Next Holiday: Midsummer/Summer Solstice/Litha June 21, 2022
In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic
year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes.
In folklore, these are referred to as the four “quarter days” of the year, and
modern Witches call them the four “Lesser Sabbats”, or the four “Low Holidays”.
The summer solstice is one of them.
Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to
the calendar creep of the leap-year cycle, the date may vary by a few days
depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the
Tropic of Cancer, and we experience the longest day and the shortest night of
the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of
However, since most European peasants were not accomplished
at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot
over toStonehenge and sight down its main avenue,
they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24. The slight forward
displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical
changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice
celebration, which is astronomically on or about December 21, but is celebrated
on the traditional date of December 25, Yule, later adopted by the Christians.
Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their
days from sundown to sundown, so the June 24 festivities actually begin on the
previous sundown (our June 23). This was the date of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer
Night’s Dream. Which brings up another point: our modern calendars are quite
misguided in suggesting that ‘summer begins’ on the solstice. According to the
old folk calendar, summer begins on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1), with
the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking midsummer. This makes more
logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun’s
power begins to wane and the days grow shorter.
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Midsummer click here
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Yule June 21, 2022
For an article on Yule by Mike Nichols click here.
Celebrating Litha, The Summer Soltice June 21 The Midsummer Sabbat: Celebrate the Power of the Sun!
The gardens are blooming, and summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbeque, turn on the sprinkler, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also called Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors!
Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It's the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. We can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.
Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying. Remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead. Before you get started with ritual, think about preparing your household altar for Litha.
Hold a Midsummer Night's Fire Ritual, and celebrate the season with a big bonfire. Prefer to spend some time alone at the summer solstice? Not a problem! Add these simple Litha prayers into your summer solstice rituals this year.
Astrea comes from a very non-traditional background. She identified as a witch far before she ever heard about Wicca or any other historical figure. The out-of-body experiences she had at young ages showed her a whole other world out there that’s made of energy and spirit. Her other witchy childhood activities included poppet magic, glamor, weather magic, faery workings, spirit communication, and trance states. She has always had a sense of energy. She had some prophetic dreams and psychic experiences too. These practices came naturally to her. She was drawn to repeat them because of the mysterious, ecstatic way they made her feel.
After studying several religions as a teen, she concluded that none of them fit her well enough besides new age paganism and eclectic witchcraft. She delved into books like When God Was a Woman, The Chalice and the Blade, Women Who Run With the Wolves, and The Spiral Dance.
Astrea began blogging on Patheos in July 2017, which to her was really fun. She was amazed that people were interested in her opinion.
Intuitive Witchcraft was the result of decades of personal study and practice, both as a solitary practitioner and in groups. It incorporates absolute freedom with intuition and options to create a personally relevant spirituality. It also includes supportive psychology. While the book has some well-researched information the originated from witchcraft traditions, everything is presented as options. They’re not necessarily indicative of her practice, but they could be yours if they feel right.
She loves writing. Sharing her thoughts, visions, and stories with other people brings her so much joy. She self-published two fiction books in 2015 and 2017, and a poetry zine in 2000. When she's not writing or working at her full-time job, she enjoys walking in forests, lounging with her enormous cat, dancing with fire, wearing elf ears, acting goofy, relaxing with her muggle husband, and dressing up with friends.
Astrea is a big believer in equality for all people, doing charity work, and donating time and money to charitable/non-profit organizations. Her favorite groups match her ethos of anti-racism, religious freedom, pro-LGTBQIA+ issues, and charities that assist victims of violence. It’s her hope that we can all lift each other up, respect our individualities, and be compassionate about our differences.
Click here to read our interview with Astrea Taylor
“The highlights of creating artwork includes the tactile feeling of just pushing paint around a surface, seeing the drama and storytelling emerge as the piece grows, and hearing different people read their own meanings and narratives into an image, giving it extra layers of life. These are to name just a few highlights. The downside can be the prolonged isolation of sitting at the drawing board for hours, which during the cold winter months can be pretty testing if you can't afford the luxury of cranking the heating up to full!" Steve Hutton
"Wildwood's origins began as a personal project in 2007 to sharpen my figure drawing skills. But I still wanted a fictional element, so I opted to 'draw a few witches'. That snowballed into dozens of characters all of whom I wrote a few lines of back-story for. As the drawings became better and more lifelike their potted histories became grittier and more in-depth. It was a steep learning curve but a highly creative and energetic time of my life. I often found myself drawing into the early hours."
