Thursday, May 26, 2016

Steampunk art fundraiser for Michael Wiggins at the Phoenix Cafe Aug 5


The loss of Michael Wiggins to the magickal and creative communities of Michigan has been a emotional blow to all of us.   The Phoenix Cafe responds to honor his legacy by hosting a one night Steampunk themed show of artwork.  This serves as a way to give his memory a creative tribute as well as raise money to both honor his family and install a permanent Steampunk display.  Michael was one of the founders of the cafe, and the society that has grown from it will be out in fine form.


Michael often had generously donated the use of the Phoenix for many community events and organizations at little cost.  Pagans In Need and the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry were gifted its use for their Toys For Yule drive.   Members of the surrounding community were able to participate in the open charitable give away.   Multiple families were able to pick up toys, clothing, and material supports through this experience that otherwise may not have been reached.  But that was just the kind of man Michael was, he facilitated the wondrous.

The Great Lakes Witch's Council held many Wheel of the Year holiday rituals at the venue, and for that we are eternally grateful.  MEC hosted many coffee nights there in its the venue's early years.  Other private groups with charitable causes had been assisted by him many times.  And of course, Dungeons and Dragons was always an option.  A long list of thankful souls will remember the ever changing chalked event board with a smile.



 
They are currently looking for steampunk themed artwork.  Artists are requested to submit up to five images of their work to Phoenixcafeart@gmail.com, with Michael Tribute in the subject line.  The work should be in accordance with the theme.  July 30, 2016 is the absolute hard deadline for submissions.

The event is set for Friday, August 5 at 6:00 pm.  The Phoenix Cafe is located at 24918 John R Rd, in Hazel Park, Michigan.   Look for the image of the Phoenix painted on the side of the building.  Parking is in the rear.


Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Cover by Steam Powered Giraffe)


PBN Blues Series: "Garter Snake Blues" by Victoria Spivey

Sometimes as magickal/spiritual workers in the business of selling our services to clients, we find that we are helping folks who are generally not held in the best regard in society.  Cultural mores and standards can come into play when dealing with sensitive issues.  Infidelity is usually a topic that makes many people pause.  But if you are in business, and if you can separate your personal beliefs that may be opposed to the subject, then this installment of our series could be of use to you.

Various products exist to exact vengeance and the infernal fires of torment on the cheating partner and their paramour.  Gender roles do not matter, nor do sexual orientations.  Almost universally in the human condition, the heartbroken will seek compensation.

By film screenshot (RKO) [Public domain]
However, what of the cheaters?  Where do they seek protection and service?  How do they keep the affair hidden in order to not cause harm, in  their minds, more than they feel they have?  This is when your door may open one day and in walks the proverbial "other man or woman".  Now, this will take some turns, so let's get started.

How to lose two clients

Floyd J. and Lynn N. have come to your shop on a mission.  They are there to seek the right wares and spells that will allow them to continue a clandestine affair without any problems from their mates.  They have been very careful, but Lynn N. believes that they may be nearing the end of their luck.  So they are looking for a way to keep the heat off of both of them.

At this point, Floyd J. chimes in and adds that there is another factor to this.  You see, both couples meet every Wednesday night and play cards at the local bar.  So they are in close proximity on a regular basis.  Suspicious glances have begun to be shot their way by both mates during the games.  While it has remained friendly to this point, they are beginning to feel that they may be about to be caught.

You decide that the best thing for them would be to cease the affair.  They tell you that that is not an option.  Both of them were swingers before they got married, and have continued their relationship in spite of their vows.  They have been together for over a decade.  But both have children with their partners and do not wish to break their homes.

 After listening to their story, you decide that you will lecture them on why they are selfish and wrong.  You follow this up with advising them that they should ask for forgiveness of their spouses and come clean.  You conclude with an offer to give them a marital healing package for both couples so that they can start to regain their marriages.  And then you watch them walk out of your store and slam the door.

How to better handle a delicate situation if you choose to take this one

 
Floyd J. and Lynn N. have come to your shop on a mission.  They are there to seek the right wares and spells that will allow them to continue a clandestine affair without any problems from their mates.  They have been very careful, but Lynn N. believes that they may be nearing the end of their luck.  So they are looking for a way to keep the heat off of both of them.




At this point, Floyd J. chimes in and adds that there is another factor to this.  You see, both couples meet every Wednesday night and play Spades at the local bar.  So they are in close proximity on a regular basis.  Suspicious glances have begun to be shot their way by both mates during the games.  While it has remained friendly to this point, they are beginning to feel that they may be about to be caught.

