess Fest 20th Anniversary Banner Contest

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Goddess Fest, a two-day event put on by Golden Thread Grove Church-ATC and sponsored by Crone’s Cupboard, will be in Boise, Idaho July 26th & 27th. Goddess Fest is also supported by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church and Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing. Goddess Fest is free to attend, with lots of fun and informative activities!

In honor of the 20th anniversary, Goddess Fest is establishing a “Show Your Pagan Pride Banner Wall” and inviting all groups to fly a banner celebrating their particular tradition of alternative religion. There is no cost for hanging the banner, beside the production of the banner itself.

Five judges will choose the best banners and award prizes of $75 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place.

CLICK HERE or on the link below for more information on the banner contest, how to enter the banner contest and the rules and guides.

GF2014BannerContest