The Pagan World Exists Beyond Cascadia

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Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Dusty Dionne
Original Post at:

It was a hot, sunny, muggy day in Missouri at St. Louis Pagan Picnic 2015. I sat back in my chair in the shade with a little paper fan trying to keep cool, staring at the people walking by from behind my sunglasses. A woman came up, and Dusty stood up and started telling her about everything the ATC does, just as we had all been doing to anyone who stopped at our booth. He finished, and she stood there silent for a second before putting her hand up to her mouth. “I have been searching for you for so long,” she said, as her eyes started to well with tears, looking at each and every one of us.Brenna, Adrianna Iris Boatwright, Bella and Dusty

It was then I realized just how insular my Pagan world had become. He didn’t have to care. He didn’t have to stand up again in the 100+ degree heat, thousands of miles from home, to help this woman. He could have chosen any other, more fun, and less stressful ways to spend this summer day. I was wishing we were spending the summer day in some other way, until this moment brought it all into focus. Watching Dusty change that woman’s life, with a few words that he had repeated possibly one hundred times that day, touched me deeply and reignited my passion for the work we do at the church.

I became Pagan because I wanted to connect with the earth, connect with those who care for it, and to those who feel that connection to the Gods and honor them. I wanted to help people and make a difference. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of that and began getting lost in all the details of my personal journey with the divine. This trip made me step back and allowed me to see all of those little details pieced together. I was able to see just what the ATC really does for the Pagan community beyond my world in Seattle.

The things we do at the ATC matter. Those of us who have lived secluded away from the rest of community get all caught up in our personal experience of Spring Mysteries – or the next Sabbat or whatever might be the current drama. But there are people all over the world who seriously benefit from the hard work we do every day; most of us can’t see over the mountains and are oblivious to it. So many times I have caught myself saying “I have a silly job. Managing Facebook groups and events? Really? I feel like I should be doing something more important.” I bet a lot of people have thought that what they do is just not “important enough.” But each individual is needed to make the wheel turn. No one would show up to our events if I didn’t make and publicize them – in fact, we notice the difference when I don’t post about the events and make sure people hear about Brenna and Greg Vencethem. People can talk on our Facebook groups and look to them for news, advice, comfort and camaraderie. It’s not a silly job. In fact it’s vital to our ministry being successful. That awareness makes my heart smile.

I met many amazing, talented and wise people on my trip to the Southeast U.S. I met many of Bella’s Students in Georgia, previous and current. I met teachers I had from Wiccan Seminary – Anastacia Laveau and Talyn Songdog – Alfred Willowhawk as well, but we’ve met several times now. I met Greg Vence, a 3rd Degree York Rite Mason, 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Neophyte (0=0) in The Golden Dawn. I met Grandmother Elspeth, a greatly respected elder in the Pagan community on the East Coast. I met Adrianna Iris Boatwright, Photographer and establisher of Savannah Pagan Pride. I also met Don Lewis, who is the Chancellor of the Correllian Nativist Tradition.

All of these people know who the ATC is, they appreciate the things we do and want to work with us to make a difference in the world. Don Lewis wants teachers from Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary to teach at Witch School. Grandmother Elspeth taught a workshop at St. Louis Pagan Picnic that taught the same mysteries of the Goddess I have learned in Seminary and from revelations at Spring Mysteries Festival. We are all connected and have such amazing opportunities. Yet, I had been so secluded and caught up in my own life, that I didn’t realize the opportunities that the Mother church creates for us. We have the Bella, Brenna, Daniel Cox, and Anastacia LaVeauability to help a world that needs our care if we would only take advantage of these opportunities.