"Lastly on the subject of pencils, don’t forget to include a good range of grey shades. I’ll often add a hint of grey to skin tones, sandwiched in between other pigments. Relying on colours alone can give an artificial ‘Disney’ look to a scene. So don’t forget the greys. I rely on my range of French Greys a lot."
The Doreen Valiente Foundation: TWPT talks to Emlyn Price
Emlyn Price, Chair, Doreen Valiente Foundation has been a member of the DVF for a number of years and a Trustee and Chair since November 2019. Emlyn comes from a background in Local Government and Utilities where he specialised in Business Resilience, Threat Intelligence and Anti Terrorism. He brings to the organisation knowledge across a number of areas including policy design and implementation, financial and business resilience. Emlyn is a 2nd Degree Gardnerian witch of the Whitecroft tradition and has been a Craft practitioner for about 43 years. When not engaged in D.V.F. business, he can be found pursuing his hobbies which include photography, reading and astronomy.
There was a time in the distant past (that would be around the early 90's) that I worried about the correct way to follow my spiritual path, whatever that path may have been. That path at one time was a conservative Christian path and making sure that I was doing things exactly as I had been taught was an important part of who I was. The sermons, the teachings, the books, the videos and fellow congregants all reinforced what that correct way was and if you strayed they were there to make sure you got back on the one true path that would lead to heaven. It was also a constant way of reinforcing the beliefs of those in the church to make sure that no "worldly ideas" were able to breach the minds of those who might be using their intellect to actually think about what they were being taught. And by "worldly ideas" I mean anything contrary to the doctrine or the dogma that we were constantly being taught. I stand as a testament of what happens when you begin to think about what you are being taught and then seeking out alternative explanations regardless of whether those explanations line up with church doctrine or not.
Cherry Hill Seminary Mourns the Passing
of Wendy Griffin, former Academic Dean
Columbia, S.C.--With heavy hearts Cherry Hill Seminary shares the sad news of the passing of Wendy Griffin Ph.D., Academic Dean Emeritus. Perhaps the first American academic to publish while identifying as openly Pagan, she was a pioneer in the study of Goddess Spirituality and Wicca, was an active member of the American Academy of Religion, and on the editorial board of The Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies. Wendy published numerous academic articles on Pagan women's groups and edited Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, a 13-essay survey of contemporary Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality by British and American writers.
As Cherry Hill Seminary's first permanent Academic Dean, Wendy brought a dedication to academic integrity and a devotion to Pagan and Nature Spirituality. By the time she retired in 2018, Griffin had inspired students and colleagues alike with her intellect, skills and engagement. Only recently, the seminary Votaries alumni group created the Wendy Griffin Professor of the Year award in her honor. They will hold a public virtual event on February 27 to present the first award.
Prior to becoming the Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary, Wendy served as Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she taught for many years.
Pam is a writer, curator, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the host of The Witch Wave podcast
(“the Terry Gross of Witches” - Vulture) and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power (Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster, June 2019) and What Is A Witch (Tin Can Forest Press).
Her group art shows and projects, including Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery, have been featured by such outlets as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, New York Magazine, and Teen Vogue.
Pam’s writing has appeared in numerous mediums, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME.com, Ms. Magazine, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, Film Comment, Sabat, Ravenous Zine, and various Fulgur press publications. She has maintained Phantasmaphile, a blog that specializes in art with an esoteric or fantastical bent, since 2005.
Pam is a frequent lecturer on such topics as “The Occult in Modern Art 101,” and “Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art,” and she also teaches classes on spellcraft and ritual. As a featured guest on WNYC’s All of It, NPR’s 1A, HuffPost LIVE, The Midnight Archive web series, and myriad other radio shows and podcasts, she has discussed the role of magic in contemporary life. She has also consulted for such brands as Charlotte
Tilbury and Treadwell’s Books, as well as for film and television, including the forthcoming reboot of The Craft (Blumhouse/Sony Pictures).
Pam is a graduate of New York University, where she studied cultural anthropology, art history, and comparative religion. A resident of Brooklyn, she lives with her husband, Matthew Freeman, and their two feline familiars.
We all have them. Notebooks crammed with material we have copied off the web or out of books that we reference again and again in our practice. We have shelves of books, notebooks and sheets of papers in folders that we really do want to keep; or maybe not. I used that spell, well, maybe two, or was it three years ago and it worked well, but I forgot what I used it for and I thought I remembered it worked well, but maybe some of those notes in the margins, scribbled quickly.
