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The Grimoire of Lady Sheba
Coming in June
The new summer issue of Witches&Pagans is in production and will be mailing in early June.
Whatever your path, whether you are a devotional Polytheist, a Wiccan priest/ess, a root worker and witch, an arch-Druid or a naturalist Pagan, doing ritual is almost certainly part of your spiritual path. In this issue, we explore the many diverse ways in which ritual creates, nurtures, connects and reinforces our bonds to the Gods, the Spirits of Nature, and to each other in community.
This special issue features:
Focus on Druids & Celtic Spirituality
Getting to Know Your Story:
A Talk with OBOD Chief Druid Philip Carr-Gomm.
Gail Nyoka chats with the renowned English druid about the elements of ritual, Druidism, and following the Awen.
Eolas ar Senchais: Illuminating Ancient Celtic Ritual.
It’s sometimes difficult to know real lore from invented nonsense, so what’s a Celtic-inspired ritualist to do? Author and druid Sitheearan NicNeoid leads the way down the road to authentic knowledge of these ancient paths.
Druid Ritual Style.
The rituals of Ar nDraiocht Fein (“Our Own Druidry” in Gaelic), are known for their careful design and elaborate nature. ArchDruid Kirk Thomas lays out the structure, meaning, and theology of these foundational rites.
Focus on Group Rituals
Eleusis by the Sea: Wandering Witch at Spring Mysteries.
Natalie Zaman takes a personally significant journey to meet the Gods at the yearly ritual drama held by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.
Forged in Flame: Creating a Reclaiming Beltane Ritual.
Irisanya draws back the curtain on the art of creating the legendary rituals of the Reclaiming witchcraft tradition. PLUS We Come from the Land Down Under: Retrofitting Ritual for Southern Hemisphere Pagans by Lee Pike.
Focus on Creating Your Own Rituals
Our columnists weigh in on ways to bring meaning into your solitary (and family) rituals.
Raven Grimassi Solitary Ritual & Aligning Ourselves with Power;
Hecate Demetersdatter How to Create a Successful Group Ritual;
Deborah Blake What’s Your Ritual Style?;
Jason Mankey Was Your Last Ritual a Disaster?;
Diotima Mantineia Astrological Timing for Your Next Working;
H. Byron Ballard Ritual and Theatre?
Shirl Sazynski The Names of the Gods.
Please welcome our new columnists:
Christopher Penczak, Thorn Mooney, and Eurus
NEW COLUMN: By Love, Will, and Wisdom
Christopher Penczak explains the Triple Road of the Witch.
NEW COLUMN: Two Many Witches
Thorn Mooney & Eurus offer answers to your witchy questions. In this issue: "Do I Need to Be in a Coven?"
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.
Mickie Mueller grew up beneath the great mountains and the desert sky of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They aptly call it "The Land of Enchantment." She was exposed to art all her life, both of her parents’ were prominent artists and craftspeople in the area, and she was influenced by many of the great artists of the Southwest, all friends of the family. In her late teens, she moved with her family to the green rolling hills of Missouri were she now lives and makes her home and studio. Mickie began working as a freelance artist in 1983, showing her award winning art in local galleries, and her work appearing in newspaper ads, and CD/cassette covers for local bands. She even worked for awhile as a computer colorist for comic book companies like Marvel, D.C. and Dark Horse to name a few.
Today Mickie has a growing business with her magical fantasy art. Her work has been seen in magazines and books internationally, including a school textbook in Norway. Her prints are sold in catalogues and on the Internet all over the world. She has two critically acclaimed divination decks published by Llewellyn, The Well Worn Path and The Hidden Path. Mickie’s third deck comes out in 2011 and is her first deck that she created on her own, concept, writing, and art. The Voice of the Trees, A Celtic Ogham Oracle is based on the rich and fantastic Celtic history, myths and legends and the Ogham system of letters used in 4th-6th century.
In addition to their teamwork in The Mickie Mueller Collection, Mickie and Dan are also the proud parents of two grown daughters; Brittany, a popular Vintage Fashionista and Chelsea, a pop artist and poet, and an 11 year old son Tristan, an aspiring stop-animation film maker. They are also the grandparents of Olivia toddler extrodinarre, and Rhys accomplished walker and fabulous happy face maker.