The Pagan community is so much bigger than I ever imagined. Everything we do has an impact on all Pagans across the world. Pete “Pathfinder” Davis deciding he wanted a legally-recognized Wiccan church changed Wiccan history. Leading a ritual for Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary could change someone’s life across the world. Managing a table at Pagan festival can bring someone to tears because of the joy they feel from finding their spiritual home. I met people who knew me that I did not ColorATCLogo-Croppedknow. I met people, whom I had directly impacted with my ministering that cherish my existence on the planet, whom I never knew I touched. That’s powerful. I make a real difference in someone’s life – that feels good!

Everything we do and everything we say impacts our community and the larger community, which is so much bigger and beyond us that we cannot fathom it. Our choices, what we do with our time each day, whether we help, hurt, or are indifferent to the work we do at the Mother Church directly impacts the whole world of Paganism. I’m so grateful to have been able to travel and gain the perspective of seeing over the mountains, and realizing that what we do here at the Mother Church has an impact much further than I could see, much deeper than I could understand, and much more important that I could have possibly realized.

All of us, who share in this work, make a difference. A big one. Whether it’s filing away a bill, sweeping a floor, or directing a festival, we all make it possible for the church to carry on Its ministry. Thanks for sharing in the responsibility of carrying the load that spiritually protects and feeds the children of the Goddess worldwide.

Etsy Ends its Witch Hunt

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Author: Dusty Dionne
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It was a sad day shortly following Beltane when the witch hunts began. Beltaine was coming to a close and one by one innocent children of the craft found their livelihoods taken away from them. They came for the poppets. They came for the potpourri. They came for the spells. And they came for the charms. Like ten pins the practitioners of the Etsy community saw their items fall off of the site, now deemed as being against TOS.

The new terms read “any metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome”  would be no longer allowed. This very clearly targeted the Pagan community in its wording.

The Washington Post reported:

““Many have told me their shops are being closed without so much as notice,” said Etsy-seller Ashley Coulton, who is petitioning Etsy to rethink the policy clarification. “I do worry about the effect this will have on my business … I do believe the actions of Etsy are in fact, discriminatory toward Wiccan and Pagan faiths.””

Newsweek said:

“some people have alleged that Etsy’s ban is simply part of a larger religious discrimination existing against people identifying as witches, pagans and Wiccans of faith, noting that some items having to do with prayer, such as rosaries, are still allowed.”

And blogger called the situation The Great Etsy Witch Hunt of 2015″

It was far from lost on the people that Etsy had created a roadblock that effected one single class of people. Or so they thought. Etsy is not only filled with people with sachets of love powders, they are also filled with prayers and saints. Both items that, “promise or suggest it will effect a physical change, or other outcome”

Etsy had painted itself into a corner.

The Aquarian Tabernacle Church let out a series of tweets addressing Etsy directly:

@EtsyHelp Just making sure your ban on #metaphysical items are also going to cover anything with #Christian #prayers written on them.

— ATC Wicca (@ATCWicca) June 22, 2015

@EtsyHelp You see, prayers “offer a physical change [..] or other outcome” and those are against your new ToS. — ATC Wicca (@ATCWicca) June 22, 2015

@EtsyHelp We would hate for you to be viewed as targeting the #Pagan community. Our people will be pouring over @Etsy to report any we find.

— ATC Wicca (@ATCWicca) June 22, 2015

Like Salem before it, Etsy had let the energy of their persecution get away from them. And it was on the world stage. Everyone saw this poor decision from what used to be everyone’s favorite little craft site. That leads us to today. A new email with a similar title to the debacle of the past summer showed up in the inbox of Etsy users: “Important Terms & Policies Updates from Etsy.”

Only this time things were different. They had set up a new TOS called “Our House Rules.” This was no corporate drafted press release. Upon inspection, things looked rather crafty and homey. Hobby Lobby, American Pie, and Summer all rolled into one. Nothing scary here. Just some new information for you to mull over during the picnic.

Clicking the link to “Sellers” was a scary option. Was it going to be the same? Was it going to reinforce the demolition of the incomes of all of the witchy merchants who had been left high and dry? Or would it soothe the hurts that it had earlier caused, much like the pleasant aura that the web page suggested?

