Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A New Look at Clergy Basics

Monday, December 28, 2015

Unveiling Kris Bradley's journey to becoming a Death Doula Reprint

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A holiday musing for my readers during this time of celebration


(To the tune of "Jingle Bells")

Solstice Dash

Dashing through the snow,
With all my witchy swag
Anointed head to toe
The belladonna is in my bag

Datura in my purse
To speed my spirit flight
Amber on my neck
Such a glowing sight

Oh, Solstice time
Spake in rhyme
And other holidays

No matter what the name they use
The Sun comes any way

Copper chimes
Cords that wind
Mistletoe and hay
Oh what fun to see the light
Of the dances of the Fae

Brewing up tisanes
And cocoas spiked with herbs
Bread bowls and meat stews
With friends, meals are superb

Resetting crystal grids
And knotting up my cords
Oh what fun to dance and sing
And consecrate my swords

Oh, Solstice time
Spake in rhyme
And other holidays

No matter what the name they use
The Sun comes any way

Whether casting in the round
Or the wheel itself we tread
Baking grain that's ground
Or eating ebon bread

No matter who you love
Or Tradition that you oath
Share an ale with kin or coven mates
Or maybe just do both

Oh, Solstice time
Spake in rhyme
And other holidays

No matter what the name they use
The Sun comes any way

by

Kenya Coviak aka Mistress Belladonna


By Ida Rentoul Outhwaite [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Native American Smudge Class at Gemini Moon and why you really should go

Bright Blessings!

This Saturday, at Gemini Moon in Mt. Clemens, Glenn Brown will be teaching about Native American Smudging starting at 7:00 p.m..  For those of us here in what this writer likes to refer to as Pure Pagan Michigan, this is important in a very personal way.  You see, dear reader, there is an issue, an elephant in the room, that no one talks about anymore.

The issue is that currently, everywhere you look, people are using the term "smudge" every time they light up some sage or other fumigation materials.  And this, dear readers, PISSES ME OFF.  WHY?

******************************WARNING!!!!RANT*********************************

The term Smudge belongs to a specific style and cultural matrix, that of the First Nations of this continent.  It is a form of Smoke Cleansing.  There are many forms.  And pay very close attention to this next part:  Witches and other Pagans have stolen and burgled their house and taken it for themselves just as pretty as you please.

Every time someone fumes, or censes, a person in a public rituals of late, that term seems to rear up like a tarantula in a nature video in Australia.  Seriously.  And while it has become common practice to  the point where people do not even acknowledge that it is misapplied, the word Smudge is not something that is just folks fuming someone.  Unless you have been trained in the prep, use, purpose, and the care of the Medicines, there is a question to be asked:

WHO. TOLD. YOU. THAT. USING. THAT. WORD. WAS. OKAY?

Yes, good gentlefolk, this is appropriation.  And it is done under the dirty banner of eclecticism and ignorance.  But those who know better should try to do better.

*********************************END RANT**************************************

Glenn Brown will be teaching in the Lakota tradition, and is knowledgeable about many ways of smoke cleansing.  The use of white sage, and other herbs & resins will be expounded on in regard to their use for the clearance of negative energy.  The cost is  $20.00 per person and they ask that you  RSVP in order to ensure you have a seat, because space is limited.  You can call 586-222-2836, and while at it, why no phone a friend and invite them as well.

Blessed Be and Save A Seat for ME

And now, for a little humor for my readers who made it to the bottom.  


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chef Day Presents: The Day Experience Sponsored by Selfish Magazine this weekend

 Chef Day is having a party.  A reeeeeallly special party, and it is to celebrate the beginning of a brand new venture.  As part of this writer's goal to promote Metro Detroit Pagan Businesses, this is a shout out and broadcast to boost the signal.

Let her tell you about it in her own words, though:
Come out and support small businesses, Thanksgiving weekend.  This is a launch party event for Sacred Me, a purpose given bath salt line.  We have something for everyone, this party  is vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and meat lovers friendly.

There is the promise of a DJ, exquisite catering by the talented Chef Day herself, and all sorts of treats.  There will also be a Human Art Exhibit, so put on your eclectic hat.  In addition to this, for the adventurous, there will be a raffle, and vendors to tempt you with their unique wares. Music, Wine, Hors D'oeuvres, gift bags, and more surprises await.