You ask them if this is a long term situation, or if it is a fling.  This will help you determine what kind of work is needed.   They tell you that they have been together for over a decade.  They met while both were swingers.  Their only concern about being caught is to not break up their homes, as they both have children.

Because you have decided to take on this case, you have decided to caution them that no working is 100% fool proof forever.  You make clear that they must be ready to take on the consequences of their actions if discovered.  The advice you give is that they should take all mundane precautions to guard against their exposure if they are to have a successful working.

For the secret itself, you have decided to suggest the Uranus Oil method to start.  To this you consult on how they can best avoid detection through both concealment, persuasive speech, and shut up work.  Finally, you strongly recommend components and workings to strengthen the relationships and familial bonds of both family groups.  You clients leave, and you close your till.

 Because they like to play cards, you have also suggested that they might wish to reinforce their works with playing card spells.  This is a simple form of magick, and would allow you to custom design a blend of herbs to go with the spells.  No suspicion about carrying cards comes into play in this scenario, as practicing solitaire can be claimed.

In the above example, the shop keeper made a decision to provide services for persons who they may not have had an approval.  They kept it professional, and still offered counsel to the clients on responsibility and the limitations of spell working.  You might wish to consider what your personal practice will entail in regard to matters such as these before they come to your door and you find yourself unprepared with a response.



 "Garter Snake Blues" by Victoria Spivey

PBN Blues Series: "Bad Penny" by Rory Gallagher

Thank you for joining us, once again, for our PBN Blues Series.  This entry will address a common working requested by clients that you may run into from time and again.  The subject addresses how to help a client who has turned their life around to a positive path only to find that they cannot get a member of law enforcement to let them move on.

As a practitioner in the business of dealing with the magickal/spiritual world, you will encounter clients from all walks of life.  Pillars of the community will have their names mixed with the criminal on your roster.  It is up to your own conscience what sort of services you provide.  In this example, the business owner is open to performing work for all clients without judgment, so this particular customer felt comfortable in bringing this matter to the counter.

Jodi W. has a problem.  She at one point was a member of a notorious and violent street gang.  Several years ago, she had a life changing epiphany and decided that her old life and associations were no longer for her.  A moment of clarity, and two gun shot wounds to the chest, gave her a "change of heart".


 By Marcocarvalho (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


But the aftermath of her redirection has taken her into a world of fear and harassment from  her former gang to resume her old activities. Also, a police duo that has made it their personal mission in life to bust her.  Neither group believes that she has really changed.

Jodi W. comes to your shop for help in getting peace in her life and ending the constant intrusions on her life.  Upon further discussion, you find that moving away is not an option.  She is the caregiver of an ailing family member.  So the solution must address this as well.

Quick cash, but is it thorough

You decide to give her a Law Stay Away Candle, and some Compelling oil.  The first for the police, the second for her former constituents, in order to keep them away.  You advise her how to use them, and tell her to come back in two weeks to resupply.  Your client leaves, you count your money, and end of the tale.  This is all she could afford today, so this is all the service she will get from you.

Perhaps a bit more care and a bit more customer service

Jodi W. has a problem.  She at one point was a member of a notorious and violent street gang.  Several years ago, she had a life changing epiphany and decided that her old life and associations were no longer for her.  A moment of clarity, and two gun shot wounds to the chest, gave her a "change of heart".


But the aftermath of her redirection has taken her into a world of fear and harassment from  her former gang to resume her old activities. Also, a police duo that has made it their personal mission in life to bust her.  Neither group believes that she has really changed.


Jodi W. comes to your shop for help in getting peace in her life and ending the constant intrusions on her life.  Upon further discussion, you find that moving away is not an option.  She is the caregiver of an ailing family member.  So the solution must address this as well.

This is where looking at the whole scope of what is going on in her life comes into play.  Several factors are in this case.  The use of candles is an option here, however, since there are layers of issues it would be appropriate to work on many layers of defense and protection to fix this.

Because you are actually engaged with the client, you have been able to reason out and prioritize what  concerns are most pressing.  This is a multifaceted set of circumstances.  You explain that it has to all be handled in little bites.  

Jody W. may not be able to afford everything at once.  You set up an approach that can accomplish things little by little over time.  This is where understanding how to assess the client's conditions are important.
By Vectorportal (Vectorportal.com).
 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  First issue at hand is that of the police.  A casual observer might have placed this concern after the gang members.  But this would be a mistake.  The organization wants her to return and work for them, so they are not currently as threatening to her movements.

The team, let's call them Officers Wilson and Pickett, are actually really good people.  But good people can become jaded in  any profession. They have seen it all, and don't like any of it.

