Sunday, August 2, 2015

Re-Post: "No One Can Stop Us Now: A Gaia's Circle Lughnasadh"

Re-post from Summer 2014

 My eclectic ritual group, Gaia’s Circle, celebrated its 5th Lughnasadh today!  We first gathered on Mabon of 2009, and I’m really quite proud of the beauty we have created together over the years.  The group takes turns hosting and writing, and one of the members was really excited for the chance to write what she called “a proper Celtic ritual for Lugh.”  She writes the most beautiful liturgy, and the ritual was pretty stellar.

Gaia, Berkana, and Beith
We began with a little processional to the ritual space, some light smoke cleansing with cedar, and then the lighting of the hearth fire.  My friend’s tradition is Ár n Draíocht Féin (ADF) which means “our own Druidry.”  The ADF ritual structure is totally different from what I do as a Neo-Wiccan, so her rituals are always a unique treat. 

She asked if I’d like to offer the prayers to the Star Goddess and Celestial realm, as well as to the Earth Mother.  I was very pleased to do both.  (Very fitting for a Space Witch!)  In preparation for these tasks I learned a little bit about Tailtiu (Tall-Chew), who was Lugh’s foster mother.  She is said to have died from exhaustion after clearing Ireland’s lands so people could farm.  In her honor, Lugh founded the festival, games, and holiday of Lughnasadh.

Crom Dubh
My Druid friend did some really cool things with the elements and chanting, and we learned about Crom Dubh and Lugh.  Crom Dubh protects us and preserves us, but sometimes this can perhaps be a bit overwhelming and a little-too self-preserving, protective but holding us back at times.  Lugh inspires us with his wit and skill, and with his blessings all things are possible.  Both Gods were given gifts and honor during this ritual, reminding us to protect ourselves, but not to compromise our daring and magical potentiality. 

We also enjoyed mead and corn bread, had an anointed champion who will protect the luck of the group with them throughout the year, and we had a huge feast.  We had pazole (a ceremonial soup traditional to Mexico), salads, veggies, cheese, wine, watermelon and a special treat of caramel corn.  It was a lovely time to catch up with friends and also welcome new ones, too.  I’d never really worked with Lugh before, or Tailtiu or Crom Dubh, and it was great to learn about another pantheon, their stories, and their traditions.  (I’m sure my Celtic ancestors were very pleased, too.)

I’ve been a bit melancholy and anxious these days, vexed about the various Pagan groups I’m in, some Pagan and personal projects I’m working on, sad about not having a job, etc.  But this ritual helped me to appreciate the protective touch of Crom Dubh, the sacrifice of Tailtiu, and the skill and wit and inspiration of Lugh.

After the ritual, I went home with this song on my heart (from Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Re-Post: "Anxiety and the Black God"

Here is a seasonally appropriate re-post of a piece I did over at Pagan Square.

"Anxiety and the Black God" - a post about Crom Dubh, Lugh, anxiety, and some thoughts I've had after our Lughnasadh ritual.

Don't forget to check out my other posts, Melancholia, Moon Dreams, and the Goddess, as well as my post about ecstacy and rock concerts.

Cosmic Love: Daily Mysticism and Magic

The continuing voyages of The Space Witch as she explores the blessings of magic and mysticism 
that are to be found in everyday experiences.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Re-Post: "Lammas:
originally posted in the on-line religion magazine, Creedible, 2013 and from this blog 2014

August often seems to bring in the most desperate days of summer. The sun beats down heavily, school is right around the corner, and the pace starts to pick up again at work. Everyone tries to squeeze in one last vacation, one last trip to the mountains, one last trip to the beach, one last hotdog, one last camping trip, one last barbeque. 

In the wheel of the year, August marks the end of summer and the start of the harvest season. Fruits, herbs and grains are ready to be harvested and gathered, and summer’s bounty is almost, but not quite, overripe. Observed on the first of August, Lammas celebrates this time of sun, heat, harvest, sweat, games and celebration. 

