Category Archives: Articles

Coming Together: A Look at Pagan Group Structure

Humans are fundamentally social creatures: we love to get together. We are educated in groups, we work in groups and many of us worship in groups. But what, exactly, is a group? A group of people working in the same room, or on a common project, does not necessarily make a group.

When people work in groups, there are two different factors involved. The first is the task to accomplish, teaching a class, holding a ritual, or doing community outreach are examples of tasks. The second factor is process of the group work itself, the mechanisms by which the group acts as a unit. If group members don’t pay enough attention to the process, the value of the group can be diminished or even destroyed. The synergy between task and process makes group work attractive despite the possible problems (and time spent).

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How I’m Packing for 3 Weeks in Italy

One of our ‘rules’ is that getting to a foreign country is so expensive that we want to stay there as long as possible.  Another rule is that we each pack only a piece of luggage small enough to carry on, and a personal bag. Yet another rule is that we do our best to dress like locals. This means we have to get creative about what — and how — we pack.

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Being Hungry

(I almost can’t write this, I still feel intense shame.)

There were two times in my my life when I was poor enough to feel actual physical hunger. The first was when my parents first separated and I was living with my mother in a commune in Berkeley (CA).* I’d been wrested from a typical middle-class (white) suburban lifestyle full of meat and bread in unlimited quantities and thrust willy-nilly into a hippie commune. No sugar. Homemade bread. No meat, except when we killed a chicken or rabbit. Nothing processed.

I hated it.

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Working With the Dark Moon

When I first started on the path of witchcraft I was told that no White Witch would ever Work a spell at the dark of the moon. I was told that time was reserved for those who walked the left-hand path, casting manipulative spells and using sinister forces to work their will on others. And if you think I just used a lot of loaded language, you would be correct. What I came to learn through following my own intuition, with a few helpful guides, was that the Moon’s other face can be powerful and transformative, which can feel very scary. What I was told wasn’t wrong, just very steeped in superstition and fear.

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Hidden Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth and Home

It was too hot for me, long acclimated to the long grey winters of the Pacific Northwest. Although it was only April, Rome felt more like a midsummer day beating down on me with an intensity made worse by the pounding of fierce jet lag. I wanted nothing more than to find a cafe and have a long leisurely meal accompanied by several large bottles of water. But I was on a quest, a personal journey to see the storied home of one of the most revered yet unknown Goddesses of the Ancient Pagan world: Hestia.

I am the core
the center
indescribable, elusive

I am the living presence
every building
each dwelling.

I am the transformation
of marble, stone, wood
and with its hearth fire lit
I make it a home.

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JaguarMoon: A Tradition Evolving in CyberSpace

The advertisement looked a lot like the kind you see on the community corkboard of spiritual bookstores throughout the world. “The ART OF RITUAL,” the advertisement explained, would not just take me through the basics of the Craft but give me “real food for thought as [I] practice and learn”. It intrigued me and I replied. What made this advertisement unusual – what launched an entirely new tradition, in fact – was that it was posted on the witchhaven listserv. That class led to the formation of a cyber coven whose daughters continue even today. We teach, we study, we share sacred space.

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