So over the years of dealing with the person that she once was, they have placed her into a box in their minds that identifies her as criminal for life.  And with the powers that have been entrusted to them comes a lot of leeway for being overly zealous for her "type".  Driving by her home every shift, stopping her randomly to ask her what where she is going, and them randomly showing up to her job has become a living nightmare for Jody W.  She has even lost employment over this pattern of behavior.
Ilya Repin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


So the first priority is to secure her home, person, and workplaces from torment.  You suggest a penny spell as quick perimeter ward for her home.  A combination of oils, including Law Stay Away, is added to her supplies along with appropriate candles.  Finally, as a first step, you decide to help her put together a banishing work to remove their influences.

Jody W. expresses concern that her past associates will eventually get tired of waiting and may turn violent in their insistence.   She lights a cigarette in the back parlor of your store, and you allow it as you are zoned to permit this small calming practice.  You let her take a moment, and then get calmly proceed to address the protective workings that are on the list you  completed at the counter.


In the matter of the gang members, you list a set of workings that included banishing, red brick dust, protection, and a shut up spell for good measure.  Being a bit proactive, you also suggest poppy seeds and calamus root be added to a component list in order to confuse their efforts.  This will take time, and the client has been instructed of this.   You also suggest she work with whatever spiritual guardian energy is in accord with her new belief system.

For later visits, you have assorted components for bettering her employment situation.  Boss Fix mixed with Bend Over oil is at the top of the list, of course.  You make sure to voice your support for her decision to leave the old life, without being judgmental.  A smile and a good word are worth more than you know, and genuine good will helps to create a good place in her mind regarding you.

She purchases what she can afford, and makes a shopping list.  You duplicate this list and keep it at the counter, so that steps and purchases can be marked off as they are picked up.  You set a small box to the side that has her initials on it.  This contains her items so that they will be ready for pick up.  This is possible because you have a rapport.  Jody W. leaves, and you have served your client in a reasoned fashion.

There were a multitude of ways to handle this client's issues.  This way is not the only way, and may not be one of the best ones out there.  However, it does take the time to look at all the parts of the case so that the client has the best outcome possible.  Sometimes it is not about "cash and dash".  Especially when dealing with the people from the past who keep showing up like bad pennies.

 "Bad Penny" - Rory Gallagher

 






Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PBN Blues Series: "Tell it like it is" - Aaron Neville

A spiritual worker for hire should never be so obsessed with money that they lie to their clients.  When deciding how to proceed in a job, it is of utmost importance to remain focused that it is exactly that, a job with a finite amount of involvement in this client's life.  One should never make a career out of an client's life path.

 By Xuan Zheng (https://www.flickr.com/photos/68002200/4001633830/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


That being said, one of the ways that integrity shows is to be truthful with your client.  Be mindful that you are not overly offensive or blunt, but speak plainly and with compassion.  Seek not to inflame, nor to exert negative influence.  Be impartial, yet always on track for the best possible choices and paths for the client.

As we will often do in this series, let us entertain two examples of a situation.

A way that may not be the best for the client

Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You agree that she should do this.


 You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.  She eyes the calamus root, a skull candle, and some other wares.  You encourage her in the situation, add your own spin on the working, and sell the collection of tools.

By ManuelFD (Own work fuente propia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Two weeks later, the situation has become more volatile.  The roommate has blown up and they are almost at blows.   You decide to amp up the spell work and advise her how to do so.  It continues to escalate, and then you have an unhappy customer, one with a lump on her head and a restraining order.

A way that may be a bit more desirable
 
 Messilina T. walks into your shop and has an issue.  She is in the middle of a dispute involving a roommate.  Both sides have become angry and are not seeing eye to eye enough to even speak to each other at this point without screaming.  She has decided to hex the roommate in order to make her complacent and bend to her desires.  She has come to you for your advice on custom work.  You ask more about the situation and state that it is important to hear the whole story, since she has decided to come to you for custom work.

You find, after speaking with her at length, that the issue is that she has decided to adopt a pet.  The roommate is allergic to pets.  She has decided to overpower the roommate and force her to live with the situation and abide.   You ask her if she has considered that the addition of a pet could be harmful to the roommate, and asks if she has gotten a divination on the situation in order to examine her choices moving forward.  You explain that divination could give her a clearer focus.  She does not agree.


Richard Mauch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 As a responsible worker, you know that the situation will escalate, as a normal person will not agree to allow something that will bring them harm.  In this case, the roommate would not sanely comply with the addition of a pet that would compromise their health.  Therefore, it would be better to do a work on how either the living condition can be changed, possibly a St. Expedite Spell.