It is all happening at Hazel's place Lounge, at 5516 Michigan Ave in Detroit.  Tickets are $15, and for more information, one can call  734-299-6189.





Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Belladonna's little Pagan activity guide November 4th edition


Here is a little list for stuff that may be of interest to my Pagan families.  This is not an all inclusive guide, just a quick hot spot. Enjoy.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Attention Pagan Community Organizations: Suicide Awareness Training Nov 6

One of the things that many of the members of the Pagan Societies and Communities in Metro Detroit and elsewhere will be experiencing for the next few months is what we call the Holiday blues.  Whether through loneliness, an event, distancing from family, or all kinds of ongoing factors lead to it, this stress can sometimes lead to those dark places that can be fatal for many of us.  To end a life, to consider suicide, is the ultimate act of violence and despair.  If you are a Pagan community leader in Metro Detroit, there is a resource you can take advantage of by sending yourself, or one of your members to training on suicide awareness this Friday called safeTALK Training.

The  safeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone) training will be held at American Indian Health and Family Services. A training that is about 3 hours long, it will teach participants 
  • to recognize people who may be at risk of suicide
  • how to open up discussion
  • keep them safe 
  • refer them to appropriate services
There are openings for 30 people for this training.  This will not lead to certification, but will prepare folks are are in attendance for situations that they may face.  This writer has been through the actual 2 day course and is certified for the next three years as a Gatekeeper, and has found it highly useful.  It is being placed in this column in order to plead with the local groups and individuals in our community to take advantage of it.

Over the last year, it has been a very rough time for many in the communities.  That 3 a.m. clergy call and text and chat have been hot.  And on a personal note, this writer has to say that we have fallen down on the job.  Why?  Because we are not taking advantage of the resources out here that are available to us. 

Repeatedly, I have offered, as have others, to put together resource binders and seminars for the local groups.  Whether because of politics, disorganization, or just plain being overwhelmed by a seemingly enormous undertaking, people have not taken what is offered.  It does not have to come from me.  There are dozens of folks in our community that are here to help and train.  And it doesn't take a Masters Degree either.  Learn to use the people you have before they walk away.   Because knocking your head against a brick wall gives one a headache.  Serve your people.

 
American Indian Health and Family Services has the course scheduled for 1 – 4 p.m. Friday, November 6, 2015. If you have questions or would like to register, contact Karen Marshall at KMarshall@AIHFS.org or at (313) 846-6030, ext. 1404.  They are located at 4880 Lawndale St, Detroit, MI 48210.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ghost Supper to be held on Wednesday Nov 18 2015

While many here in the Land of the Fresh Water Seas are celebrating the various kinds of ceremonies that honor the Beloved and Mighty Dead this season, the emphasis has been primarily placed on the observance of Samhain.  The writer will not be discussing the fact that the actual date of this holiday is not on October 31st, that is for another time.  However, what is going to be highlighted is that there are other Traditions that are happening that are unique to our climes.  In this case, the Ghost Supper that will be held on November 18, 2015 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, is what the readers of this column are encouraged to explore.

At the American Indian Health and Family Services Social Hall, the Systems of Care Grant will be hosting a 
traditional Ghost Supper to celebrate the time we’ve had with those we know and love that have walked on.  There will be an opening prayer followed by a teaching about Ghost Suppers by Frank Ettawageshik. There will also be song and drum with a sacred fire.  A main course will be provided and you can feel free to bring a sampling of your loved one’s favorite dish to pass if you like. 


 For those who are unfamiliar with this observance, it would be appropriate to do some research on what this is and why it is held.  In a nutshell, much like many societies' suppers which focus on the remembrance and communing of the discarnate among us, it is a supper attended by community members wherein they celebrate the lives of those who have passed through the Veil.

A Spirit Fire is prepared, therefore it is appropriate and honorable for women to wear skirts if they plan to attend.  This is in respect for the cultural practices of the People with which they are participating in this rite.  There will be a prayer at the opening. No other formal rites will be performed.

This event is open to all who should wish to attend.  Bob Davis, the System of Care Project Director, was very warm and welcoming when this writer spoke with him regarding who was allowed to come.  Questions regarding food and servings were patiently answered and assurance was given that no one would be turned away for lack of a food dish being brought.

