Category Archives: Festivals & Sabbats

Tales from the Gathering: The Witches’ Sabbat

By | Entheogens, Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Storytelling, Witchcraft & Magic | 13 Comments

Sometimes at such a gathering the unscheduled events that happen naturally hold more power and draw us together more closely than we could ever have imagined.  It was a Sunday under a dark moon and we had just finished storytelling by the hearth. The rain was falling hard outside the lodge and we continued to huddle close to the fire as the sun set. Those who attended my altered states workshop that morning, and those who’d heard tell about it after, came to me and asked to try the flying ointments I’d brought now that the activities were done for the night. I brought out two crafted with mandrake root – one made with oil and one made with duck fat. I taught them how to apply it to their pulse points and over their hearts and they all sat close to the fire warming their skin so the ointments could better soak in with the heat. They didn’t know what to expect, but I watched and I saw it happen. They started talking louder than before. Their eyes became bright and their cheeks red with laughter and smiles upon their lips. The musicians picked up their fiddles, violins, and…

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Tales from Between the Worlds

By | Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Storytelling, Witchcraft & Magic | 7 Comments

The Gathering for Life on Earth is British Columbia’s main Pagan festival and has been a successful gathering of community for over twenty years now. It’s where all the different local paths, groups, solitaries, elders, and newbies can come for a long weekend and celebrate our magical lives together. I’ve been to three previous Gatherings just as a merchant and an attendee enjoying all the rituals, workshops, and main events, but this year the chair of the board, who is also a dear friend, sweetly roped (*cough* voluntold) me into being events coordinator when the previous one had to back out due to her job. After months of board meetings, planning, organizing, and crossing our fingers we’d get enough registrations to pull it off – we did and the festival was finally upon us. Some of the events of the Gathering were so moving and powerful that I’m going to write of them as separate tales. This post is to give you an idea of the overall awesomeness of the festival. Every year we choose a new theme for the festival and this year’s was “Between the Worlds”. I admit it sounds vague, but I think we managed to tie…

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A Meadful Beltuinn

By | Brewing, Festivals & Sabbats | 8 Comments

My Beltuinn eve was spent out of town by the sea with the European shaman-folk feasting, chanting, dancing, and drumming. Dressed all in white, we listened to mythical stories and learned dances and songs to be performed at the upcoming BC Shamanic Conference (which I’m off to this Monday for a week). We sat around the altar prepared as a feast table and dined with the ancestors sharing strawberries, freshly baked bread, chocolate, a luscious fig cake, and pomegranate mead. The theme of the ceremony was to remember we are spirits, that we fell from the stars, that everything is magic and everything is a sacred spirit. A beautiful message of animism – to treat plants, animals, and the rest of nature on par with human life as well as teachers and keepers of wisdom. On the day of Beltuinn I made mead – blackcurrant mead. I’ve wanted to make it for a while but blackcurrants or juice are surprisingly hard to get a hold of and I couldn’t use Ribena due to the yeast-killing sulphate content. But I finally found pure blackcurrant syrup and juice. The yeast did not cooperate however. One trick to make it happy is to…

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Go Outside

By | Festivals & Sabbats, Witchcraft & Magic | 14 Comments

“Our base is the Divine Life of the universe. Our means of keeping in touch with it cannot be through any man-made dogma, but through nature, which man did not make. Mens’ hands wrote all the holy books and sacred scriptures; only the book of nature was written by divinity.” ~ Doreen Valiente, Witchcraft for Tomorrow When I lived on the mountain I did almost all of my magic outside. If I needed to leave an offering, I went outside and left it in my garden or in the forest.  When I wanted to talk to the spirits I went outside and sat under a tree. When I wanted to literally walk between the worlds, I walked through threshold places in the wild wood. When the moon was full I went outside under it’s pale white light and when the moon was dark I went outside in the darkness of its absence. Solstice or equinox, I went outside.  Now that I live in a city, albeit a small one, I still go outside; to the gardens and trees around my building, to the forested parks, to rituals in the wild wood, to rituals by the sea… I remember going to…

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Imbolc, Fog, Oracles and the Bone Moon

By | Festivals & Sabbats, Folk Magic, Witchcraft & Magic | 16 Comments

I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to post about all my adventures in between work, so you’ll get it all in one long post and with luck I’ll catch up with myself! Last week and the weekend was full of non-stop packaging of Stang & Cauldron orders to ship. I took a short break on Friday to have my own little celebration of Là Fhèill Brìde. I found roses the colour of flames for my altar and picked up some delicious local beer which I poured in offering to Brìde, my spirits, and the land and shared a little feast with them. I came up for air from my work again on Saturday evening to spend time with my good friend Beki – a fellow artist and tarot reader. I love visiting her because not only are there cute bunnies to snuggle, but her place is always filled with the amazing paintings she’s working on. Right now she’s painting the major arcana for a dark bunny tarot and they are gorgeous. We walked through the magical night-time fog to the Drive for burgers and beer and then headed back to her place after to read cards for each other. She…

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