Some of us may have a mess of notes. I know I did. Well, I still do to be honest. It is going to take a long time to get my BOS sorted out. Recipes, spells, chants, rituals, poems, miscellaneous writings, material copied from the web, pictures – all for my own private use. And I do use them. I am, after all, a practicing witch.
So, how can we organize this better? Well, many of us have a great tool at our disposal yet we never think of using it - our computer or laptop or tablet or smartphone. Well, how about an e-BOS (electronic Book of Shadows.) Oh, you tried that years ago, and now you have CDs with info on them that you can’t read. But the technology is much better and storage is easier to do and just as easy to back up and keep safe.
So, let’s start with the mess. I am sure, as I have material on both my computer and on paper, that you face the same issue. How to sort this all out and make sense of it? Let’s start with software, and work our way up the line.
Initiations and the Queer Craft by Storm Faerywolf
The formal traditions of modern Witchcraft are quite fond of them. They sound so romantic and mysterious: assembled in some secret place obscured by darkness, the performance of arcane rites of induction into a hidden world of magical orders, ceremonialist lodges, and Witches’ covens. I’m talking about initiations, and our cultural obsession with them.
There are numerous types of initiations, depending on the particular group or culture that practices them, and they can serve many different and even multiple purposes. Like steppingstones upon a path, initiations have the ability to quicken our progress, to guide us along the way by giving context to the otherwise mysterious, and to offer us sure footing, in that we are stepping on a path that has (usually) been trod by countless others. Initiations can contextualize certain rites of passage as seen by the officiating group. They can be the formal entry into a groups’ social structure. They can provide a ritual perspective for the sharing of certain “inner” knowledge or lore, and in some cases, of spiritual, magical, and authoritative power.
Despite the common modern perception of fairies as lovely and helpful folklore offers a wide range of dangerous Fairy beings who represented a real threat to any humans they happened to encounter. I'd like to offer a list of 7 such dangerous beings here, although there are of course many more than that found across the folklore. These are definitely not the sorts of fairies one would want to find in one's garden.
Redcap - a malicious type of goblin the redcap gets his name from the hat he wears which is dyed red with human blood. He is known to live in ruins and will attack humans unfortunate enough to cross his path. Unlike many other fairies he isn't averse to iron - in fact its said his shoes are made of iron or iron toed - but he will flee at the sight of a Christian cross or at Christian prayers.
Be sure to check out Morgan's book called Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk as well.
Articles on the Web
Connecting To (and Running From) the Horned God
I fell in love with Wiccan-Witchcraft because of the Goddess. I saw her face in the moon, the green earth, and the green waters of the Mississippi River that flowed just a few blocks from my house. When engaged in ritual it was the Goddess I called to, and when I read Witchcraft books I did so in order to draw closer to her. When those books mentioned the Horned God I simply scanned the page, hoping to escape from the horned nightmare in front of my eyes.
I mostly grew up in the American South, and had been active in the Christian Church during my teenage years. By the time I turned twenty-one and had mostly embraced Witchcraft I had begun to realize just how wrong many Christian churches are about a whole host of things, but what if horned entities weren't among those missteps? I thought it best back then to keep some distance between myself and the Horned God in my Witchcraft practice, and if I did have to call to a male deity (shudder!) I decided it would be a more benign solar deity such as Apollo.
We are conditioned from a young age by society to look at horns on human figures with skepticism, contempt, and often fear. In films it's almost always the villain with horns or antlers on top of their head. Popular depictions of the Christian Devil (or Satan) are always horned, despite such descriptions never showing up in the Bible. If an artist wants to suggest a popular figure is greedy, selfish, or overly lecherous, they add horns to the top of that person's head in caricatures. If you were like me when I was younger and a little wary of the Horned God I can't blame you; the conditioning is hard to overcome.
My own relationship with the Horned God began rather unwillingly. I don't want to imply that I was forced into it (I think the Horned God respects boundaries), it's just that I wasn't looking for him. Even more than that, I was often intentionally ignoring him, whether it was in books, the natural world, or in ritual. But there was something there I couldn't ignore; it was like the distant cry of a friend, and it was never ceasing. He was simply always out there, on the edge of my awareness.
Spiritual Practice in Difficult Times August 13, 2021
As difficult as things have been in recent months, I shudder to think how difficult they would be if I didn't have a regular spiritual practice.