Also known as Lughnasa (Loo-nuh-sah or Loo-nah-sah), this Gaelic holiday with Irish roots observes the funeral games the hero Lugh (Loo) hosted in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu is a grain deity who died from exhaustion after preparing Ireland for agriculture and cultivation. Her sacrifice and death mirror other Corn Mother myths throughout the world, including goddesses from ancient Greece, the American Southwest and Japan. Her gift of preparing Ireland for planting manifests itself through the harvest enjoyed during these summer and autumnal months. 

The exploits of the hero Lugh and his games held in honor of his mother are mimicked in our own summer games of baseball, swimming, soccer, and other outdoors sports. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but some Pagans feel as if nothing could be more appropriate this time of year than holding the Olympic Games, a glorious celebration of accomplishment and human potential. 

Though we’re not Olympic athletes, this is still the perfect time to go outside and do something sweaty, fun and incredible. Though winter seems to be a lifetime away, the cold will be here before we know it. For Lammas, share a hearty feast with your friends and family, partaking of seasonal fruits, vegetables and local dishes. 

Summer is a good time of year for family reunions and gatherings. Like Lugh and Tailtiu, honor your family and the accomplishments of those close you. Family legacy and memories live on when we share the stories that make us laugh and beam with pride. 

Be sure to boast and brag about yourself a little, too.  We all have a lot to be proud of because we’ve all done something heroic in one way or another, so share your accomplishments with those who you care about and who care about you. As the wheel turns and turns again, one day your exploits will be talked about, celebrated and remembered during the sweaty, fun-filled summers to come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Special Classic Encore Presentation: More or Less with Stephen Redding

EYE of the SEER is broadcasting an encore show this Tuesday while I spend some quality time with my sister!  Bryan had GREAT guests back in the day, so isn't it cool we can sneak back into the past to give them a listen?

Tuesday, July 28, 9pm EST!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mystical Fandoms: The Magus

Last time we tried to host this show we ran into some rather annoying technical difficulties.  It was incredibly frustrating!  Bryan had a great introduction, Tracey and I were on a roll with great ideas and examples and conversation, and then we realized that the show wasn't recording.  Drat!  Blog Talk Radio had updated their platform and we were trying out some stuff that was still in beta testing.  So... while that show was sure to be awesome, this next show will be, too!  So tune in on Tuesday, August 21st at 9pm EST for a discussion on Mystical Fandoms: the Magus!

Tracey Ouellette once again joins Bryan and Amanda for another installment of the Mystical Fandoms series. On this episode of EYE of the SEER, they begin a discussion about the primary archetypal patterns that influence the human experience, shaping it into the mystery that it is now in the process of becoming. They will use the archetypes of the Major Arcana in the Tarot as a guide and follow the Fool's Journey through each stage of his realization, exposing how each primary archetype manifests in popular cult-classic television programming.

This episode will continue the Fool's journey as he ventures into the realm of the Magus.  In Akron and Banzhaf's Crowley Tarot: Handbook to the Cards he is identified as the heavenly father, that procreating energy of the Divine Masculine as he brings motion to the Cosmos. The Magus is the idea just as it is being formed.  The Fool has begun to step through through the threshold of becoming human.  What gifts does he bring with him?

How does The Magus manifest in the conventional world? Find out where he has been hiding within the Doctor Who, Supernatural, Star Trek, Sherlock fandoms, and more!

Please keep in mind that we provide the costs for this show out of our own pockets. If you love EYE of the SEER, please help support it by donating to our program at

Friday, July 10, 2015

Supporting Your Beloved Spiritual Communities

As clergy people to our own spiritual communities (me to the Triangle Area Pagan Alliance, Gaia’s Circle, and the Universalist Fellowship of the Sacred Path, Bryan to the Holy Nicholean Catholic Church) Bryan and I are constantly working on our being the best we can be for the members and parishioners of our groups.  This includes (but is not limited to) studying and training, maintaining our own devotional and ritual schedules, being available for mentoring and pastoral counseling, maintaining websites and social media openness, having quality supplies and tools, and writing quality rituals, workshops, meditations, articles, etc.  The thing is, all of the above takes time, and it takes money.  It takes money to run websites and to buy tools.  It takes time to reply to emails and to write articles (and books!)  And if we’re taking time to maintain our spiritual communities that means less time for secular paying work, and, consequently, less time for our families.