After carefully scanning through the Sellers page you notice it. Not at the top, not at the bottom, but mixed into the middle. Not trying to be overt in any way: “Prohibited Items Policy” The next click would speak volumes on whether the voices of the people had been heard by the ears of the owners of Etsy. 

It was no longer there.

Scan after scan confirmed it. Nowhere in the new info did it ban metaphysical items. Not a word about items that promised to effect change.

Something had made it through. Something that someone had done, maybe what everyone had done as a community had resonated within the halls of Etsy, Inc. and helped them hear. It was bigger than the Pagans. It effected people all over the world who had learned to rely on this charming little e-commerce site to be the wonderful bazaar that they knew it to be: A loving little community of nuts who all want to share their arts.

And so it was. The world had been set back to its peaceful course. Like the witch hunts of Salem, they were finally over. Unlike the witch hunts of Salem, the lives that Etsy had burned, can now rise from the ashes, like a phoenix.

A phoenix that you can now invoke the assistance of with your new Phoenix Rising spell candle from BlackCatWitchery.

Only on Etsy.com 

 

Walking the Line

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Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Misty Talen
Original Post at:

I was talking to my mate the other night and was surprised to hear what could be called resentment.  I am a Sophomore Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary and recently Dedicated to the Lady Belladonna Laveau. I work on the school’s class calendar and I am the Herald for the Mother Church in Index, WA. This is a lot on anyone’s plate, but a service I am honored to provide.

I am also a woman, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sibling.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:William_Elsasser,_of_the_Elsasser_Bakery,_Family_Home_at_2706_South_18th_Street,_Omaha,_Nebraska.jpg

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:William_Elsasser,_of_the_Elsasser_Bakery,_Family_Home_at_2706_South_18th_Street,_Omaha,_Nebraska.jpg

When one dives into the metaphysical and explores their spirituality, it is unsurprising that those around you in your family may occasionally feel abandoned or left behind by this new found focus in your life. Perhaps you have always been seen as a casual practitioner. Perhaps everything is brand new and you are seeing the world around you in new colors, truths, strengths and blessings! Your loved ones get to watch as you purse this internal passion and dive deeper into who you are and the world around you on an unseen level. This can leave our loved ones feeling awkward, unwelcome or bewildered by our choices.

Spirituality, I believe, by it’s very nature encourages a global mindset that makes it very easy to volunteer to do more. Someone needs supplies, you can do that! Someone needs help with repairing a fence,  you CAN do that!  This helpful attitude while commendable can sometimes when practiced out of balance, lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

When someone from your circle, class or teacher reaches out to you, how fast do you respond? How cheerful is your voice? What do you drop to come to the aid of another person in need?

All these things, depending on your situation and attitude can lead to loved ones feeling abandoned. We don’t want that.

We LOVE our families, our wives, our husbands, our children, our homes.  The practical, physical nature of these relationships is essential to any human and especially to a witch.  Ground, Ground, Ground!  No matter what path you walk almost all of them teach the importance of staying connected to the Earth while we explore our Spiritual Reality.  There is no greater tool than being able to come back to Earth because guess what? We choose to incarnate here!

If you find you have left your loved ones a step or two behind, do not hesitate to slow down and wait for them to catch up.  You can always walk a few steps back and spend time with them! We are after all magical creatures and time and distance are no obstacles!

Love is the Law

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Cosmic_Hearth.jpg

I urge you all to make special dates with your loves and show every day appreciation to the extraordinary gifts they have given you. Patience for this new path you walk, Love when it frustrates us, Admiration when they see our growth, Contentment when we have been successful in a battle of wills they may never see.

A kiss, a touch, a shared moment is well worth any riches and even when the family we have chosen is practical, and not magical – it is no less sacred in our eyes. However, we may occasionally forget to express it.