Now, there are two misconceptions about spiritual practice (and spiritual people) in our mainstream society. The first is that if you're truly spiritual and if your practice is truly devout, you'll be protected by your God or Gods and you'll never experience anything bad. And conversely, if you do experience something bad, it means you've "sinned" and "fallen out of grace." These false and harmful ideas come from Calvinism - they have no place in our Pagan and polytheist religions... or in any other helpful religion.
The second misconception is that if you're truly spiritual, bad things won't bother you. They may happen, but you'll be so "spiritual" that you'll transcend it all. This is spiritual bypassing. That term is usually connected to the New Age movement, but my Baptist father used to complain about people who were "so heavenly minded they're no earthly good.
Wendy has always carved a unique and individual path. Since the release of her first album Zero in 1996, she has defied categorisation, always walking to the beat of her own drum. Combining elements of gothic, folk, world, ambient and cabaret music, and crossing over into Pagan and New Age catagories with her many mythological, esoteric, and ritual references, Wendy is as individual as she is prolific.
A dedicated live performer, Wendy has toured extensively since her first album’s release - starting in Australia, then branching out with her first international tour in 2001. Renowned for her extraordinary voice and live shows that blur the line between music, ritual and theatre, Wendy has gained a loyal following in Australia, the USA, Europe and the UK. From the most intimate solo house concerts, to festival gigs with her band (featuring long term musical
collaborator Rachel Samuel on cello), Wendy takes her audience on an otherworldly journey of depth and passion.
With the help of her loyal fanbase Wendy continues to maintain her musical independence, unbound by the confines of the mainstream. Two hugely successful crowdfunding campaigns have helped bring both Persephone, and her previous album Black Snake (2014) to life. In the past few years she has continued to grow her audience, not only with her dedicated touring schedule, but also with her performance as ‘La Llorano’ in the 2016 feature film Boys in the Trees
by director Nicholas Verso (now screening on Netflix), andwith her popular monthly Full Moon Magic Iive-streamed concerts.
In 2014 Wendy relocated from Australia to the USA, and is now living in the beautiful High Desert city of Santa Fe, New Mexico - allowing her an even stronger connection to her ever growing US fanbase, and providing daily access to the wild Nature that inspires her unique and transformational work.
Persephone, the new double- album from Australian visionary songstress Wendy Rule is the culmination of over twelve years work, and although drawing on Wendy’s musical journey over the past 2 decades, is unlike anything that she has done before. This beautifully evocative retelling of the Ancient Greek myth of the Goddess Persephone’s descent into the Underworld is almost like an opera, designed to guide the listener through this ancient tale of the cycles
of Nature. With subtle textures that reference her early life as a jazz singer in her home town of Melbourne, and the trademark dark, gothic soundscapes and souring vocals of her previous 7 major albums, Persephone is an ambitious and unique 24 track journey through the realms of Life, Death, and human emotion.
TWPT is proud to present a talk we hand with Wendy about her music and her new album Persephone. Without further ado.....enjoy!
Transformative Witchcraft TWPT talks to Jason Mankey
Jason lives in California with his wife Ari and two cats. Each of those cats has claimed one of them as their human. Jason belongs to their black cat Evie (short for Evening), while the high-strung tortie Summer (short for Midsummer) has claimed Jason's wife Ari.
Jason spends most of his time in front of his computer these days. Not only does he write Raise the Horns here at Patheos Pagan, but he is the channel editor there too! That doesn’t mean he edits every post that comes out, but he does some editorial type stuff. He recruits writers, schedules social media for articles, and about ten other little things.
It’s mostly fun because he works with some truly awesome people, not only there at Patheos Pagan, but at Patheos Central too.
When he is not writing on the blog he also writes books. His first book for Llewellyn is called The Witch’s Athame and was released in January of 2016. Jason was really proud of most of it, especially the rituals. He also writes for Witches and Pagans magazine and for their online site Pagan Square.
When he is not writing he is a pretty active Witch. He es an initiated Gardnerian and helps run a coven out of his house known as The Oak Court. Jason realizes thtt the name is rather pretentious sounding, but it’s really just the name of the street he lives on. He also helps facilitate an eclectic Pagan circle in Silicon Valley. All this keeps him rather busy.
He loves being on the road and visiting Pagan Festivals. His hobbies include Pagan history, Steeler football, Penguin hockey, and he is a big fan of the Michigan State Spartans and Tennessee Volunteers. (Luckily for him they don’t play each other very often.) he is also a whiskey enthusiast, a lover of hard cider, and a giant music nerd.