This event, though a pot luck style, is not one where you are required to bring a massive dish to feed everyone.  In actuality, a dish of food that is enough for four or five to share would be fine.  Keep in mind that this food should be something that those spirits enjoyed in life.  If, as in this writer's case, your Dad enjoyed chocolate cake and coffee, it might be good to bring coffee or cake.  If your Aunt enjoyed smoked whiting, that would be nice as well.  Sue Franklin perhaps described the concept best, in HOUR Detroit's article by By Jeff Waraniak, when she said

 “We try to always bring a favorite food of a loved one that passed away,” Sue says. “lost my oldest son nine years ago, and every year I remember him with honor and respect and love, and to enjoy those memories of him, I’ll eat some of the foods that I knew were some of his favorites. It’s a way of holding a memory close to you.”SEMII’s fall feast features traditional foods made from local ingredients. There’s three sisters soup — a medley of corn, bean, and squash; stuffed pumpkin with wild rice, venison, cranberries, and vegetables; and staples like yams, turkey, and the crowd favorite, frybread. As part of the ghost supper tradition, other specialty foods are brought to the table."

But this is not about stuffing your face.  It is about mindful companionable gathering to with those who are here and those who have moved out of physical manifestation of existence.  An extremely helpful exposition in brief in reflection on this supper as to why a person would attend such a meal was given by Winnay Wemigwase, director of archives, records and cultural preservation for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

 “Each of those people that show up represents a spirit that came. And it’s a blessing the more that you have,” explains Wemigwase. “My family has always taught us that you try to go to as many suppers as you can, because it’s a way of showing respect to that family and of honoring them and their relatives.” (read more here)
 When attending, please remember that as guests, manners are extremely important.  Also, as a reminder, pointing with your hands can be seen as rude, so be mindful of this.  Again, if you are not sure of something, it is always good to ask.  The event is time fluid.  This means that if you just want to pass through for ten minutes, or three hours, one time, or after 6:00 p.m., it is not a problem or a breach of etiquette. 

American Indian Health and Family Services is located at 4880 Lawndale, Detroit, Mi. 48210. Parking is in the gated lot across the street.  For more information on this event, please contact Bob Davis at  313-846-6030.


Enjoy the cake recipe.

 

Monday, October 26, 2015

UnVeiled-The Series is holding auditions for aspiring Pagan actors Nov 7 in Michigan

For those local Michigan Pagan thespians with stars in their eyes and a passion for performance, Pagan Pathways Temple is doing something fantastic.  They are writing a show called "UnVeiled - The Series", and open auditions are coming up November 7, 2015 from noon until 9:00 p.m.  at their Madison Heights locations.  Even now, script writers are busily composing episodes.  Want to be a part of this?  Here is how.

Principle casting for lead roles and supporting cast begins on the above mentioned date.  A list of roles and prepared material for readings will be available.  This series will be based in the Southeast Michigan Pagan Community.  All work will be on a volunteer basis, but credit will be given to participants.

The premise is intriguing.  

This open call is available to experienced actors as well as those who have never acted before this time.  This could be the project that discovers you.  Auditioning persons are asked to bring

  • Valid ID
  • Headshots (if any, not required)
  • Acting Resume (if any, not required - there will be a photographer on site) 
The event will be immediately followed by a potluck.  Pagans and potluck go together like peas and carrots, so if able, bring a dish if  you are staying for the meal.  Also, bringing a feast bundle is a conscientious touch as well

Pagan Pathways Temple is located at  28736 John R. Road, Madison Heights, MI.  They are just a little south of 12 Mile Road.  If you have further questions, contact them at 586-275-7641.  This is something exciting, so if moved, come be a part of it.  Rev. Nashan will put the welcome mat out for you.

Blessed Be.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Fighting the N Word Sigil - WARNING: contains profanity and offensive language

This piece was inspired by the conversations that this writer has been having over the last year in the Pagan Communities in Michigan.  It comes from all races.  Not seeming to understand how much they are feeding that peculiar servitor used against the African diaspora in this nation, many have continued to give it life and energy.  Whether through ignorance, wrong headed belief in "passes" because of relationships that have created a "fictive kin" style status, or through flat out thinly veiled opportunistic bigotry hidden in a smile, it continues to arise.