So my message today is one of love. Not only for the Great Spirit, Gaia, Goddess and God – but for our mates, our children, family, friends who are every bit as important as our sisters and brothers and teachers on this Spiral Path. Honor them as you honor your path, because they are your path. The point of a spiritual practice is to enhance our physical experience. When we walk in balance between the physical and the spiritual, I believe we are at our greatest power to manifest the world we desire.

Happy Litha – Update on the Affairs of the ATC

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Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Belladonna Laveau
Original Post at:

Happy LithaDusty and I are on the last leg of our trip, and celebrating our 11th Anniversary together.  One more great festival this weekend, Michigan Pagan Festival, and we’ll be headed west.  We’ll be home by July 6th.  We’ve had some wonderful times out here connecting with you.  Thank you for taking Dusty, Honeybear, and me into your hearts, homes, and circles.  The Church has accomplished much this year. We at the Mother Church are excited about all the new developments and opportunities coming up.

 

The ATC just purchased the property next door to the Tab.  Pete owned this property in the early days of the ATC, but lost it in a divorce.  It went on sale about 3 years ago for around $130,000.  We purchased it on June 22, for $42,500, about a third of it’s asking price.  Thank you Benni Sack for all your tireless work on that very important project.

 

You might have heard that we received a building grant.  This grant donationagives us building materials to repair and build onto our beautiful church, as well as to help needy families.  As we have materials available, we’ll be looking to share them. Watch on the ATC Mother Church Facebook page for announcements about  available building materials.  In a short couple of months, we have been gifted with a stained glass front door, a lawn mower, a porcelain kitchen sink, and enough decking to replace the back deck.  We are very blessed and grateful to receive these donations, and will keep you posted as this develops.  We have also helped other affiliates obtain this and other grants, to help their own neighborhoods.  If you have an affiliate, and you’re interested in these donations, contact us at the Mother Church, and we’ll help get your church set up.

 

The Tab is becoming a working monastery now, and with the expansion of land, we will have room for additional students and clergy to live and work at the Mother Church. Rodney, Tatiana, and the Green Man Guild are building apartments and rooms in case you want to live at, or have overnight visits to the Mother Church. Alternatively, you could come and be a part of the magical community that is growing in Index, by purchasing or renting one of the beautiful cottages available in our secluded paradise on the Skykomish River.

 

We lost the old hot tub in March, during a storm.  It was old, and starting to give us trouble, so this was a blessing.  The insurance claim has been approved for a new tub to be installed.  The new hot tub has a salt water system (healthier than chlorine) and has colored chakra lights, which will enhance our ability to use the tub for spiritual and healing purposes.  It will also be much more cost effective to run and use considerably less chemicals.

 

Aphrodite ShrineWhen we get the new tub ready, we’ll let you know about the ceremony for dedicating the new Aphrodite Temple that we are designing in the back yard. Rodney and the Green Man Guild have been hard at work preparing the new Temple.  If you’d like to help with this project, please know that all are welcome at Green Man Events.

 

Speaking of the Green Man Guild, this is the time to come and bond with the Members of the Church in the daily chores and maintenance of the Lord and Ladies’ sacred home.  Bring Drums, dancing gear, coolers with snacks, and expect us to feed you a nice dinner to express our gratitude for a hard days work.  Then stay into the evening and lets drum, dance, spin fire, and immerse ourselves in Pagan fun.

 

In the process of getting the loan for the property next door, we discovered that Pete did not have liability insurance on our church or any insurance on the contents of the church.  The new insurance policy is a commercial policy and costs $1896/00 a year, about 4 times as much as what we currently pay.  Fortunately, a couple of months ago, I found a car insurance policy for the church vehicles that’s about 1/4th of what we were paying, so it sort of evens out.  But, at least we’re covered now.