Living Spirits explores the various types of spirits which exist in Western Magic and how they can be approached in a world alive with their presence and power. Living Spirits invites readers to jump off the sidelines and reach deep into the rich soil of a magical world and explore its power and mysteries so as to apply them for the purposes of real and effective magic. The book explores the traditions of the grimoires but goes beyond that and explores spirit
magic in a broader current based on building relationships with spirits.
TWPT: How about we start off with an introduction of yourself for the readers of TWPT as to how you define your current path you are on, whether you view it as a magical path or a spiritual path or little bit of both and how it was that you discovered it or how it made itself known to you.
BJS: I suppose I foremost consider myself a magician. In some regard I would say this answer describes me almost occupationally, magic is the skill set and knowledge system to which I have devoted my time. That said it has also been a part of my life since the start so it’s something I think of as intrinsic to my experience as well. While I don’t think of magic as religion or as spirituality per se they overlap and
relate to one another and all are both informed by as well as informants of one’s philosophy and worldview. They all kind of interweave together as far as an outlook or path, or more a structure for being. In that sense I am fairly ecumenical. I am a Gnostic Catholic Priest and a Thelemite, but I also am very tied to traditional Catholicism. I hold Pagan beliefs and am very influenced by Neo-Platonism. Practically speaking my approach to magic is informed and influenced by these things, but my practice of magic
is its own thing, itself drawing on many disciplines, and my experience of magic and the mystical helps build my pluralistic experience of religion and spirituality.
village one year’s journey from here.
And in that village lives a woman with four children. Like any family, all four children are
kindred and similar -- yet very, very unique.
One is a feisty child, with brilliant golden hair, and a natural glow
warmer than any other. This child’s name
In an entire
year, perhaps the 91 days (and nights) of Summer seem to fly by the
quickest… When you think of summer, what
comes to mind?
Summer is the
peak, the pinnacle, the realization of what took root during the Spring. One lesson the seasons teach is that many
things in nature grow, mature, and then fade.
Imagine yourself old and gray and wise.
Look back upon your own life as if it were a single turn of the
year. What part of your life was your
high point, your “Summer,” your peak?
Where did you shine your brightest, glow your hottest?
We too change
like the seasons. When Mother Nature
puts on Her Summer wardrobe, so do we.
Except these wardrobes seem quite opposite. In Summer, the forest grows more thickly
covered, while we become less covered.
Summer is a season of short sleeves, short pants, short skirts and bare
toes. While the trees might wear their
thick green coats, we often frolic clad with nothing but the sky! More of our natural selves comes out in the
Summer – arms, legs, skin – what we are beneath all those layers of cold Winter
clothes can shine forth in the Summer.
Maybe we resemble our animal cousins, who also shed much of their fur
and feathers in Summer.
warmth lets us enjoy a great many simple pleasures. After a cold Winter, the freedom of just
being outdoors is a true gift! The
increased energy of Summer brings increased activity of all kinds: festivals, vacations, travel. What special Summer gatherings do you look
forward to? All the adventure,
experiences, learning, worship, fun, freedom, passion, celebration and joy that
these festivals offer are the unique gifts of Summer!
Everyday Witch Tarot TWPT talks to Deborah Blake & Elisabeth Alba
Deborah Blake is the award-winning author of Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft, The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch, Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook, Witchcraft on a Shoestring, Everyday Witch Book of Rituals and The Witch’s Broom (all from Llewellyn). She has published numerous articles in Llewellyn
annuals, as well as other Pagan publications, and her ongoing column, “Everyday Witchcraft” is featured in Witches & Pagans Magazine.
Deborah is also the author of the paranormal romance Baba Yaga series from Berkley Publishing, which includes novella Wickedly Magical, and books Wickedly Dangerous and Wickedly Wonderful.
Her short story, “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” is included in the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn, 2008). Her fiction is primarily Paranormal Romance, although she also writes Fantasy, Mystery and Young Adult. She is represented by agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.
Deborah had been interviewed on television, radio and podcast, and can be found online at Facebook, Twitter and http://deborahblake.blogspot.com as well as The Creativity Cauldron, a loop she founded for writers and aspiring writers.
When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.
Elisabeth is a recent transplant to Western Massachusetts, after having moved there from New York City where she lived for eight years, and where she completed her MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay at the School of Visual Arts. Before then, she had received her dual degree BA in English (with a focus on children’s literature) and visual art studies at the University of Florida. She's traveled a lot, which has led to an obsession
with history and an interest in other cultures throughout the ages. She has always loved children’s literature and film, especially fantasy and historical fiction.