It would also be important to work on the income and money management of the client so that she will have a choice in whether to stay or go.  You attempt to explain that magick cannot turn people into mindless zombies, and that she should consider what is doable in the current situation if she stays.  And lastly, you may also suggest a reconciliation working in order to normalize communication in the home to mend the rifts.  (This would be followed up by a clearing and blessing of the home).

Be prepared

Messilina T. may not want to hear this.  She is angry, hurt, and a little bit selfish right now.  There is a strong chance she may reject your counsel.  At this point, your can proceed to serve her or turn her down.  She is free to do her own work, of course.  Or she can find another worker.

She decides that she wants to banish her roommate.  She purchases a bottle of Four Thieves Vinegar and a multitude of bottles.  Her plan is to clear out the roommate and anyone else who is on the roommate's side.  You complete the transaction and watch her leave.  Ultimately, it is her decision.

The important thing is that you have maintained your integrity, as well as ensured that the caliber of your work is not compromised.  Your wisdom in understanding that doing futile working will damage the client and your own reputation has saved you unneeded drama.  And this is all achieved by telling it like it is, being forthright, and being a better magickal business person. 

As a trade, we do not sell morality.  At our best moments we can attempt to educate the client so as to assure a desirable outcome.  But never forget that they have not come to the shop in search of morality lessons.  Just serve the truth and let it ride.


 Aaron Neville - "Tell It Like It Is"




Michael Wiggins memorial May 21, 2016

Taken too soon from us, much respected and beloved Michael Wiggins will be honored with a memorial on May 21, 2016.   One of the strongest pillars of the Michigan Pagan communities and societies, his transition is an enormous blow to many who knew him.  Known to many through ConVocation and the Magical Education Council, the Ren Faire community, the dance circles, Up in the Aether, The Phoenix Cafe, and more, he touched thousands.




The memorial will be held at DoubleTree by Hilton (5801 Southfield Expressway, Detroit) located at 5801 Southfield Expressway, in Detroit.  This hotel will be familiar to any who have been to his events.  Hosted by the Magical Education Council, it promises to be a service befitting of his standing.

A GoFundMe account created by Claudine Durham has seen over $7,000 pour in to help with the financial matters related to the memorial and the family.   This public service is the opportunity to celebrate the memory of this man as he lives on in our hears.  For the sharing of stories is how a life lives on in this world.  And Michael’s story was a masterful one, indeed.

Arrival and gathering begins at 4:00 pm.  This will be followed by a short service at 5:00 pm.  This shall lead up to the wake.   Which is the joyful celebration of his memory.

Come and share a story, raise a glass and honor the man who thought that nothing was better than a good party. – ConVocation/MEC



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An announcement from the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry on the passing of Michael Wiggins


This morning, May 4, 2016, Michael Wiggins passed from this life into the next one.   A showman, magickian, artist, visionary, dancer, and renaissance man.  He was also a man with a compassionate heart.

A loving description by his wife, given when he was announced Pagan of the Year in 2013 CE.
 

Michael has technically been a part of the Pagan Community since birth, being blessed by his mother’s Gardnerian Coven when he was born. Michael Wiggins has kept his long standing involvement in the Pagan community ever since in many different facets: co-leading a private teaching group for friends and children of friends; attending “Meet Your Local Witch” nights at the long-gone Lavender Moon Cafe; being involved in various events throughout the Michigan and surrounding areas and of course his service with MEC and ConVocation
As President of MEC (Magical Education Council) Michael has been the face of Convocation for many years and has done a wonderful job of getting the convention to
grow and expand each year, bringing in a welcoming environment in which everyone to be free to be who you are.
Michael is also an accomplished artist, constructing a variety of steampunk art as well as other genres in a wide array of mediums, and performs the last 3 centuries of dance with a historical dance troupe.

Michael was a truly beautiful soul.  A witty conversationalist, one evening, I had the privilege of hearing a little about his story as a young boy growing up in 60's Detroit.  You never knew what insight you would get, but it was always something thoughtful and surprising.   His wisdom helped shape a vision of what greatness and beauty that can be ours if we grasp it.  It sustains those of us who knew him.

Hail the Mighty Dead.  Blessed Travels, Michael.


Addendum:

An  account is being set up to help with the expenses associated with the final expenses and to assist the family.  This unexpected time has created a shock among us, but for them it has changed their lives forever.  Remember this, and send a prayer from the heart for them. 

There will be a public memorial service on May 21, 2016.  The exact details are still in process, so watch for updates.  If you are like many of us, this will be a day to request off of work so that we can mark the passing of a man I refer to as Pagan Michigan's Ard Ri.

If you are able to help monetarily in any way, send any donations to the Michael Wiggins Memorial Fund on GoFundMe.