 

We are selling ATC Merchandise and doing readings on the road to offset the cost of visiting the affiliates and sharing Pete’s vision with the world.  We’ve signed several new affiliates this year, and it has been wonderful to meet them face to face.  We’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with many beloved friends over the course of this trip, and watch doors open, as the ATC reaches out to work with our neighbors. We can do so much more when we work together.  By being present at the gatherings across the country, we get the face time needed to fully manifest the Will of the Goddess.

 

We are also doing a once a month psychic fair at Metaphysical marketplace in downtown Seattle that is starting to make money.  We are adding ATC products to the online store and live vending booths.  If you have products that are specific to our magical ministry, i.e. magical tools, etc, that you want us to include in our booths and online store, contact Dawn Darkness at the Tab 360-793-1945

 

We fully enjoyed our visit with Selena Fox this spring at festival. HSF 2015 Oberon Zell from  Church of All Worlds is confirmed to attend Spring Mysteries Festival 2016.  Don Lewis of the Correlians, is confirmed for the following year.  We are honored to be able to bring these elders to our historic festival.  They are excited to attend, and finally get to participate in our magic, and well as share theirs.  Registration for Hekate’s Sickle is up.  This year we will be focused on “Getting the Sight”.  Rituals will be focused on divination, tarot, and opening your psychic powers, while the veil is thin..

 

We have developed an online virtual circle that is worldwide, called Sacred Cauldron.  We invite you to join us throughout the week for Wiccan rituals, activities, and discussion.  This circle is run by the students of WiccanSeminary.EDU, and is bringing students together across the world to serve and bring the Goddess into your home.  We hope you come to Sacred Cauldron on SecondLife.com, and see what we’re doing there.

 

truckWe were gifted with a good, dependable truck, to haul the new building supplies, and we are so grateful to have it.  Now, we do not have to scramble for a volunteer to go pick up the supplies that we are given.  Thank you to Darrell Delph and the Olympian Evergreen Pagans for this much needed donation.

 

Lammas is coming up at the beginning of August.  You will want to attend the Lammas Monologues.  Please come and present or enjoy the dramatic parade of deity.  Those who want to be a part of Hekate’s Sickle and Spring Mysteries Ritual Cast are asked to invoke and share a Godform with us.  It’s an amazing event.  You never know what creative presentation might come forth magically. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Now that we have accomplished so much, the doors are open for new opportunity.  I invite you to jump in where you can and be a part of the great work we are doing here.  Whether it’s swinging a hammer, cooking a meal, coming to a Green Man day, sending in a financial contribution, helping with websites, joining in on a craft day, or just clicking like on Facebook, you can help be a part of the Goddess’ Ministry.

Today’s Tarot: Seven of Pentacles

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Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Misty Talen
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Today I was looking through my deck, searching for the most salient factor for consideration.  Up came the Seven of Pentacles and it could not be more fitting for me personally.

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Mythic Tarot

Here we see a figure – to his right stands a pillar with six pentacles, one hand rests gently on it. To his left stands a woman offering a single coin and standing behind her is a white cow.  You can almost feel the man’s conflict…does he reach for what she is offering or does he stay with what he has?

Opportunity looms on the horizon and this card represents our responsibility to consider carefully the choices before us.

Our prosperity is tied to what we put into it, i.e. we reap what we sow. This figure we see facing us has put a great deal into his prosperity. Its health and fruitfulness is directly tied to this effort. However, there is another avenue of growth to be explored. What gets us every time is indecision and inertia.  As this man holds his position, uncertainty turns to inaction, inertia and disassociation.

There is a school of thought that states when we are faced with a choice or not making any choice, that somehow inaction clears us of responsibility when we don’t know which action to take.  However, there is another school of thought, more accurate I feel, that indicates inaction is still a choice and one we have to be prepared to take responsibility for.

Inertia can strike in many ways. The one i talk about here is that you may find yourself unable to change the path you find yourself walking and proceed ever forward into the same spot on the proverbial wall time and time again.

When something no longer moves in any direction, then there is no opportunity for growth.