Her clients include Scholastic, Simon + Schuster, Llewellyn Worldwide, Oxford University Press, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Metropolitan Books, Small Beer Press, AAA Traveler magazine, and MTV Books. I’m the illustrator of Diamond and Fancy, both published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic, and part of the Breyer Stablemates easy-to-read series. She also illustrated I am Martin Luther King Jr., I am George Lucas, and I
Am Cleopatra, all written by Grace Norwich and published by Scholastic; and she contributed illustrations for The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster.
Witches&Pagans #38 - Magic of the People: Folk Magic & Conjure
Folk magic is simply the magic of the people: down-to-earth, pragmatic practices that address everyday human needs. In this issue of Witches&Pagans we share the experiences of all kinds of Pagans & Heathens: witches, conjure practitioners, artists, writers, artisans, and others, making magic with what they have to benefit themselves, their friends & families, and their communities. Join us!
Focus on Folk Magic & Conjure
Hillfolk Hoodoo: The Village Witch of Asheville tells it like it is. Meet H. Byron Ballard: a Western North Carolina native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at many Pagan conferences, written many books on Pagan culture and American Folk magic, and is the village witch of Asheville, North Carolina. Interview by Diotima Mantinea.
The Foundation Laid Before Us: How I Serve the Ancestors and 9 Ways You Can Serve Yours, Too. Hoodoo Sen Moise has been studying this tradition and working with Conjure for over 35 years. In this exclusive excerpt from his book Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic, Moise teaches his methods of honoring the ancestors. With original artwork by Greg Spalenka.
Aim for the Moon: A Visit to Lucky Mojo Curio Shop. Tina Riddle Deason takes a drive to the country and discovers a place full of magic and visions. With original artwork by Greg Spalenka.
Tracing the Roots: Folk Magic, Wicca, & British Traditional Magic. Join Pagan historian and ethnologist A. C. Fisher Aldaag as she sorts out the complicated backstories of magical traditions originally based in the complex traditions of the British Isles.
The Art & Magic of Poppets. Sit down with Laura Tempest Zakroff and enjoy a cozy visit with Pagan author, artisan, and celebrity Silver Ravenwolf.
People, Place, and Practice
How Did We Get Here? Far-Right Ideology in Pagan and Heathen America. White nationalism has grown bolder recently and Paganism, like other religions, has been drawn into its orbit. Jefferson F. Calico explores both the peril of white supremacy and what is being done to counteract its influence in contemporary Pagan/Heathen culture. Plus: Heathen vs. Hate: A Trollslayer’s Guide by Erin Lale.
Witch, Please: Finding Magic in Changing Times with Misty Bell Stiers. Deborah Castenella catches up with this very urban witchy mama to discuss how she make family magic in these challenging times.
The Tarot Garden of Garavicchio. Lisa McSherry is our guide to a walk through the monumental creations of an Italian visionary.
Focus on Pagan Living
Our columnists weigh in on all kinds of magic, devotion, and practice.
Christopher Penczak -- Mysteries of the Sovereign.
Jamie Della -- Face your fears with Aspen.
Hecate Demetersdatter – The rules of witchcraft: none. And Mason jars.
Deborah Blake -- In Spring, looking towards the Harvest to come.
Diotima Mantineia – If you want to live in a better world, now is the time to up your magical game. (The stars are on your side.)
Archer – The fresh water spring is where above and below come together.
Ivo Dominguez, Jr – Working locally is at the heart of Folk Magic.
Sara Amis – Folk Magic is based on finding power in the ordinary material world.
Mat Auryn – Hitting the Books: An introduction to Bibliomancy.
Thorn Mooney & Eurus offer answers to your witchy questions. In this issue: "What is the difference between folk magic and witchcraft.
88 pages, publication date August 2020
Note from the publishers
We are taking a short break from printing and publishing until the pandemic situation improves.
We have a new edition ready to release once restrictions have ended.
Stay safe all. Love from The Magical Times
Inside the beautifully illustrated pages of this latest copy Caitlin Matthews talks about faeries and the holy grail. Mabh Savage shares the myths and folklore behind Crows and Rachel Patterson talks about the link between food and magic.
Diana Cooper writes about the wonder of unicorns and Cat Treadwell explains how to live your magic. Lucy Pringle talks about the phenomena of crop circles and Morgan Daimler speaks about Faerie Queens.
Art and photography inside includes the work by Angela Harper, Grace Almera, Bronte, Ivana Desancic, Freerange Faeries, Linda Ravenscroft, Wendy Andrew and many more!