So, let us write the word out, shall we?  The word is N.I.G.G.E.R., N.I.G.G.A., and any other of the myriad creative spellings that have popped up.  Polite Pagans in Michigan have used the word "N.E.G.R.A."  and "Colored" in my presence at gatherings as well.  This is 2015 C.E. in Michigan.  And yet, I am looking for the rice fields and the hot springs and the cotton plants to simply materialize next to where I stood.  They then, without fail, somehow found a way to inject the variations of the N word into the conversation.  Usually to distinguish that they would never presume to use it in a derogatory way, and "don't you people use it",  "your people use it all the time",  "it doesn't have the same meaning when we use it ourselves".

So now, let me clear my throat and skim the froth from my cauldron.  Read this very carefully, and with comprehension.  Phone a friend if it is not easily understandable.
IT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE TO USE THAT WORD IN THE PRESENCE OF ANYONE OF WITH EVEN THE SLIGHTEST MODICUM OF SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE.
We are magicians.  We bend reality to our Will.  We make matters alter from the stuff of the ethereal manifest on this plan through ways unseen and unfathomable.  AND YET, SOME OF US ARE STILL FEEDING A GODS DAMNED SERVITOR OF HATRED WITH OUR VERY MOUTHS AND SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH IT.

Every time we use that word, we feed it and its history.  It does not change its nature because we dress it up and try to use phrases like semantic inversion.  It does not change its intent, because that is what gives this energetic creation life - INTENT- (you learned that in the beginning, right?), because we simply wish to use it with impunity and offer petty excuses for it.

This author challenges anyone to show me how using the word "C.U.N.T."  or "H.U.M.A.N.  G.A.R.B.A.G.E." or any other insult can be inverted into a good thing.  How much more vile, then, is the ludicrous assertion by anyone that the word has somehow miraculously come to mean "an ignorant person".

Such a person, or persons, sound like either fools, liars, or mental slaves.  It is not, nor has it ever been, acceptable to call anyone of an enlightened mind a racial or ethnic slur as a term of affection.  And to do so is to spit into the soul of every ancestor that came before every member of the African diaspora in this United States culture.

Let the lie go.  Do not let your former oppressors turn you into your own.  Educated people do not use this word.  That has nothing to do with formal academia.  It has to do with social and spiritual education and maturity.  How can you come before your altar with the shadows and stains of speaking this filth upon the same lips and tongue you use to send praises to your Divine?

Do you include this word in your prayers?  Is it in the lexicon of chants that you share around the bonfire and the circles?  Have you seen a ritual anywhere that celebrates this?  IF so, please feel free to comment below with time, place, and purpose of same.  We will wait.

How dare you?  Substitute that N word for the word child, priest, priestess, or any other term in your rituals and tell me how that works.  How does that feel?  How about you add a candle with an image of a lynched person on it and tell me how that semantic inversion works when you do a spirit communication with them and attempt to explain how it is acceptable for you to use that word in greeting.

ESPECIALLY IN A SPIRITUAL SETTING.  IN ANY SETTING.
And make sure you wait for an answer.  Be brave in your assertions.  Then see what it gets you.  IF you would not use the word in front of your ancestors, then do not use it.

Now, for those folks who use that word who are not of this ancestry, let's have a chat.  What is that part of you that thrills to life when you use it that you have not had a chance to do Shadow Work on yet?  Because that is what is needed.  This is not directed at the openly racist and bigoted.  You have no such inclination toward self denial.  You live in honest vainglorious bigotry.

But those that lie to themselves and let is spill like poisoned anointing oil from your tongue, what is the purpose of it?  Is it to fit in?  Is it a feeling of the taste of the forbidden?  Really, let's just be honest.  And here is a little more honesty:

NO ONE IS FOOLED, OR IS APPROVING, OF YOUR USAGE OF THIS WORD IF THEY HAVE ANY EDUCATION AND ASCENSION OF SPIRIT.  YOUR USAGE IS OFFENSIVE AND IS PLAIN OUT DISGUSTING FILTH.
Remember, "as a man thinketh".  So what does that make the user, hmmmm?  Since some of you are willfully stiff necked, this writer will spell it out.  It means that inside, there is a part of you that is filth and should be addressed.  Here's the besom and the mirror, get to work.  Have a look, if you are so inclined, to pursue some education on the topic.






Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Red Dress Project story - a guest feature by Janet Callahan

Sometimes, this column will feature guest writers.  This is one of those times.  Janet Callahan is a esteemed writer, activist, and extraordinary woman.  She has graciously allowed me to share some of her writing on a  powerful topic in this space.  This is her story.

There is a secret epidemic in the United States and in Canada, though only Canada is currently receiving global attention for it.
The epidemic is that of violence against Native/Indigenous women.

A Native American woman in the US is, on average, more likely to be a victim of physical assault (almost 2/3 of them report abuse) [1] than the average American woman, and nearly twice as likely as the average American woman to be a victim of sexual assault in her lifetime [2]. On some reservations, women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average [1].
But beyond all that, the issue of murdered and missing indigenous women has become an issue for the UN. In Canada, a recent study shows there are just less than 1200 missing and/or murdered women whose cases are unsolved since 1952 [3]. First Nations and Inuit women make up only 4% of Canada’s population, but make up 16% of murders [4].

Even when an actress who has “made it” disappears, it much the same – no one looks for her, she barely makes the news, and her death is brushed aside as a non-issue, her body only found because her family insisted on looking for her. [5] She, too, reported having been raped as a child.
It’s not just Native women on reservations that face this violence – urban Indians, too, are often seen as exotic, and prostitution is presented to them as a way out of poverty and other unpleasant circumstances [6].

While looking up statistics for this article, I ran across statistics for Australian Aboriginal women, who turn out to be 31 times more likely to be hospitalized due to injuries from assaults than other Australian women. [7]

So, one might ask, what is being done about this? 

Since the various governments involved seem incapable of solving the problem themselves, Native women are taking on the task of awareness.

The Red Dress Project [8] is presented by an artist in Canada, who seeks to place red dresses across Canada to remind viewers of missing women. Sing Our Rivers Red [9] is a similar US based project, where single earrings represent the missing, and specifically calls attention to the fact that those standing in the intersection of LGBTQQIA issues and violence against Native women are equally at risk (probably moreso, since they are more likely the targets of gender/orientation based bias to begin with).

From a more personal standpoint: I am Native American (my mom’s side of the family is Lakota, my dad’s side of the family is German), I am an enrolled member of my tribe. Of the women in my family who are my mother’s generation and my grandmother’s generation, I know that at least half, and probably more, were victims of violence. Of my generation, again, at least half of us, possibly more, have been victims – and I’m among the oldest of us. Some of us have children now, and some of them have already been victims, before even graduating high school. Somehow, this cycle of violence has to stop.

The Little Witch's Ball press release - presented for your enjoyment here in Michigan

Little Witches Ball

October 9, 2015
6 pm – 10 pm
VFW Hall
25500 Sherwood Ave
Warren, MI 48091

This years theme is going to be “Welcome To Hogwarts” from the Harry Potter movies and books to match the grown up Witches Ball theme “Magic and Mayhem”.

This is going to be a blast for our children, we will have soft drinks – Pizza and music. We are requesting donations of candy flat ware and party decorations and of course money…all donations may be given to Gerrybrete Leonard or Merlyn Firstborn.

Want to Sponsor? Get a Link to Your site Here

Admission: Children up to 17 years old $7.50 Adults 18 years and older $10.00 Church members the prices are Children up to 17 years old $5.00 Adults 18 years and older $7.50

Children Under 10 must be accompanied by a parent.

Tickets may be purchased at the following link and your PayPal receipt will serve as your ticket.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1633824370200874/
http://www.meetup.com/michiganpagans/events/223867943/
Purchase your Tickets Here http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball/

We will be collecting food for Pagans In Need http://pagansinneed.org/

We will also be collecting Toys for Yule, so please bring a new unwrapped toy to donate.
Friday, October 9 at 6:00pm
VFW Hall 25500 Sherwood Ave Warren, MI 48091
You were invited by Gordon Ireland

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On the Day of Hestia Tamia, let us open our storehouses for S. Baxter Jones


There is a prayer devotional in The Pagan Book of Hours:  Breviary that brings to the heart the needful rightness of welcoming strangers.  In this space today, I ask that you open your hearts and minds and altars to the presence of S. Baxter Jones, and give him hospitality.  For none need comfort and support quite like this traveler in perilous shadows as he fights for his home against the forces facing him now.