A Very British Witchcraft (Full): Documentary on Gerald Gardner & Wicca
TWPT's Upcoming, New and Notable Releases
The Path of Paganism by John Beckett
The Witch's Book of Shadows by Jason Mankey
by Sandra Kynes
Gods and Goddesses of Ireland by Morgan Daimler
The Magic of Trees by Tess Whitehurst
Betwixt & Between
by Storm Faerywolf
Isis: Eternal Goddess of
Egypt and Rome by Lesley Jackson
The Secret of the Temple by John Michael Greer
by Raven Digitalis
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."
Paganism is unique as a spiritual path in that it does not tell us what to do. Rather, we decide for ourselves our own personal ethical standards and set our own values of morality. While there is a Rede from the Wiccan Traditions, it is not a law; rather it is an advice, a council. And whether you adapt that Rede as Wiccan or as pagan, it is a choice that is totally up to you. We have embraced the pagan culture because we believe in the concept of free will. This also carries over into our pagan spirituality where we feel we are intelligent enough to make decisions for ourselves when it comes to spirituality and the associated philosophies. We choose the paths we walk, be they sexual, environmental, social, magical or spiritual. It is our choice and no one else makes it for us. We are not dictated to, we are not told what to believe, we are not forced into a social structure we have to adhere to, nor are we told what magical practice we need to follow. No one speaks for us other than the individual. There are no set leaders representing the whole of the pagan community.
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.
I sometimes sit on Sunday morning listening to the music
that has shaped my life since the early
90’s when I first discovered it and I
reflect upon the spiritual journey that I have been on for the last 26 years. It
has been an enlightening time for me and I am happy that I made the trip and
explored the many side streets that have presented themselves to me during this
time. From the early days of having to order books that would help me discover
this path at my local bookstore because there was no online world, to the
plethora of titles that exist on the internet now, my journey has been one
forged in the printed words which inspired and sparked my spirit to seek out a
path that I could truly call my own. Having had a front row seat to the
Wiccan/Pagan growth over the past 18 years through my website The Wiccan/Pagan
Times which came online back in 1998 it has been a dizzying ride from the few
scattered voices on the internet at the beginning of the 1990’s to the large
chorus of voices expressing a wide range of spiritual thoughts in the 21st
century here in 2016.
Jailbreaking the Goddess TWPT talks to LaSara Firefox Allen
Lasara Firefox Allen is the best selling author of Sexy Witch (2005), and Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality (7/2016), both published by Llewellyn Worldwide. A wild hearted change agent, Lasara delivers tools for transformation, provides strategies for embodiment, and creates vibrant spaces for personal and collective liberation. Lasara’s coaching and teaching work weaves together themes of empowerment, embodiment, body
positivity, sexual liberation, feminism, and owning our whole selves.
Lasara has been the proud proprietor of a thriving online teaching and coaching practice for over a decade. She has helped hundreds of clients through major life transitions. Her Entrepreneurial Trainings for Wild Hearts program is rooted in the joy she derives from helping clients find their purpose and make their mark. Lasara loves to help clients transition to online teaching and coaching, and start making money doing exactly the thing that is in them,
waiting to be done.
While still working in the world proudly as an ordained Pagan clergy member, she consider herself a true Mystic at heart, and have experienced the awareness that the teachings at the heart of all religions and spiritual methodologies offer opportunity for enlightenment, liberation, and the opportunity for merging with the divine One.
Over the years she has offered workshops and classes on diverse topics; relationships and intimacy, sexuality, Mysticism and spirituality, and many others. She is married to the love of her life and partner in all things wonderful, arduous, glorious, and transformational, Robert Allen, and mother to two amazing daughters. These three are some of her greatest and truest teachers.
She is grateful to live in the wilds of northern California with her sweet little family, and to surround herself with a community of loving, like-minded souls.
Click here to read our interview with Lasara Firefox Allen
Next Holiday: Mabon/Autumnal Equinox September 22, 2017
There were three men came out of the West,
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three men made a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn must die...
Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon’s novel,
Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept
of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the
spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring one quarter of the year after
Midsummer, Harvest Home represents midautumn, autumn’s height. It is also the
autumnal equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a
Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Recently, some Pagan groups have begun
calling the holiday by the Welsh name ‘Mabon’, although there seems little
historical justification for doing so.
Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to
the fact that our leap-year cycle causes dates to slip and then snap back into
place, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal
equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey
southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up
until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from
dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as
the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Scales (an appropriate
symbol of a balanced day and night).
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Mabon click here.
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Ostara September 22, 2017
For an article on Ostara by Mike Nichols click here.
gradual change into Autumn.Some say the
13 weeks of Autumn are the most colorful time of the year.Take a moment and look at some of the special
rituals, customs and celebrations you do each Autumn.Feel the magic of the season.It might be more colorful than you think!
Autumn begins on the equinox day in September.For many of us, the season may begin on a different day that fits the
way we live.“Back-to-School” sales
signal Summer’s end for students.For
sports fans here in the US, Autumn is not official until the World Series or
the start of Football as their own private signal that Autumn has finally
arrived.For some, Autumn begins on that
first cool night where the windows get closed and the heat comes on.When does Autumn begin for you?And when does it end?
Not only does
Autumn begin with Back-to-School for students, but for parents as well.Parents too are shaped by the school
activities, social events and other seasonal needs of their children – all
which renew themselves each September with the agrarian school calendar (Or as
Pagans students might call it, the Wheel of the School Year.)
As the child
grows, the parent grows too.Back-to-School for a pre-schooler’s very first day is an unforgettable
experience.How many parents can still
hear the tearful screams of “I don’t wanna go!!!”(And how many parents secretly whispered
“There’s a part of me that doesn’t really want you to go…but I know you need to
go.”)That Autumn day, the very first
day school, marks a rite of passage for both the student, and the parent.Imagine these same feelings when any loved
one departs the world they share with us, headed for the next, moving on to the
new lessons they face in the next life. “There’s a part of me that doesn’t
really want you to go…but I know you need to go.”
The Doreen Valiente Foundation and more TWPT talks to Ashley Mortimer
March 2011 Nottingham's Ashley Mortimer became one of five trustees of
Valiente Foundation which oversees the legacy of magical artefacts,
writings, documents and copyrights that belonged to Doreen Valiente.
Ashley is also a director of The Centre For Pagan Studies, a
firekeeper for WaNaNeeChe's Human Circle Of Life and a prominent member
Nottingham Pagan Network, Pagan Pride and Nottingham Empyrean as well
frequent representative of the Pagan Federation.
Ashley is an occasional writer, even more occasional
musician and a prolific contributor to many different Pagan events and
interests in and out of the East Midlands region. He speaks about the origins
of Paganism, the history of Wicca/Witchcraft and leads ceremony and ritual with
an ecclectic and pragmatic approach to spirituality underpinned with warm
Art of Fantasy, Fairie, and Myth: TWPT Talks to Mickie Mueller
decided to make my dreams reality, drawing upon the magic that I grew
up with, singing to inchworms with my mother and watching nature create
miracles in the sun and under the moon. I love researching the legends
of fairies, Goddesses, nature spirits, folklore and history. I
feel these themes are a part of us all on a deeper level, so when I
have an opportunity to reach into that realm and bring something back,
it’s an honor and I feel that I have a certain responsibility to do it
with respect to these powerful entities. When I work on a piece,
these beings speak with me, and when someone else sees it, and loves
it, they get to be a part of that fantastic realm where anything and
everything is possible too, and bring that energy into their
lives.” -Mickie Mueller
Mickie has a growing business with her magical fantasy art. Her
work has been seen in magazines and books internationally, including a
school textbook in Norway. Her prints are sold in catalogues and
on the Internet all over the world. She has two critically acclaimed
divination decks published by Llewellyn, The Well Worn Path and The
Hidden Path. Mickie’s third deck comes out in 2011 and is her
first deck that she created on her own, concept, writing, and art.
The Voice of the Trees, A Celtic Ogham Oracle is based on the
rich and fantastic Celtic history, myths and legends and the Ogham
system of letters used in 4th-6th century.
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.