We interview pagan speedfolk band Perkelt and the much loved stage compere Chris Wadeson. Both be attending Sussex Faerie Festival in 2020.
Plus our usual columns, event listings, news and more!
Witchcraft & Wicca magazine includes articles on Witchcraft, Paganism, Mythology, Occultism, and many other related subjects, a vital read for any Pagan, Witch or Wiccan. The magazine is professionally presented with attractive artwork and images to enhance your reading experience.
This issue is available in both digital and print formats
Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine Issue 34 features:
Handfastings - a History - Lyn Baylis
Mental Health and the Suit of Swords - Inbaal
Scent of the Gods - Kevin Groves
The Light and Shadow of the Elder Mother - Carole Carlton
The High Priestess - Fiona Dowson
Bloodied Moon - Carole Carlton
Meeting your Animal Spirit Guides Through Tarot - Katie Giles
Raving about Ravens - Pete Jennings
Why we Need a Pagan Seminary - Lyn Baylis
Flower Magic - Rachel Patterson
Howling at the Moon - Diane Narraway
Witchfest Moves Online for 2020!
Gatherings & Calendar
Articles 'Round the Web
Interview with illustrator Elisabeth Alba by Kelley McMorris
When I heard that that Deborah Blake had a new tarot deck coming out in January 2017 I went looking for the illustrator to find out more about them. I found this older interview from last year that I wanted to share with the readers of TWPT. It was conducted by Kelley McMorris and I only share an excerpt here on the site with a link back to the entire interview on Kelley's blog page. You also might check out Elisabeth's artist
site to get a more detailed look at some of the cards that will be gracing Deborah's deck next year. The great thing is that the ones that I saw all had cats in them. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!----Imajicka
"Today is the beginning of a new series on this blog where I interview illustrators and others in the publishing industry. I've met so many interesting people at art school, conferences, and online, who have stories I want to hear!
I am honored to have our first interviewee, Elisabeth Alba, on the blog today.
Elisabeth has been a freelance illustrator in the children's book and fantasy industries for several years now, and recently quit her part-time job to go full-time. Elisabeth and I have never met in person - YET - but we've been online acquaintances for a year or two. I was curious about how she has managed to build up her freelance career from the ground up, and what it's like being married to ponytail-rocking fellow illustrator Scott Murphy.
When did you first decide to become an illustrator, and what did you do to
I loved reading, picture books, graphic novels, fantasy movies, animated
films - what all illustrators like, really! I had this urge to create
things that would be seen by other people on book covers and inside
books so that they'd have the same pleasure I got when looking at them.
It definitely started in high school, if not earlier, but I still
struggled a bit thinking maybe I should be a doctor or biologist or an
English professor or something more stable career-wise."
Samhain is approaching and with only 8 days remaining before it arrives perhaps you might be thinking you want to understand the Sabbat a little better before celebrating on the 31st. Well you have come to the right place and we can point you to some great information to raise your understanding of what it is that Samhain means to a variety of people both here on TWPT and some written materials around the net that will help too. Right off the bat I can say you should
check out our new
interview with Diana Rajchel about her book about Samahain that was released as one of the Sabbat Essentials series over at Llewellyn. Here on TWPT we have a section called Seasonal Celebrations that has an article by Mike Nichols about each of the eight sabbats on the wheel of the year. You can find his article
about Samhain by clicking here and you'll get a good look at what Samhain is all about.
Also on TWPT is a page of articles about Samhain by a variety of writers and quite a few topics. If you'd like to check into some of these articles you can click here. And finally if you really want to go in depth with the subject of Samhain then head on over to Amazon and try a couple of these books: Samhain: Rituals,
Recipes & Lore for Halloween by Diana Rajchel, Pagan
Mysteries of Halloween by Jean Markale, or Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara by Ashleen O'Gaea. Spend some time with Google and I'm sure you will find many more sources for information about the upcoming sabbat. And if you are looking for a Samhain ritual for a solitary you might try Boudica's ideas in an article that you can find by clicking here. Another great place for a large
chunk of information on Samhain is
over at about Religion. This is curated by Patti Wigington and covers Paganism/Wicca including this link to info about Samhain.