His story has been featured in several places, yet this man is one of our Michigan own.  Not Pagan, Neo Pagan, but human, his story reaches beyond the need for soup can religious labels and reaches into the heart of what it means to be a ward of the Gods.  There is no greater mission than this, to reach across and lift up those who are oppressed among us.

And yet, his story seems to be missed in the righteous wailing and moaning of those who are enamored with far away bodies and stories of those who are in another land, while here this body is suffering.  Our faces turn away to the tales of those writ large who capture the minds and media of the loudest.  Yet in the stillness, the truth abides and can be seen for those who would but open their eyes, who have ears that hear.  So it is this spirit, it is time to hear a voice that has been lost among the cries of the whirlwhind.

 Mr. Jones, a Detroit public school teacher for 22 years, lost his home to foreclosure in 2011 when he fell behind on his mortgage payments after suffering disabling injuries in an automobile accident. Wells Fargo, servicer for Fannie Mae, refused to grant a forebearance and/or modification for Mr. Jones while he was obtaining disability benefits in violation of federal regulation.

In 2013, Mr. Jones’s offer to purchase his home at market value was turned down by Fannie Mae. Despite Fannie Mae and the FHFA’s recently announced Buyback policy allowing Michigan homeowners to repurchase their foreclosed home at market value, they are refusing to reconsider this denial.

It is to Hestia that it would seem to be the mindful devotion as we set our lights and lamps, as Mr. Jones has decided to go on a hunger strike.  While we fill our bodies with sustenance, he hungers not only for food but for rightful justice.  The fast removes him nutritionally as a representation that highlights his removal from the due and correct share of fair societal treatment as he seeks to regain the home being ripped from him at 8789 Rexford, Jackson, MI 49201.

Today is the Day of Hestia Tamia, and it is on this day that this writer asks that you lay out a feast, not for yourself, but for someone else.  Today, let your fingers rise and leaven this burden, like bread, and make the calls, send the emails, and write the letters.   Let today your Twitter fingers become like the grain as it is threshed, flying high and landing with weight.  Today, let the hunger he feels be your own, and sit at that bare table so that it can be filled with that light and goodness that those who read this column are embers for in the torch against the cold.

To sacrifice to Hestia is to put that food
In the bellies of others than yourselves.
To sacrifice to Hestia is to bring in strangers
From the cold and the wet, and offer them food
And drink, no matter how little you have.
To sacrifice to Hestia is to remember the Law
Of Hospitality, and how the Gods all love that Law,
And that the stranger most soiled and tattered
May be a vessel of the Gods in disguise.  --

The Pagan Book of Hours:  Breviary
  

Call Katrina Jones, of Fannie Mae at 215-575-1400 or email katrina_jones@fanniemae.com, so that the Gods may find that we are still good and right.  Make known that we demand, require, and stand firm that S. Baxter Jones must be evaluated under the FHFA Buyback Program as is lawful. 
Please refer to FHFA file# H-15-1408"


 Set your hospitality table and let forth the stranger into your home.  Open the storehouse of your hearts, and light your brown candles.  And let us make a pleasing welcome of our deeds.



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Parsley, Sage, Marijuana, and Thyme - why herbal identification training is sorely needed

Bright Blessings.

So, occasionally this column will focus on human interests stories, or person anecdotes.  These are presented as such, and are not in any way to be confused with the normal news.   This story is one of those anecdotes that deals with the burdens of being an aspiring herb wife and Pagan.

Over the freeway, and through the streets, to my Mother's house, this writer went.  To deliver a bundle of freshly picked herbs, my mission was one of pleasant joyfulness.  Upon placing a brimming small basket full of greenery on her cocktail table, the bundles and bunches were sorted and identified for her usage in her culinary pursuits.  Sage, parsley, thyme, oregano, Tiger Teeth peppers, mint, and a few odds and ends from the garden were sampled, sniffed, and set to the side.

After a few days, a phone call split the mundane pace of my day.  It was from downtown Detroit, and on the other line was a laughing, yet slightly offended, mom.  As she related the following, the story became more and more absurd until even this writer was puzzled as to how the minds of folks work.

