Music, Magic, and Life on the Road

DSC03399My posts have been sporadic, and I apologize for that. As a writer, it’s really tough when I’m not able to do that writing thing. That being said, my past months have been chock full of new experiences that will give me writing fodder for months (and years) to come. I’ve been traveling and teaching at different festivals and events, and recently I’ve really been upping my game as a musician and connecting more with other Pagan musicians. Continue reading

Raising the Sacred Fire: How to Build and Move Energy in Ritual

DSC01798_smallAs I’ll be teaching a number of workshops on ritual facilitation at Pantheacon, ConVocation, and Paganicon, I thought I’d offer up one of my articles on leading rituals that is included in my book, Ritual Facilitation.

I’ve also created a Facebook group with the intention of discussing and teaching techniques for leading more potent rituals. Feel free to join up if you like!

Raising the Sacred Fire:  How to Build and Move Energy in Ritual

Together we are singing, moving, dancing, chanting, and drumming around the fire in the center of the circle. The energy builds and slows then rises up again. I move the drum beat, and the drum beat moves me. We draw closer; I look into the firelit eyes of people around me and we smile as we sing. We drop the chant down to a whisper, then bring it back up again. Our song is a prayer for transformation, a prayer for our individual gifts to be transformed on Brigid’s Forge into their highest potential. I am singing for my gift, and for the gifts of everyone there. Our prayer is singing, movement, rhythm, and our shared intention. The chant moves into a tone that rises and falls like a fire at the bellows until we hold the silence together.

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Roundup: Sex, Ethics, Predators, #YesAllWomen

9046129_xxlSo there’s more that needs to be discussed on the sex, ethics, harassment, predators, abuse, and consent front. There’s the #yesallwomen movement, and there are a lot of conversations happening. I’ve written more blog posts on the topic–but I’ll be honest, I haven’t published them. Why?

Well…I know I tend to go raw with my posts, but the posts I wrote may be too raw. I’m not sure if I want to go there. Maybe I’m not sure I want to reveal that much, or be that much of a bummer. Maybe I’m sick of triggering people.

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Pagan Infrastructure: Fundraising Challenges We Face

4502486_xlIt’s probably pretty obvious that I’m in support of Pagan infrastructure, whether that’s seminary/clergy training, leadership training, physical sacred land, or other Pagan organizations.

My own 5-10-year plan is to have land of my own outside of Chicago; a seminary/monastery/temple/farm/cooperative living space. I want to help offer leadership training to Pagans who are looking for that, as well as have self-sustaining land.

But there’s a few challenges to building that infrastructure, and to fundraising for that. Some challenges are easier to overcome than others.

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Fundraising 4: Free Services for Pagan Events

3570095_xlOne of my great regrets as a Pagan organizer is that when I run an event, I’m often asking people to present or perform for free. Granted–I’m often presenting for free myself. But I still feel that people offering up a professional skill should be paid for their work.

Yet, I know how much most regular Pagan events pull in financially. I know that an event without a big name will probably bring in just enough to pay expenses.

On the other hand, I meet a lot of people, including Pagan organizers, that assume that any Pagan should offer their skills and talents for free, and I’m not ok with that. But how do we negotiate the gray area on this?

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Fundraising 3: Methods to Raise Funds

ButterflySquareApples2I thought it might be useful to collect some fundraising strategies that have worked for Pagan and small groups. This list isn’t comprehensive, but it can give a small organization a place to start.

I’d be very interested in hearing about other fundraising options that have worked for you and your group in the past–perhaps I’ll feature those ideas in a future blog post.

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Fundraising in the Pagan Community Part 2

5169121_xxlShould Pagan teachers charge? How are we going to pay for all the Pagan events and initiatives out there? I see those questions come up a lot. I also see some Pagans viciously attack anyone who charges for classes or events.

Context is important, and I’d offer that there’s a range of what we mean when we say, charging for classes and services.

I charge for what I do. I travel and teach, I host events. There’s a cost–a hard cost (venue rental, gas money) and a soft cost (time).

I charge for readings too. But, I also do rather a lot for free. In fact, most of the time even when I’m charging, I’d say I ultimately end up at a financial loss.

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Fundraising in the Pagan Community Part 1

227987_8496Many Pagan groups have a story, a myth. “Pagans are broke,” Pagans will tell me sagely. And…they are right and they are wrong. I’ve run Pagan events that make money. And, I’ve run Pagan events that didn’t break even.

I’ve posted about Pagans, money, and paying for community events before, but it’s a topic that begs further exploration. As an event planner, and as a traveling teacher, this is quite honestly a maddening process.

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Assumptions, Expectations, and Boundaries

7898846_xxlIf you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. But asking is sometimes the hard part.

“Let’s meet at ___ location at about 6pm.” What does “about” mean here? Does “about” mean, “I want you to meet me exactly at 6pm?” Does it mean that we might be there by 5:45, but that it also is acceptable if we aren’t there until 6:15?

“I like it when someone else takes the trash out.” What does that mean? Does that mean the person is hinting that I should take the trash out?

“Someone needs to design a flyer.” What does that mean? Is someone being asked to design a flyer?

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Curses, Hexes, and “I’m Under Psychic Attack”

I’ll be totally transparent here: I don’t believe in curses and hexes. Or–to be more clear, I don’t believe that curses work in the way most people think. And most of the people who I hear talking about being under psychic attack or dealing with an energy vampire have very different issues going on.

But then again, I’m a pretty pragmatic Pagan, and I tend to lean on the idea that psychology and science are core pieces of magic. As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me back up and explain where I’m coming from on this. And let me also be clear–my intention is not to be dismissive of your experience. Rather, to offer a different perspective on what might be going on beneath the hex.

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