Careful consideration and close examination of all the options will see one through this challenging time. Beware of inaction and commit yourself to the path you choose once the choice has been made. Fruitful prosperity is still possible but only if forward momentum is maintained.

New Ásatrú Temple

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Author: Dove
Original Post at:

In 1000 C.E.Iceland converted to Christianity as a nation. Leaving Sweden to be the last hold out to the ancient faith until the year 1085 C.E. Now for the first time in over 1000 years a temple to those ancient Gods has been built, the first Ásatrú temple.

Ásatrú (Belief in the Gods) is based off of the surviving historical record. The Ásatrúarfélagith (Icelandic Ásatrú Society) was founded in 1972 by Sveinbjörn Beintersson. It was originally called Vorsithur (our custom). Iceland is 80 percent Lutheran with another 5 percent of the population identifying as Christian. Ásatrú is the largest non-Christian religious group and is the fastest growing religion in the country.

One of the reasons Norse Paganism was able to stay relevant is through “sacred persistence”. As defined by Jonathon Z. Smith a religious historian, sacred persistence is when there are collective activities to preserve and sustain cherished forms of approaching, understanding, and experiencing the sacred.”

Christianity was adopted in 1000 C.E. for political and economic purposes (Strmiska 2000). Icelandic Christianity was built upon the previous pagan beliefs. Iceland never really lost its pagan roots. They did not experience the burning times, and many of their place names hold pagan roots (Strmiska 2000). The Eddas are the most respected representation of Iceland’s cultural heritage, and are a focus point of Icelandic nationalism, though they have become less of a priority in recent years (Strmiska 2000). Norse Mythology and the practices of the Ancient Norse were recorded almost single handedly by historian and mythographer Snorri Sturluson in the 13th Century.

Thangbrand, a Saxon priest and missionary, brought Christianity to Iceland under the direction of Norwegian King Olaf Tryggvason. Thorgeir a heathen Priest said to Iceland in Njal’s Saga: “We cannot live in a divided land. There will never be peace unless we have a single law. I ask you –heathens and Christians alike–to accept the one law that I am about to proclaim. Our first principle of law is that all Icelanders shall henceforth be Christian. We shall believe in one God–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We shall renounce the worship of idols. We shall no longer expose unwanted children. We shall no longer eat horsemeat. Anyone who does these things openly shall be punished with outlawry (Outlawry meant that you lost all protections from the law and were thus exposed to theft and murder. (Ashliman 2001)), but no punishment will follow if they are done in private (Ashliman 2001)”. This prevented civil war, and made for a much smoother transition.

Now in 2015, the first Ásatrú Temple is being built.  The temple was designed with the principles of nature in mind. The temple is built into the side of a hill. One wall is the natural stone within the hill. There will be a skylight allowing for natural lighting, waterfalls that end at pools within the temple itself, and the golden ratio was used throughout to give it a pleasing look (McMahon 2015). This is all we know, finding information on the details of the Temple is a challenge. Maybe once it’s been built, its mysteries shall be known to only those who have have stood in its halls.

 

Sources

Ashliman, D.L. “Iceland Accepts Christianity.” Iceland Accepts Christianity. 2001. Accessed May 8, 2015.

McMahon, Neil. “Iceland’s Asatru Pagans Reach New Height with First Temple – BBC News.” BBC News. February 14, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

“Religion in Iceland.” Wikipedia. April 25, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

Robinson, B.A. “Asatru: Norse Heathenism.” ASATRU (Norse Heathenism). February 6, 2011. Accessed May 8, 2015. http://www.religioustolerance.org/asatru.htm

Statistics Iceland. April 1, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

Strmiska, Michael. “Asatru in Iceland: The Rebirth of Nordic Paganism?” Nova Religio 4, no. 1 (2000): 106-32. Accessed May 8, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2000.4.1.106.

“Quick Facts.” Quick Facts. Accessed May 8, 2015.