You see, dear readers, an acquaintance had come to her home had spent some time chatting and enjoying the afternoon in her living room area.  During this visit, this friend noticed the bundles of herbs.  After being informed that they were grown by the daughter, this writer, she inquired as to their types.

As my mother proudly listed each one as best she remembered, the person started acting strangely.  Picking up a bundle, she pointedly asked if this bunch was marijuana.  You know, cannibis.  At this, one can imagine the look of incredulity that passed across my mother's face.  The acquaintance became quite insistent that it would be this, as the daughter is strange anyway.

After a moment of weighty silence, she was asked quite directly what would make her think that any daughter would gift her mother with a bundle of "weed" when she was clearly bringing over herbs.  Reevaluation of the mental faculties of this person took place on the spot.  The eternal mantra of the unpleasantly surprised came forward, "What is wrong with you?", and she was courteously encourage to consider her stay a tad bit overlong.

The fact that the writer is "strange" was code word for "witch" in these circles.  But seriously, when does that make one the local Cheech and Chong dream delivery franchisee?  The fact is, there are so many people who never take the time to look at what herbs, or other foods, look like before they are processed lead to this messiness.  Seriously, sage is not cannibis.

And if she is mistaking it for something she has had before, it is time to reconsider her sources.  Though to be frank, she does not seem the type to be featuring a bong display on her tatted lace doily collection.  While it is encouraging that she attempted field identification with limited training, it is most unfortunate that that was the first intuitive leap she would make.

Gentle readers, this writer encourages you to take to the highways, the hills, the byways, the streets, and the recreation centers to share your knowledge of actual herbs.  Please spread the word that just because it is on a stem, and has flowers and greenery that is not grass or hostas, does not mean it is a drug.  Shaking of the heads, indeed, were shared over this phone call.  Please don't let it happen to your friends and loved ones.  Only you can inspire a potential wildcrafter my fellow Detroit peeps, only you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Happy First Anniversary, Pagan Pathways Temple

By nubobo (1st Birthday Cake (1歳の誕生日ケーキ)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Happy Anniversary wishes are in order.  It is almost a year since Pagan Pathways Temple opened its brick and mortar doors to the Pagans in Southeast Michigan.  And what a year it has been.

Community town hall meetings, classes, workshops, and Wiccan services have all been held in its walls.  Weddings, a community thanksgiving, and a community center aspect that has hosted children's activities has made this home to many.  When there is no where else to find answers for the new seeker, this wonderful board and its leader, Rev. Nashan, have opened their arms and hearts to all who would come in peace and sincerity.

And now, wow, a full year has gone by since the opening.  The smiling face, beaming with pride and happiness, that was Nashan's is still easily brought to mind.  It was a celebration for all as they opening ritual raised a joyful noise with the music of "Happy" lifting all spirits in joining with their accomplishment.  

But as this writer always says, "The work is only done, by those who do the work".  And while they have been working their bodies and minds well beyond the limits of reasonable expectation, there are still many who have not heard of their existence, nor their message of inclusive Paganism.  They hold space for us, and for that, we give them honor.

So without any further delay, it is with great awe that the words of the good Reverend Nashan are shared here from his announcement regarding the anniversary celebration on September 12-13, 2015.  A good day to make a good memory and associate with the building of something good and right.  A good day to come out and contribute to the continued existence of this place. 


"Greetings all!

Well the official countdown has begun. 11 days until we begin our celebration of one complete year of service to the community that we Love. I would first like to thank the Pagan Pathways Temple Board for all of your hard work this year and your hard work in putting together this 2 day event. You guys inspire me! smile emoticon Love you.

I would also like to thank our dedicated staff of volunteers who (often times without being asked) take the time out of their schedules to work our events, clean the temple, act as temple keepers, and just get everything we need to get done, done. You guys Rock so hard!

Now we have a number of things coming up, but None as big as our Anniversary celebration. We have 2 days of fun and fellowship in store for you all and we sincerely hope you come and celebrate with us both days.
The schedule of events will be posted here on FB and on our website shortly so check back here soon.

Our goal is no less than 200 people each day showing up to hang out with us. We want to spread the word far and wide that the Temple is open and here to stay! So bring a friend. Bring that certain someone who has meant to get down to the temple, but just hasn't had that chance.

Join us as we change the world!

Blessed Be

Nashan"

 

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