Being of the male persuasion I had my doubts as to how much
I would relate to and be drawn into a novel about a group of older women who follow
Goddess traditions and teachings. After reading Secret Lives I now see that my
doubts were wholly unfounded and that Barbara Ardinger has written a marvelous
book that is engaging, heartwarming and even instructive if you are open to the
spirit in which this novel was written. The grandmothers, the daughters and the
granddaughters of this novel are well drawn characters that personify the
struggles that women in general face living in a world that still sees them as
worth less than their male counterparts but in particular it also delves into
the struggles that women face who follow a spiritual path that does not adhere
to a patriarchal model that has come to dominate this modern world we live in.
Traditionally, Samhain is considered to be the day when the
dead and living can mingle. The veils of the world are at their thinnest and
there is a sense of liminal space in the air. Liminal space is border space,
the in between place, where anything can happen. This flexibility time means
that contact with our ancestors is easier than during the rest of the year. A
lot of rituals I've attended for Samhain have involved remembrances of the
For me, Samhain is a time for change. The nights are getting
longer, the air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and we are going into a time
of the year that tends to make many people insular. At this time of the year I
remember past regrets and assess the overall direction of my life. This has
caused me to start doing an annual ritual for just this time of the year.
This annual ritual involves choosing an element and
dedicating myself to working with it for an entire year. I originally chose the
five classic Western elements to work with. Since these elements have a lot of
behavioral characteristics associated with them, I felt that choosing to work
with an element that represented desired behavioral traits could be useful for
helping a person modify hir behavior.
From Taylor's article called The Samhain Elemental Ritual. Click here to read the entire article.
benign New Spiritual practices can suffer from some of the same
pitfalls as conventional organized religion. Fortunately, once we’re
aware of these diversions we can make the informed choices that reunite
us with the inspirited world, rather than contribute to our
my life of pilgrimage the voices of the earthen Anima have repeatedly
contradicted what I’ve read, was taught, once thought, and so badly
wanted to believe... Thus as I became a teacher myself, I deferred
again and again— not to presumed authorities or established traditions,
but to the actual Source of every real truth they contain. Our
realization of wholeness/holiness begins not in contemplation or
conclusion but in a great listening. It begins in a vulnerable
condition of openness, with fierce focus, gentle humility, and the
overwhelming gratitude that makes us worthy of such gifts.
Developing the Magickal Personality By David Rankine
"I for my part, knew how
little the true adept needs for his magic, but I had to work upon men's
imaginations, and for that I needed a stage setting...and to this end I had to
have about me that which should suggest the great days of the past when the
cult to which I belonged was at the height of its power...And so, little by
little, I had collected ancient things from the old temples...I also used
colours for my background, knowing their power over the mind - over my mind as
well as over the minds of those who came to visit me.There is a science of colours...for my
purpose I use the pale opalescent moon-colours on a base of silver; the purple
that is a plum-colour, and the reds that are magenta or maroon, and the blues
of sea-water and the sky at night; never the strong primaries such as a man
uses when he is a magus.Always the
shadowy, blended colours are mine, for I am the shadow in the background.
"As for my body, I had made
that to be an instrument of my personality, training it, supplying it, learning
its arts and powers.Nature had not been
unkind, but she had not been lavish, and I had to make of myself something that
I could use for the purpose I had in hand...I am bold, even rash, in the matter
of lipsticks, and I love long ear-rings.It would require Huysmans to do justice to the ear-rings I have
possessed - jade, amber, coral, lapis, malachite for day; and for the night I
have great jewels...I wear my own fashions, and they come from the "soft
furnishings" as often one does not find in the dress materials...I like
rings, too, so big that I can hardly get my gloves on over them; and bracelets
like fetters on my wrists.My hands are
supple with ritual...and I wear my nails long to match my tiger teeth.I like my shoes to be very soft and light and
supple, like gloves rather than shoes, so that I can move in them without
sound...I know the meaning of movement - how it should flow like water.I know too how the body should swing and
balance from the waist..."(from
Moon Magic by Dion Fortune)
The above passage, from Dion
Fortune's magickal novel Moon Magic, gives a description of how her character,
Vivien Le Fay Morgan, has developed her magickal personality.She chooses clothing, colours, jewellery, and
even the way she moves her body, and speaks, in a conscious way, to project her
magickal personality.The way we dress,
and how we look, not only tells others a lot about ourselves, but also affects
the way we feel about ourselves.
When we take our clothes off to work
rituals sky clad, we are casting off our social selves, and coming to a more
natural state, closer to nature.Putting
on ritual jewellery, which is associated with the magickal personality helps
one to transform into the Magickal Self, or to identify more strongly with
it.If you work robed, changing into a
robe is also a way of changing one's identity to that of the magickal
personality, and this should be done consciously.