I was a bit worried that this show would be just me and Bryan ranting for an hour, but Bryan did a great job of keeping calm and professional (okay, maybe I struggled with that a bit…).  But it was a good show, and it was an important show.  Those who run and facilitate alternative spiritual communities need help and support, and those who enjoy and partake of the benefits of these communities absolutely must support them in any way they can. 

You should check out the radio show for a good discussion on the realities of serving as a clergy person to an alternative religious community.  Bryan and I had a good conversation, and I’d love to hear more from you.  Are you a community leader?  Or are you a member of the community?  What are your thoughts?

And in the meantime, here are some thoughts on what you can do to help.  Because if you don’t help your beloved religious and spiritual institutions, they’ll die. 

  • RSVP to events.  This encourages others to go to events because they see a full list of attendees and that’s exciting.
  • Absolutely do NOT RSVP if you have no intention of attending an event.  This is rude and cruel to the people who are expecting you to attend.  We spend a lot of time and money on our events, and we do it all for you. If you RSVP and you don’t show up, it’s time and money wasted.  It’s incredibly rude, disappointing, and upsetting each and every time this happens.
  • If you are able, donate money.  We realize that money is tight for everyone, but we make it a priority to pay for our events out of pocket.  If we can make it a priority, so can you.  (Isaac Bonewitz has a great essay about the need for the Pagan community to shift their priorities in regards to how they spend their money.  If you have money for a super large latte with extra whip or a red box movie or extra toppings on your pizza, then you have money to throw into the donation box, even if it’s just a dollar or two.)
  • If you are able, donate time.  This includes ritual set-up, ritual facilitation, ritual attendance, and ritual clean-up.  Help write rituals.  Attend planning meetings.  If your community has a space, volunteer to help clean it or maintain it.  Volunteer to go shopping for supplies.  Help out with the website, answering emails, or participating on social media.  Burnout in Pagan groups is HUGE.  If you want to keep on having awesome things, show your appreciation.  Because if you don’t step up, then the people who keep on doing nice things for you are going to go crazy and then you won’t have any more nice things.  It breaks my heart when I think about all of the amazing groups and events that have died because of facilitator burnout.  People get sad and say “oh, that’s such a shame!” and I say “if it’s such a shame, what did you do to keep it going?”
  • Put up fliers.  Most places have a bulletin board these days.  I carry around little quarter sheets in my wallet and I put them up whenever I see a bulletin board.  It takes pretty much zero time if you’re already out and about, and you’d be surprised who reads those things and who will be excited to hear about local Pagan events and groups.
  • Donate items.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all who have donated items to me over the years.  Tables, shelves, candles, bottles, lamps, wine, food, paper plates, oils, jars, lighters, incense, books, etc.  YOU GUYS ROCK.  These are things that groups do use and will appreciate it.  If you donate your new or gently used Pagan items and tools, or household items, that means we don’t have to buy them, which means we can spend our money on things like paying bills.  (Not even sarcasm on this one.  Here’s a confession – I spent a ton of money to facilitate a free workshop in June.  Consequently, when it came to paying July bills… well…)
  • Gift cards are cool, too.  As a gift for officiating a wedding, a friend gave me a hugely generous Etsy gift card.  (So generous I cried.  True story.)  While I bought myself a few presents with this (as well as some birthday and holiday gifts for others, too) I used a lot of it to buy tools, materials, and supplies for my Pagan groups.  A cool thing about Etsy and other gift cards is that if you buy gift cards for local new age and metaphysical shops, you are helping local shops and artisans make some extra money and you are helping your groups get supplies.

This is a pretty hefty list, but each of these points is very important.  I’m blessed with lovely groups and friendly attendees, but if the Pagan community as a whole did these few little things then the community would be fundamentally changed.

So listen to our show, “How can you support your alternative spiritual communities?” and leave a comment or two down below.  As a group leader, what would be the best thing for people to do to help you?  As a group member, what are useful ways that you help out and show your support?

As always, check out EYE of the SEER every Tuesday night at 9pm over at Blog Talk Radio, and thanks again for all of your help and support throughout these years!